September 3, 2008

Mixed Emotions over Palin-mania


When I first learned of John McCain's choice for his running mate, I was surprisingly pleased with his pick. He chose a woman! That made me happy. Even if Obama loses the election in November, at least the U.S. will break one glass ceiling come the fall.

I perused a couple of articles of Palin on the internet and I was surprsingly pleased too at what I read. A mother of five. A working parent. A woman who was brave enough to stand against the corruption in her own party. Even if I disagreed with Palin's positions on nearly everything from abortion to gay marriage to drilling in ANWR, I had to admit I admired this woman. In a way, she is the epitome of what I strive to become---strong, articulate, and a woman who somehow strikes a balance between work and family.

But now a week has passed since the Palin announcement and I find myself scratching my head over McCain's choice for his VP slot and I find myself scratching my scalp even harder over the heated culture wars this decision has elicited. *Sigh* I really wish the Olympics had never ended. I had a much better time watching swimming, basketball, and even equestrian dressage rather than this 2008 political circus.

First of all, I was turned off by Palin's address during the Republican National Convention. I understand politics is a dirty business and I understand criticizing your opponent is part of the game, but Palin's remarks on Obama went from firebrand criticisms of his policies to downright petty attacks on his community service. If Palin wanted to go after Obama, then she should have focused on his lack of executive experience or his sweeping speeches or his "liberal agenda." Instead, Pallin decided to mock Obama's work as a community organizer where he helped blue-collar Chicagoans find better job training and adequate housing. Huh? It just seems silly to me to attack Obama for this portion of his life when there's so much other stuff (ie Tony Rezko) she could have used for fodder. No gold star for you, Sarah.

Secondly, I am upset by the double standard the press and our society at large has placed upon Palin's working-mom status. If I had five children---one pregnant at 17 and a baby with special needs---I would probably go loopy, but Sarah Palin has found a way to balance her career and her family. Even better, her husband has quit his job to become a stay-at-home father so kudos to them. So why, why, why does the press keep questioning Palin if she's capable for the VP slot with so many kids in tow? Why doesn't anybody talk about Obama's two young daughters and how he plans to juggle his family and work life if he becomes elected? Or Joe Biden taking on a busy Senate seat as a single father? Or John McCain's parenting techniques in which his family lived in Arizona while he worked for most of the week in Washington? I spy a double standard here.

And lastly, I'm a little scared of Sarah Palin and the crazed uber-conservative Christian right wing of the Republican Party. Actually, I'm really scared of them. Now, I consider myself a Democrat---and a pretty liberal one at that---but I also agree with a few economic platforms traditionally tied to the GOP. But Palin's brand of evangelical politics just makes me shake my head and say, "Are you serious?" No abortions under any circumstances, abstinence-only education, creationism taught in schools, and God wants us stay in Iraq? I just don't get it---and I just don't understand why this crazy population of the U.S. has so much power in our country.

Oh and one more point---Sarah Palin is no friend of mine if she wanted to censor certain books in her hometown library! As a book lover extradinaire, I believe the act of banning books is akin to shooting me in the heart. Plus, censorship never works. It just makes these books more appealing to kids.

10 comments:

  1. I was gonna ask you what you thought of Palin. I admire her as a person but that's all. I think it's funny that she and everyone keep stressing that she and her daughter "made the choice" to choose life, yet they are anti-choice. I also don't like how her Down's baby is like the poster child now for her whole VP credibility.

    I am really confused by the Republican party. It's now considered "elite" to be highly educated and successful, yet community organizing is now a joke? And while community organizing, Obama worked with local church leaders. I thought Republicans wanted support for those kinds of groups. I don't think they know what they want. And the more they let the evangelical base control them, the more their party is going to fall apart. If I were a moderate Republican I'd be p.o.ed.

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  2. Yeah, I totally agree with you, Allie.

    I think the most amusing part of the RNC was when Rudy Giuliani mocked Obama for being too "cosmopolitan" and when Mitt Romney denounced the "Eastern Elites." Whaa?

    Oh, and I liked this article in Time about Obama's community organizing: http://www.time-blog.com/swampland/2008/09/what_a_community_organizer_doe.html

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  3. I agree, I was excited about the prospect of a woman... until I learned more about her and that she had virtually no experience, was uber-conservative in her views, etc. I've started to warm up to her for the same reasons you stated, but I just don't agree with many of her crazy religious right stances (not to mention she had no idea what the VP did!). One of the appeals of McCain for me was that he had a more moderate stance among the republican party... but I feel like he is trying to win over the crazy evnagelicals now and that disturbs me. I'm declared an Independent, because I just can fully committ to either party. Neither of them represent my views fully. But the crazy religious right is driving me away!!

    And Romney's speech bothered me. I didn't want it to. I wanted to like it. But really, Eastern elites? Huh? What is Romney then! And I disliked how every thing was "Liberal"... "What the LIBERALS would do is...." And I don't like when policiticans talk about the evil Islam states, etc, in such extreme terms (like he did). I think it is more often used as a scare tactic for un-educated Americans to think the whole Middle East is going to bomb us and only the republicans can save us.

    Phew. Thanks for letting me offload. There are few people/blogs I can do this to without offending 99% of the people!

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  4. As you may have guessed I'm not a huge fan of hers either, mainly because I disagree with her politics, but also partly because personally I feel that a stay at home dad is not a susbtitute for a mom. Not very PC of me to say so, but there it is. (Hillary was different, as Chelsea was grown). The XX Factor blog at Slate has some interesting views on the topic, both ways. She has definitely re-ignited the "Mommy Wars" issue huh?

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  5. You're always welcome to offload your views here, Linds! :o)

    I agree with you about McCain too. I really liked McCain back in 2000 when he ran for the Republican primary and I respect him for his bipartisanship in the Senate (ie immigration). But recently, McCain has shifted his views to the right in an attempt to court the conservative evangelical base of his party and I find that unfortunate. I liked the moderate/maverick McCain much better.

    Oh, and ditto on the whole "evil Islamic states" thing! There needs to be a greater distinction here in the US between terrorists who are Muslim and the general populous of peace-keeping Muslims. Just the other day, one of Justin's old roommates asked how my husband could support a candidate with a "Muslim background." Huh? What's so bad about being a Muslim in the first place? And Obama isn't even a Muslim for the record!!

    Kris, I find it so unfortunate how the mommy wars has eclipsed the real issues of this race. Can we please talk about the economy and the national debt? Can we talk about healthcare and the War in Iraq? Please?

    Ah, the mommy wars... I think this debate ignites more fire than the economy and the war combined.

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  6. C-line, I agree that the real issues are so much more important than the mommy wars, but I was surprised at the inner-conflict I felt at Palin's mommy situation.

    I kept feeling like there was something a little bit wrong about Palin taking on such huge responsibilities with her pregnant daughter and 5 month old baby, even though I kind of hated myself for feeling that way. I knew that I wouldn't feel that way if a man was running with the same family situation. Logically and intellectually, I know that I shouldn't feel this way, but I can't shake the feeling that Palin's choice to run for VP might be a negative choice for her family. I think it is because Theo is the same age as her son, and as much as I want to believe a dad is just as good as a mom, I really think a five month old baby (especially one with downs) needs his mommy. It's probably just because I feel like I need to be with my son, but that doesn't mean Palin's son won't be well cared for. Obviously, he has a loving family, and I do have a lot of respect for Palin's husband.

    I think most of all this situation made me realize that sometimes I'm a little more old-fashioned than I'd like to think.

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  7. I guess for me, it never bothered me that Palin is a mom of five with a very busy job...

    Now, do I think her nomination will have a negative effect on her family? I think it will---especially if she becomes vice president. I just feel bad for the children of politicians and how much (negative) attention they get from the press. I wouldn't want to do that to my kids.

    I also think if someone becomes president or VP, he or she must place their job over the family on most days of the week. Dance recital or a phone call with Putin? Family dinner or a last-minute meeting about an important bill? Like the Republicans say, "Country First!" When you're in a position of this kind of power, you have to put your job over your kids quite often.

    So here's a question: if Palin only had 2-3 kids with the youngest in middle school, do you think her motherhood would have garnered so much interest in the media and throughout the blogosphere?

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  8. All I'm going to say is I loved her glasses. LOL. I'll keep my politics at that.

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  9. caroline I do like how you at least seem to have an open mind and approach these things with a rational mind. I have read many other blogs that are full of attack and hatred for one party or the other and I don't respect that at all.

    Anyway, I didn't feel like Palin was trying to belittle community organizers. I just thought she was trying to compare that to being a governer of a state in terms of who had more executive experience- since so many people were questioning her experience. Maybe I read it wrong but that is how I felt afterwards.

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  10. I feel so conflicted in this political race. There are things about both candidates/VPs that I don't like, and things I do, that I might just have to take Jami's advice and vote for Nader. Haha.

    Overall, I like Palin. I like that a member of the PTA can become the governer of Alaska. I also like that she is proud of her family, mistakes and all. I think she is an odd choice, a strategic one, which is "smart" politics, I suppose, however strange it may seem to me. Like you, I didn't appreciate how verbally abusive she was about Obama during the convention speech, either, but I agree with your friend Heidi that I think she was (albiet distastefully) trying to compare her experience with his lack of, not downplay all the good he may have done.

    McCain is just blah to me, I don't have many feelings for him either way. As for Obama, I wish he had a better/longer track record to back up all the idealistic chatter he so eloquently espouses. Ugh. I'm tired of it all. I just want to vote and have it all be over, so we can all move on from here.

    I just pray every day, faithfully, that regardless of who becomes the next president, it will be the one Heavenly Father has prepared for the job. That they will be able to suck it up, work together with Congress, and get us out of our economic and foreign disasters. I'd rather have hurricanes, at least they're not anyone's fault.

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