I have resisted the urge to write about Sarah Palin, mostly because it’s a waste of my precious brain cells. However, any of you who know me in the slightest (even if you only read my ridiculous blogs), know that more often than not I end up doing things I should not do. (See drunk blogging and drunk dialing and drunk sex for examples.) So pursuant to my own grand tradition, I will proceed to do that which I should not.
What to say about Sarah Palin? I fear this woman. I fear her because her vapidity and superficial public appeal is so beguiling to an ignorant, simplistic electorate that I am almost positive that a McCain presidency is coming our way in January. Is this what I want? Of course not. By all accounts I am a woman of progressive leanings and foolish idealistic sentiment. But I am also growing older and more cynical and more realistic. The reality is that the political game is played without any degree of consideration that a sophisticated, informed population has any hand in selecting presidents. These days, the lunatics, or what James Carville (not one of my favorite people) called The Great Unwashed are the arbiters of our great decisions. The Unwashed come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, by the way. And quite a few of The Great Unwashed are wild about Sarah Palin.
My beefs with Ms. Palin are not too far removed from those most frequently articulated. I believe her to be inexperienced to a fault; she is too conservative for my liking; and she has been noticeably eager to claim the mantle for causes I doubt she has any genuine allegiance to (i.e. feminism). All of that being said, what I dislike even more are the ridiculous things I hear said about her by the hypocritical supporters who will more than likely turn out en masse to inflict the death knell to the Obama/Biden camp in November. ‘She’s one of us!’ Who? ‘She’s a real person.’ I don’t know any one like her. And I like to think I have a nice little rainbow coalition of friends. ‘She shows the real power of a woman.’ How? Because she is remarkably fertile? BFD! I don’t care about her superior child bearing power. I don’t care that her daughter was knocked up at 17. Hell, I believe I can probably point to at least five relatives in my family who became pregnant before their 17th birthdays. Before, 17, not at, 17. Think about that. Judge not, lest ye be judged . . . or something like that.
No, that’s not what bothers me about Palin. What bothers me is the regressive climate her candidacy has introduced into discussions of cultural, social, and even class issues. I couldn’t bring myself to watch her speech, but I was unfortunate enough to catch Palin attacking Obama’s pedigree and accuse him of behaving as an anointed messiah while completely ignoring his successes. And don’t get me started on how ludicrous it is for Palin (and McCain) to insist upon maligning Obama for (gasp!) being an intelligent, articulate, educated candidate. It would appear that in this newly reborn climate of anti-intellectual, populist politics, being editor of the Harvard Law Review cannot compare to one’s ability to bear children.
An NPR report yesterday cited a statistic stating that by a 2-1 margin U.S. citizens “look down” upon working mothers. This was mentioned with reference to the fact that a few female McCain/Palin supporters questioned her decision to accept an office like the Vice Presidency when she should be “tending to her children.” Are you kidding me? I’m not even a McCain/Palin supporter, and I don’t have (and don’t ever expect to have) children, but these types of statements do something to make my blood boil. They indicate so much about the limited views we still hold in this nation. We deny so much about the realities of so many. Let’s believe for a second that it’s true that a woman should not work, but should watch after her spawn like a good little breeder. What of the woman who has no choice in this matter? Women like my mother. Myself, and my two sisters were raised by a single mother who had no choice but to work. My mother had to work, so her children could live. Yes, I knew my father, but my father was pretty much a part-time parent throughout my childhood. My mother did not have a wealthy executive husband to treat her to a nice house in the hills or in a flat, boring cul de sac, while she stayed home to take her children to “play dates.” The reality is many mothers work. They work because they have no choice. They work because we don’t live in a country which has the capacity to break outside of bullshit conceptions of what families look like.
My mother raised three daughters by herself. I should rephrase that, she was our mother and father, but I know she needed people like my great grandmothers and grandmother and the occasional aunt. In other words, a very NON-traditional family. And that's how it is sometimes. I wonder if the Palin-mad conservatives can relate to these types of family values? As for myself and my sisters, for the most part, we’re a decent set of chicas. We could be a lot worse, I guess, but I won’t use this blog to talk about my shit-suckworthiness, there will always be time for that.
This election is bringing out the best and the worst in so many. I don’t pray because I don’t believe in any G/god/s, but I hold on to hope, ever so slightly, I hold on, I hope we’re a better nation than I often detect us to be.