My initial reaction to finding out Sarah Palin has a 4 month old and that her 17 year old is pregnant is that wow, she’s a bad mother. It’s a gut reaction and hard to face, considering that I call myself a feminist. Shouldn’t I support a woman’s desire to return to work when she’s ready and to not judge her choices? Isn’t that what feminism is all about?
But then I have to turn around and examine the following information.
She got on a plane after her water broke. It was her fifth child–it isn’t like she didn’t know what her water breaking was. Additionally, there’s a lot of statistics saying that each child is likely to come faster than the previous. It’ s a long plane ride from Texas to Alaska, followed by a long drive home. I can’t imagine that any doctor would consider that “good judgment” on her part.
Secondly, her youngest child has special needs. I don’t judge her for choosing to have her child…I would have chosen to keep Emby even if tests had shown that she had Downs. I do want to judge her, at least a little, for going back to work 3 days later and for schlepping him around as she runs for VP. Special needs kids need routine, and the last thing he’ll be getting on the campaign trail is routine.
Thirdly, her eldest daughter is pregnant at 17, and getting married her senior year of high school. I think that qualifies as needing extra attention and support right now. It’s hard enough to be a teen mom without being the center of shitstorm of press. What kind of person (mom or dad) would accept a job promotion that would throw their family into the middle of that kind of controversy and put their 17 year old ‘s private life into the spotlight like that. It’s not like Bristol is Jamie Lynn Spears, who was a celebrity living in the spotlight when she got knocked up. I feel for that poor girl, and hopes that it really *was* her choice to keep the baby and get married, and is not being forced into this by her parents.
Fourthly there is video of her saying that if her daughter was raped, she would want her daughter to “choose” life. Except that she thinks it shouldn’t be a choice at all. It’s also pretty damn cold to say that you would force your teenage daughter to have a baby created out of rape.
Fifthly, it seems that her daughter is only repeating family tradition. Unless her eldest was a preemie, Palin’s own “elopement” was a bit of shotgun wedding, as her kid was born less than 8 months later. I’m curious to know what the medical records would say…if he was bigger than 5 or 6 lbs, odds are he was NOT a preemie. If he was 7 or bigger, he was full term. Which is to say that abstinence education worked so well for her, too.
This is a woman who is consciously choosing to put her career first. Which is one thing. The hypocritical thing is that she’s choosing to put her career first while trying to be the poster girl for family values.
Perhaps what I resent most, and what I’m reacting to most strongly is that all of us sitting around debating if she’s a good mother (whatever that means) or not is detracting from the real issues of the campaign and why she’s possibly the worst VP pick ever.
1-She wasn’t vetted. It’s blindingly clear that she wasn’t vetted.
2-There is video of her, less than 2 months old, where she says she doesn’t know what the VP does.
3-She’s under an ethics violation investigation. I’ve read enough that I might agree that the trooper in question probably should have been fired, but it wasn’t her place to request it. It especially wasn’t her place to fire the trooper’s boss for not firing her ex-brother-in-law, and to replace him with someone with a previous sexual harassment claim who lasted 2 weeks on the job.
4-Her husband was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party. That isn’t Independents party, it’s INDEPENDENCE party. As in, they believe that Alaska should be it’s own country. She even gave a speech at their 2008 convention via video. Gee, I seem to remember Michelle Obama being the center of a shitstorm when the GOP got on their “she doesn’t love America” bandwagon. Is turnabout fair play? I’m guessing the GOP says no. Hypocrites.
5-She calims to have opposed the bridge to nowhere. Which is true…except that was after she supported it until the government said Alaska would have to pay for it.
6-She claims to have opposed earmarks. Except that she lobbied for them for Wasilla while mayor there.
7-She claims that she has foreign policy experience because Alaska is the nearest state to Russia. As Stephen Colbert said tonight…Alaska also has Mt. McKinley, the highest point in America, so that means she has experience with Space Relations too!!!! I also find it laughable that she’s only left the country once (I suppose twice because you used to not need a passport for Canada), and claims that she visited Ireland, when in fact her plane only stopped there for a refuel.
8-She thinks that being Governor of a state with a smaller population than Boston (and 9 other major US cities) and a TON of money because of oil is executive experience on par with being the president of the US.
9-She said on Friday that being Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard is like being Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces.
10-That she is the daughter of a Science Teacher and thinks that the hypothesis of creationism is equally valid to that of evolution and should be taught side by side in Science class. Firstly, I would have hoped that the daughter of a Science teacher would know the difference between a hypothesis (the idea of creationism, with no evidence to back it up) and a scientific theory (a hypothesis that has been proven again and again and again with evidence, like say…fossil records among others).
11-When challenged that she wouldn’t be ready to lead on day one, McCain’s support team’s only comment was that it was likely McCain would live until 2012. How is that even a response?
12-She supports drilling in Anwar.
13-She wants Polar Bears off the endangered species list.
I have to say that I think she’s the worst VP pick John McCain could have made. Personally, it makes me happy since I’m a liberal as hell Democrat and it makes my ticket look so much better by comparison. But on the other hand, it’s women like her that make it MORE difficult for women like Clinton to get elected. For every ball busting broad like Clinton or even Olympia Snow (who I personally don’t like, but respect in terms of being a woman in power) there’s a ditz like Palin who is so power hungry that she isn’t thinking with her brain and doing what’s best for her party and her career. Palin is going to walk out of this election a joke, and just like Jane Swift (who should really be keeping her mouth shut right now) she’s going to set women back, not help us shatter the glass ceiling.
On one hand, part of me wants her in the election because it makes it so much more entertaining. I have to imagine Tina Fey’s agent is on the phone with SNL right now and that she will continue to be excellent fodder for incredibly funny political humor. Not to mention I hope it makes the election a landslide for Obama.
But on the other, I really wish that she would have taken stock and realized that right now isn’t a great time for her to be running for national office. Sure, when the brass ring is offerred, you need to think about grabbing it. But sometimes you understand that it’s not the right time and you let it pass you by, understanding it may never come again.
Overall, I think the choice of Palin speaks a lot more to McCain’s own inability to be a good leader than it does to anything else. Why in hell would he nominate someone he never even fully vetted? Was this a “Hail Mary Pass” to try and snag the disgruntled Hilary supporters? If it was, it’s insulting to me and every other woman to assume that we vote for the plumbing and not the politics…any woman who supported Hilary for her politics would never want to see Sarah Palin in the second highest office or anywhere near the White House. Was he just trying to prove that he’s still a “maverick”? If so, what will his next move to prove what a Maverick he is be? He’ll wake up one day and decide it would be mavericky and unexpected to declare war on Greenland? A blatant effort to get the support of the far right?
I just have to wonder how long she’ll really last and if she’ll be on the ticket in November. And if she’s not, what would be only the second failed nomination of a VP in the history of the US (Eagleton was the first in 1972) means about John McCain, and how those who are normally not liberal would see it.
As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I know it ain’t over till it’s over…and so I say stop talking about whether or not Sarah Palin’s a good mom (personally, I’m going to go ahead and judge her and say she’s not a good mother in my book) and let’s talk about how incredibly unqualified she is to be vice president. And then let’s elect Obama/Biden.