Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The unbelieveable viciousness is simply vicious.

I am not really a political junkie.

Yes, I vote and I follow campaigns, but not with the furor or enthusiasm of so many people I hear about in the news. And even if you never follow politics, you can't get away from it this year, at least in terms of the coverage the presidential campaign has been given over the past few weeks.

Sara Palin has divided this country like no politician I can remember in my lifetime. I get that - you either like her politics and views or you don't. And I also understand that as major party candidate in a very close race, she could be history-making if John McCain is elected president. But even given all that, what I don't understand is the viciousness of the attacks made upon her, the mockery made of her and her beliefs, the outrageous furor at the "audacity of hope" (to coin a phrase) she has adopted to even imagine she could serve in the office of vice president.

Let's leave her politics out of this particular discussion. If the rejection and dismay we were reading about and hearing about in the news were simply about her politics, the stories would have faded out of the headlines about two weeks ago. It's not about her politics. Some people simply hate the fact that she's in the race.

But it's not because she's a woman. People are not reacting to her being a woman; they are reacting with venom because she's not the right woman.

She's pro-life! She's conservative! Sure, she's a governor but jeez, it's Alaska for god's sake! What's so hard about governing Alaska? Who ever even thinks about Alaska? Does NOW like her? Does the ACLU like her? Does Barbra like her? What rock star is planning to throw a fundraiser in her honor?

And by the way, who gets to decide who is the right woman? Is it okay is if she's married? Can she be a mother? Must her children have achieved a certain age before she can hold a major office? Must her husband have a high-powered job? Must she have an Ivy League degree? Must she be an attorney? Hillary Clinton met all these "requirements" and look where that got her.

It kills me that women who claim to be liberal and free-thinking are horrified at her candidacy. "How can she be thinking of running for vice-president when she has a special-needs newborn?" "How can she be thinking of this when her teenage daughter turns up pregnant and not married?" "How can she imagine for one second that she is remotely qualified to hold this job and perform it well?" "How can she be pro-life? Doesn't that mean she wants women to be repressed?" "Why did she name her kids such odd names?"

Here's my take on all these questions: I have no idea. You know why? I'm not Sara Palin. Hey, I wouldn't ever have considered such a high-powered job when my kids were babies; I wouldn't consider it now. But who cares what I would or wouldn't do? I'm not Sara. And I don't make judgements about what is the right choice for her.

The truth is, the "women's movement" - whatever that was - has proven to been ultimately pointless. If any of it really mattered, all of the questions being asked about Palin's "parent vs. candidate holding a very high-level office" would be posed to Barack Obama as well. But they're not. No one is concerned with how he will raise his children for the next four to eight years should he win this election and the next.

Oh, I get it. Because he's a dad. And only moms are important when it comes to raising their children. Dads don't matter. As long as they have their mothers, children will be just fine. And when women choose to "abandon" them - whether that's because they drop them at daycare or drop them in to the arms of the Secret Service - there is something deeply troubling about that woman. Clearly, she is not what a woman should be.

I'm so sick of this, I really am. Is that why women marched? So that in 2008, we could enthusiastically reconfirm the idea of Mom reigning supreme at the hearth while dad takes on the world?

Hey, if you hate Sara Palin's politics, don't vote for her. But please, please - can we stop the endless, useless debate about her looks, her accent, her hobbies, her home life, her childrens' names, her husband's activities, her parents, and her education? If this is how we decide an election, we're pathetic.

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