Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Not Palin Around

It seems that political scientists and analysts for the Republican Party concluded that their best choice for a presidential running mate needed to be female, and basically any female would do. The McCain camp bypassed other well-qualified candidates and chose Sarah Palin, the relatively unknown governor from the State of Alaska. Conservative pundits and politicos rallied around the choice, touting her ultra-conservative values and energy background as necessary elements to win over independent and undecided voters. Her inexperience on the national and international stage raises suspicions on the true reason she is now the Vice Presidential candidate for the GOP. McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin seems like nothing more then a thinly veiled attempt to win over female voters and the assumption that women will vote for their gender rather than their beliefs is nothing short of offensive.

Admittedly I am known to do all I can to “support my sisters.” I go out of my way to do business with female doctors, lawyers, shop-keepers, farmers, bakers, and other places of business in an attempt to provide women much needed support in our male dominated society. Choosing to do business with a woman is fairly easy; there are plenty of good doctors, dentist, and business owners with XX chromosomes. While I would like to offer the same level of support to a female candidate, the choices are a bit more limited than other areas of life. I want to support a female candidate but I will not support a candidate just because she is a woman; only if the woman running is the best person on the ticket. I did not support the Hillary Clinton campaign because I did not believe she was the best person on the primary ticket; instead supporting Governor Bill Richardson who was much more qualified, but did not win the popularity contest for his party.

Sarah Palin was not chosen to run with McCain on his ticket for her policies or experience, but because of her gender. I sincerely hope that women, whether they lean right or left, are outraged and insulted by this. Apparently there is a perception that women are so feeble minded that they would vote based upon a candidate’s gender rather than their beliefs. Most insulting are people who believe that Hillary supporters would gravitate to the Republican ticket because of Sarah Palin, a woman whose values and beliefs are the polar opposite of Ms. Clinton.

I am fiscally conservative, and in some areas socially conservative, but the right of women to control their bodies, and ultimately their destinies, is the number one issue in my list of priorities. The Republican Party declared open season on women’s health and reproductive rights, targeting policies and programs aimed at everything from limiting access to birth-control to banning abortion in all cases. Sarah Palin opposes abortion even in the case of rape or incest, threatening to further victimize women whose lives were already destroyed by these awful crimes. Some are refuting reports that Palin is anti-birth control, even for wed couples, but until the Palin camp comes out and says they are pro-birth control in an official statement I remain skeptical of her stance on birth control. According to the mindset and beliefs of ultra-right winged conservative groups, birth control is tantamount to abortion. Every egg that passes through a woman’s body unfertilized is a lost life. Every person who has engaged in protected sex is prohibiting the creation of life. Sex is nothing more then a means to pregnancy and women are reduced to nothing more than walking incubators. The Republican Party all but openly admits that the Sarah Palin choice was one way to engage the support of the ultra-conservatives; Sarah Palin will never risk losing those votes by taking an official pro-birth control stance.
No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman
can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will
not be a mother.
- Margaret Sanger
Palin’s own daughter is a victim of the uselessness of abstinence only education that is all the rage with Conservatives. This is not an attack on Palin’s family or her poor teenaged child; it is an attack on her failed policy. A pregnant seventeen year old is nothing to be proud of and is usually not considered a “family-value.” She is a just another statistic in the sad rise of teenage pregnancy among ill-informed and uneducated teens. Bristol Palin and her baby-daddy Levi are lucky to have family who won’t beat or disown her. They are fortunate to have a family who can help support them. Most young girls face much harsher realities when faced with an unwanted/unplanned pregnancy and the Republicans are kidding themselves by sporting the upcoming baby and marriage as an example of how girls can prosper despite an unplanned baby.

There are a host of other questionable acts that make the Sarah Palin choice even more offensive. Sarah Palin is against stem cell research, putting the importance unused embryo over the life of a person with a debilitating disease. She opposes not just marriage but all rights of homosexual couples and even belongs to a church that claims to “heal” homosexuality. While Mayor, Sarah Palin fired a librarian who wouldn’t engage in censorship through banning of books. She opposes adding Polar Bears to the endangered species list because it could effect oil drilling. Governor Palin supports the aerial killing of wolves, a practice that rarely kills but often maims the animal, resulting in a long and painful death. She even approved a $150 bounty to hunters who hacked the left foreleg of a wolf and brought the appendage in for their reward. Alaska receives more pork-barrel spending money per capita then any other state in the union, and as Mayor of Wasilla she received $27 million from the national government, driving our national debt up and the worth of our dollar down. Sarah Palin is currently under investigation for firing the commissioner of public safety when he refused to fire a state trooper who was in a contentious custody battle with Palin’s sister.

It is also quite fishy that other female candidates in the party, from Christine Todd Whitman to Elizabeth Dole, were passed up for Palin. Part of me thinks other women passed up offers out of fear of a Republican loss this November, but the pessimist in me cannot help but wonder if Palin’s looks came into play in the vetting process. Sarah Palin was the Miss Alaska runner up in 1984 and is even being touted as a VPILF (a high-ranking MILF if you will). As a woman who hates beauty pageants, and is disgusted at the thought of people voting based upon looks, it sickens me to think that other qualified women were passed over because they weren’t pretty enough.

The one point where I disagree with the opponents of Sarah Palin is around her decision to accept the nomination for Vice President as a woman and mother. Far too many people are criticizing her accepting the nomination, questioning whether a good mother would put her pregnant child through the media circus or have the time to be a good mother to a mentally disabled infant. Would a man in the same family circumstance be questioned about his decision? Perhaps Governor Palin should thank her lucky stars that some people look beyond her role as wife and mother and give her the opportunity to be a leader. In return she should do the same and give greater support to women who chose careers in addition to or rather than being a mother.

If there is any person who should vote Republican, it is me. My “career” began in politics, interning with a former Republican presidential hopeful (whose little macaca reference ruined his career and my resume!). I work in health insurance and my stock options and job are potentially on the line with a democratic win. But the Republicans have sold their small government inner soul to the devils of the evangelical church. Since biblical times people engaged in practices to assist them with so called family planning and now we have a party who supporting policies that make women helpless victims of their biology. I’m not willing to take a chance on a party hell-bent on making sure every woman and little girl ends up barefoot, pregnant, and helpless to her biology. I cannot support a party that profits extensively off of big oil. I cannot support a party that chooses the life of an unborn fetus over the life of a fully-formed woman, or the life of a sick person who could benefit from stem-cell research. I could get another job, I could invest in new stock, but my life, and the lives of millions of men, women, and children would be irrevocably changed if their ability to control their reproduction is taken from them or the environment continues to crumble around them.

Women need safe and effective ways to take control of their bodies. Women need to be protected from the violence of rape and incest, not punished through forced pregnancy. Women need access to books and films, even if they are deemed offensive to some groups. Women need powerful role models whose rise to prominence are based upon hard-work, intelligence, dedication, and perseverance; not outer-beauty and intimidation. Women don’t need just any woman in office they need a person, man or woman, who looks out for their needs. Sarah Palin is completely out of touch with the realities of being a teenage girl, woman, and/or parent in the United States today and is not a role model worthy of the Vice Presidential nomination. Normally I support third-party nominees on the Independent, Constitutional, or Libertarian tickets, but this offensive choice by the McCain camp is forcing my vote. After 8 years with Presidential administration that exemplified the worst qualities in both parties, a social conservatism and a fiscal liberalism, I was hoping even the Republican party realized it was time for change. McCain had a chance to choose a running-mate who could rally moderates, and instead pandered to the religious right while hoping women would overlook Palin’s policies and just vote based on gender. I cannot help but quote my good friend Alex who coined a good phrase for those voting not for the Democrats, but against the Republicans; “Barack for the Block.”


19 comments:

Claire said...

Well written!

I'm not outraged by any of it because I don't know the truth about why she was chosen. If it was only because she's a woman & McCain has admitted that, then yeah, that sucks. But I don't have proof, only suspicions, so I'll save my rarely-used outrage for something else. I just won't vote for her. I disagree with her stance on pro-life, the environment & wildlife, & a laundry list of other things.

LucyinStLou said...

I read an online commentator who stated something like "the republicans seem to think they can trot out any old vagina and sway women voters, it's insulting". Sadly, I think the strategy might be working as they have gained in the polls. I am worried for the welfare of the Supreme Court. A justice is forever (almost) and whoever wins will surely be appointing more than one.

Alex said...

I should really be getting that phrase on a t-shirt and/or bumper sticker. Hmm, that may be a project for today. :)

I'd been meaning to write something along these lines, but I'll offer it up here as a soundbyte: I really do think that the choice of Palin equates to the same sad choice from the last election - I believe that they chose her simply because she's the kind of person that people would 'like to have a beer' with. Hey - it worked last time!

Claire said...

Wow, Lucy just said "vagina". That's funny.

This situation, however, is NOT. I also fear for what more could happen to this country.

Nursedude said...

There is a lot to digest with pick of Gov. Palin as a VP candidate. I don't know, McCain may be crazy like a fox. I cannot in my lifetime recall a VP candidate who has been such a quick lightening rod for both a groundswell of support and attacks all at the same time.

She was never going to attract the type of voter who is already in the camp of Mrs. Clinton, Nancy Pelosi or Sen. Feinstein. Other than sharing Y Chromosomes, Mrs. Palin shares NOTHING with them. What Mrs. Palin DOES bring to the table is that she is a Christian, pro second ammendment rights, pro drilling in Alaska and offshore, has had to juggle career and family to finish her education, she has a special needs child, has an unplanned pregnancy in her household(Boy, I know a thing or two about that one), she actually does hunt-like it or not, she has a background which not only puts her in common with a lot of women, but also with a lot of men in places like the deep south, the rocky mountain states and parts of the midwest.

As far as looks, yeah, she's a MILF, but look at how many male politicians get elected because of their looks.(You cannot tell me that John Kennedy's appeal to women voters might have helped him beat a less than handsome Richard Nixon in 1960)

Would naming Romney, Pawlenty, or Elizabeth Dole have generated this much energy to the GOP? I don't think so.

Like it or not, Charisma sells. Look at Sen. Obama. Geraldine Ferraro's remarks about how if Obama had been a white guy with that thin resume, he would not have been in the position he is in. There is nothing inaccurate in what she said, but she gotten taken to the woodshed and forced to fall on her sword.

For all of you Obama supporters out there, it is still his election to lose, in spite of what the polls say. It's about getting electoral college votes, and there is no way he is going to lose California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Michigan-that is a whole lot of electoral college votes. Even with this bump, the Dems would have to really shoot themselves in the foot to lose this election. We will find it in less than two months.

HeidiBowar said...

Great post! I've enjoyed reading what a lot of people are saying about her and I definitely agree with everything you said!

Anonymous said...

women don't have a Y chromosome. We're XX and men are XY I believe...

Alex said...

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/215981.php

Oh that *is* awkward...

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Anonymous... you want an editing job? You are of course correct, I change the paragraph around slightly before publishing and forgot to change up my biology reference. Thanks!

Nursedude said...

Chelle, actually, anonymous was correct in pointing out MY brainfart in my comment. Double XX is female, the Y Chromosone makes the baby a boy. In my haste in making my point in my post, I should have seen my error. Her correction not withstanding, my main point is that any thought of most Hilary Clinton or Democratic women supporters switching over to vote for a McCain and Palin ticket I think just does not make sense-if anything, they were going after the "Religious Right" to get them on board.

Explosive Bombchelle said...

The fact that there were many well-qualified men who would also rouse the religious right into action passed over for this relatively obscure woman is the basis for my supporting the theory that Palin was only picked because she was a woman. Of course, these well-qualified men might not want to play second fiddle to McCain and Palin was all that was left. Yes, she did bring a certain “charisma” to the GOP that the media is eating up, but that just highlights all that is wrong in this country. Are the 50% of us who actually give enough damn to vote getting the best candidates to choose from? Nope, we are getting the richest, and/or best looking, and/or best talking. Campaigning for President of the United States is like running for President of Student Council except there is much more at stake.

Thank you for your comment regarding Supreme Court appointees Lucy. I have gotten a number of emails regarding the social issues falling into the hands of congress and how the President has “little influence on those social issues.” The President has the ultimate power over these social issues through their choice of Supreme Court justices. Whoever is president come January 2009 will serve only 4 to 8 years, but they will certainly have 2 or 3 nominees who will serve for 20 to 40 years.

husband said...

nursedude has some good points on the "appeal" of Palin...
what has surprised me most is the embracement (look at me, making up words!) of her by the religious right. I really thought that the working mother thing would have had the response of "she should spend more time with her family"; and I thought the teenage pregnancy thing would have cause a "sex before marriage" outcry.
the articles I've found most interesting about this pick have less to do with the pick and more to do with the potential "death of the religious right" as they have embraced pre-marital sex, a working woman in power, and have used the phase "Bristol's choice" in talking about her unborn child.

Nursedude said...

The supreme court point is a valid one. Even among conservatives who I know do not like McCain-you have groups who support Second Ammendement rights who ask themselves who is going to be more of a friend to American hunters or people who want to own a firearm, a McCain appointee, or an Obama appointee? If you look at the recent 5-4 decision by the Supreme court that gave private citizens in Washington DC the same rights as other Americans to exercise their second ammendement rights on if they can even possess a firearm, the surprising closeness of that decision made people on both sides of the gun rights/gun control issue realize that there is a lot riding on this election. I think irregardless of where people stand politically, I do think that voter participation will be WAY up in this election.

drew said...

I don't really have a point to make here, but the cognitive dissonance among the electorate this year is really astounding.

husband said...

drew, one could argue that the voting public is getting dumber and dumber by the year... although I think that is unfair... I would argue that the voting public is getting lazier and lazier. Instead of getting knowledgable about issues, they look to the media to educate them, but the media (at least the media that most people are watchin) has become more about spouting opinions than reporting facts... see: MSNBC, Fox News, etc.

Nursedude said...

I also think that there are a lot more "One Issue Voters".(Gun control, abortion, taxes, Gay/lesbien issues)

litchic said...

Amen, sister! So well written! I am also completely disgusted by the fact that John McCain himself changed his position on abortion since becoming the Republican candidate. He USED to be pro-choice in the event of rape and incest, and now (especially with Palin on the veep ticket and supreme court justices to nominate), looks like the biggest threat to women's reproductive rights in a good long while. Keep on fighting the good fight!

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Has the political parties and our political process forced people into choosing candidates based on one (or a small few) issues? With a two party system, we have parties that decidedly choose polar opposite positions on every issue; there is no moderate or middle ground looking for sound compromises that benefit the greater good of society. This political divisiveness has created such friction between people that issues are impossible to discuss even with our own friends and neighbors.

Like Catholics who continue going to church although they might not believe in the church’s position on things like birth control and female priests, Americans are forced to choose one candidate over another based on one or two important issues, ignoring all the other issues they might believe in because they fall within the platform of the opposing party. I am forced to choose a candidate based upon their stance on equality and reproductive freedom and forgo my support of the death penalty and my opposition of government handouts. How many of us align so perfectly with one of the parties that we get a candidate that supports all of our beliefs? I’m guessing not many of us except those who blindly follow a party line and give little thought about how they really fell about the issues…

FUCKYOUALGORE said...

more qualified than obama and hillary...

turns out she would have been the better choice, now that this fool obama has finally imploded.

most women are just jealous of sara
but wont admit it...

o well.

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