Wednesday, September 03, 2008

As A Mother And As A Woman I DO Call Sarah Palin On Her Family


-by Mags

I find the recent political events to be extremely interesting. So much so that almost any comments I make should be prefaced by "pass that popcorn, will ya?" The only thing that keeps me from being so flip is that we as a nation and as individuals are still reeling from the appointment of the "guy we would like to have a beer with," George Bush.
On a personal level, my family is dealing with financial crises from the fall out of unemployment and the credit crunch. We also must commute over 50 miles per day to work so the cost of gas is taking our income even further down the toilet. Over all our income has decreased over 40% and our current job security is tenuous here in Michigan. Our health insurance has been changed to the degree that we are never sure if we can get care, and my husband and I are now cutting our meds in half at times or just discontinuing those which we feel are least necessary.
Nationally, we are facing inconceivable debt to foreign nations, increasing unemployment, inflation, and issues of national security due to the actions of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. And, now we are in trouble as lobbyists via John McCain dabble in foreign policy decisions which threaten to restart the cold war.
During the Democratic primary all of our nominees went through rigorous questioning regarding every aspect of their public and even private lives. They faced grilling on their family lives and their religious convictions. There was no area off limits... NONE. The commentators on both sides opened up on Democrats with both barrels.
Hillary was told that she must stand up to criticism like a man and that women who ran must act like a candidate, not a woman. Barack Obama was grilled to make sure he was white enough, black enough, American enough, and Christian enough. Not only that, the beliefs of those who were even loosely connected to Barack Obama were considered to be one and the same with his. How dare anyone stop scrutiny or the smearing of Democratic Candidates!
Into this scene John McCain stumbles and bumbles. Taking the crises facing Americans about as seriously as one would take a hang nail. Despite the talk that Barack Obama is for himself and self-centered, I have heard nothing from Barack Obama except that he is fighting for the people. Conversely, from the campaign of John McCain all I hear is about the heroism of John McCain and the protectionism of John and his one life accomplishment, being a POW. And, God forbid we should question his age or expertise since being a POW means that he is now qualified to anything anywhere. No matter what question, they play the POW card. It is an all-purpose response.
And now comes into the mix, Sarah Palin as a nominee for VP. Wow! None of us knows her. It also appears that she does not know us either. Her trip to the lower 48 was a real experience for her.
I know people who live in Alaska. Here is my impression (no doubt assured to anger someone somewhere), Alaskans are there because they are either born there or go there to escape the types of demands that we experience in day to day living here in the contingent states. I do not say this is good or bad, but certainly those who I know there are there because they hated life in the lower 48. The woman chosen to become our president if the aged and sickly John McCain should die really knows little about the types of lives we lead or the demands we face or the values we hold.
As a citizen, I am insulted by the choice of this inexperienced small town beauty queen to a ticket for the highest office in our country. But, as an observer of the types of people appointed by the GOP to national offices, I sense that I should not be surprised that the GOP right wing religionist faithful should see her as ultimately qualified for her anti-abortion stance alone. And, I am not surprised.
As it turns out Sarah Palin has other issues. Sarah Palin has 5 children. As a woman who had 4 children, I can tell you without being sexist that raising 4 children precludes certain things, if you have a career, it must be flexible enough for you to parent effectively. This is not sexist; this is a fact. There are 24 hours in a day. I did not make the rules. What this means is that if Ms. Palin is to be at the ready, she must immerse herself in policy and affairs of state. Fine. But, the price her family will pay is enormous and she has an infant. Let me repeat, Sarah Palin has an infant. But, so far I have mostly seen the infant in the arms of her daughter since Sarah's nomination. Even the GOP knows that showing a mother with babe in arms invokes the image of a woman fully engaged in pursuits not related to fulltime engagement in government. The right has been telling us forever that we cannot do it all. Will they recant? And, will Sarah Palin make the same as Dick Cheney did? Or will the GOP make sure that she is NOT given equal pay for equal work.
Let us be clear. I teach Social Sciences and I am quite aware of the issues regarding teen pregnancy. But, it seems as a parent Sarah Palin has been a poor judge of what her daughter needed to prepare her for sexual activity. As a governor she errs in not understanding what is needed for our families when she says she is against any education except abstinence-only education.
As for Palin's anti-abortion stance, let me just say this, any mother who would suggest that her own daughter bear the child of her rapist shows no compassion at any level. This is the ultimate worship of male domination, just another reason why the religious right loves her.
Palin was so incompetent that she did not prevent a late life pregnancy of her own, which one can assume was an accident considering her political ambitions. What does she show us in the sense of responsibility to those who are forced to entrust themselves care to her? If Palin's loyalty to the country is like her loyalty to her family, we are all in trouble. She will continually put herself and her beliefs first and not the needs of the country. She will continually pretend she is up to the task, when she has nothing in her personal background to show us she is indeed qualified in the real world. She is the ultimate idealist in denial. Now there are questions about a series of arrests, for vandalism and drugs, that ended up with her oldest son, Track, being offered a stint in the military or a stink in prison. McCain lawyers are plugging stories in Alaska about Sarah's extramarital affairs and about which Levi-- Miller or the newly wealthy Johnston-- is the actual baby-daddy of Bristol's unborn child, as fast as new ones start leaking out.
These are not sexist observations. These are observations about personal responsibility. I cannot trust Palin's competence and loyalty to my best interests when she is doing a half-assed job taking care of her own family.
Obama has said Palin's family is off limits, but I am not criticizing her family. I am criticizing Palin. I am criticizing Palin in the one role for which I will be required to accept her, as a woman. Since the GOP is playing the gender card, I am to stay away from her failings because she is a woman and a mother. Sorry. It is sexist to not judge her in those roles. Parenting is one of the most meaningful jobs all parents, male and female has. And, by her own admission, she chose to have all the children she has. But, like many on the right, she believes her virtue can only be judged up to that decision. Sorry. That is not reality. That is fantasy.
Obama and Democrats have continually pointed out to this nation that our beliefs do not end with their declaration. Our beliefs that all life is precious extends beyond the womb. It extends as Barack has said to both women and men as he exhorts fathers to be worthy and responsible. We have seen responsible parenting in the Obama family. We see it in the Biden family. We see parenting that went beyond the womb. We see parenting skills which have balanced the call of duty to country and to family. Obama and Biden didn't ask for a pass on their familial responsibilities. They don't need one.
Sarah Palin boasts of executive experience which is proving to be thin and experience of the worst kind, power abuse, ear marks, hard right wing religious views, and anti-American sentiments of a secession movement. This is another candidate deeply involved in oil politics and wars for God. We have had quite enough of that in the person of George Bush.
The Democrats do not have to go sexist. Sarah Palin is not a feminist and has plenty of sexist policies of her own. The Democrats do not have to play any cards to keep from answering questions on tough issues. We do not have to hide from religious forums, Barack went above and beyond for that contingency in America by appearing with Rick Warren. Democrats have answers. Democrats answer questions, over and over they answer questions.  
The GOP is playing the same game with the same team that bullied the incompetent George W. Bush into office. The tactics are the same. The politics are the same. The philosophies are the same. And, yes, Sarah Palin IS just another pretty face.

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At 5:20 PM, Blogger WriteStuff said...

Amazingly written post. I am completely in agreement with you, and very impressed (especially after reading blogs constantly for the last four days) with the way you've framed your argument. Thank you.

At 5:58 PM, Blogger David Blakeslee said...

This is an amazingly insightful article! As a father of four young adults, I would question any politician (male or female) putting their family through this kind of upheaval when at least two of them already have significant challenges facing them. Even the "middle" children have to be uprooted from their home in Alaska to (potentially) live in Washington DC on very short notice. The whole thing reeks of dishonesty and manipulation and it truly saddens me to see a lot of decent people who are accustomed to following the "Christian conservative" lead when it comes to forming their opinions losing track of their better judgment and jumping on this McCain/Palin bandwagon. It's just another ruse for the neocon and dominionist gang to have another four-year shot at plundering the national treasury. We can't afford to let those crooks into the vault any worse than they already are.

At 10:08 PM, Blogger Brian Hayes said...

I agree that the style of your post is superb writing and what is that style? True conviction.

And the points you make each have facts to support them rather than slogans twisted for electioneering.

Well done. Thanks.

At 5:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You!
You have articulated in a way that I could not many of the same feelings and concerns that I have about the Sarah Palin VP

As a mother who is Catholic, pro choice, liberal and against this war, I am sick of being called a "traitor to my country" by the Right because of these views.

What is John McCain who puts an unqualified person a heartbeat away from the Presidency and the Republicans who will vote for her?

Th best hypocrisy of the Right is the fact that she named her Special needs baby after a Norse PAGAN god of strength.
The religious right has not even said boo.

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

As a mother, Midwife, homeschooling parent ( albeit of the "eclectic/liberal/creative" type; my husband teaches in public school ) and a fellow blogger about to write my own piece on this mess of a VP candidate; I applaud your work here. It is not only concise and well written but, true and supported by evidence; well done. I have several issues with Sarah Palin not the least of which is her "invitation" to become an "advocate" for special needs children and their families should she achieve her VP ambitions. I have a child with spina bifida whom I chose, very happily, to give birth to at the age of 41. Not all "older" parents think of their later pregnancies as "accidents"; we have always been open to having more children, yet, we are "pro choice" and liberal; some of us don't quite fit the boxes; even yours. To my point: the idea that this woman who knows nothing ( yet ) about being having a "special needs" child except for the fact that she has given birth to him now claims sufficient experience in this ( along with everything else ) to offer "advocacy". To be an "advocate" for another is possible only when one has a wealth of experience to share in order to benefit others. I was also deeply offended by the condescending and ignorant way it was expressed: she clearly believes that such "advocacy" offered from someone in the Executive Branch is a stunning and welcome surprise to us all. Perhaps someone should tell her about the work President Franklin D. Roosevelt did at Warm Springs, Georgia on behalf of those suffering from Polio. Has she ever heard of the "March of Dimes" and does she recognize that as having grown out of that President's generous advocacy? Has she ever heard of the Kennedy Family, known to have started the Special Olympics years ago? Perhaps she knows that former President George H.W. Bush signed the American's with Disabilities Act of 1990? There is little to commend the Republican's for but, I'll hand that one off.

Sarah Palin gives new meaning to the term "Bush Wacked". She knows nothing and her glaring ignorance is all the more insufferable because of her utter lack of self awareness.

Sarah Palin is a woman in denial. She has 5 children; three at least seem to be needing some of her attention. Perhaps the Vice Presidency provides a nice distraction from the fear and anxiety she must surely feel about her family. She is outsourcing her parenting duties to pursue her ambitions. My only hope is that this foolish and impulsive move by the McCain campaign costs them the election.

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

If anyone is interested, I just posted my blog piece on Sarah Palin on Saturday. The title is "That Vice President to Nowhere? Thanks, but No Thanks!" I'm over at Take a look!


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