Seems quite a few women are incensed to see the "sexism" abounding on the net (and here at Crabmommy) when it comes to questioning Sarah Palin's ability to run the White House, should she be so required if McCain kicks the bucket or spontaneously combusts in a fit of his trademark ire.
Many of you agreed with me when I said--saucily, people, as is my wont--that anyone breastfeeding her babe shouldn't have a finger near the nuclear button; others found my post anti-feminist and offensive. I find it hilarious and stupid in equal measure that we are even having a conversation about empowered mothers, women's rights, and shattered glass ceilings when the person in question is totally against women's rights and reveals herself to be quite a questionable mother at best, not to mention a believer that the road to smart women begins with teaching Adam and Eve in school.
- If Sarah Palin were a great VP candidate we would not be talking about motherhood.
- If Sarah Palin were a great mother we would not be talking about motherhood in the White House because she would not be politicizing her children for her own ambitious ends.
- If Sarah Palin's camp thinks it's unfair for her attackers to talk about her children and pontificate on her ability to simultaneously be a mother and a VP, then Sarah Palin's camp ought not talk about her newborn, nor parade her knocked-up child on stage for all the world to see in a grand fallacious gesture of "walking the talk" of family values.
In spite of the Palin freak show we continue to engage in absurd conversations in which people say such things as "If Obama had a baby no one would ask him how he planned to juggle it" etc. etc. Similarly, several comments here and elsewhere suggest that if Obama had a young baby then we too should question him on how he would cope. Puh-lease.
Me, I don't ask the same questions of Obama or McCain because neither man has a babe attached to his bosom, nor does he traffic in talk about juggling breastpumps and Blackberrys and "soccer mom" hoo-ha. If either man were the primary caregiver of an infant I might idly question how that kid would get shafted (though it wouldn't play a role in my vote), but that's not the case here, is it?
This convo is so ridiculous in its bending-over-backwards attempts at political correctness. For one, Obama isn't grandstanding about family values while parading his pregnant teen onstage like a circus animal and speaking proudly about stepping up to grandparenthood. Nor would Obama in power ever do anything to reverse a woman's right to choose whether she wants a family at all. Obama is not a mom and he's not running as a Supermom while also attempting to stop moms from making their own decisions about family and career, so I'm not asking him to show me if he can handle being a mom and running the country at the same time.
As for Palin "walking the talk" let's hear some of the talk and then see if she's really "walking" it. On abortion: we all know Palin is pro-life, even if her own daughter were raped, (and on the subject of rape, as we now know Palin thinks raped women should pay for their own rape kits). As for the pro-life/pro-choice question, I believe we are meant to see Palin's Down's baby, the unfortunately named Trig, as the living example of Palin's truly "walking" her own talk. I dare say that's a major insult to anyone with a Down's child: comparing Palin's circumstance with Trig to one in which a person is raped and falls pregnant is offensive beyond all measure, yet that's what's actually between the lines if anyone considers Trig proof of Palin's "walking" her pro-life talk; i.e., that the decision to have her child proves her to be a woman willing to go all the way when it comes to her beliefs on life vs. choice.
I believe that everyone has the right to abort or keep any baby, healthy or not, but I don't believe that Ms. Palin's decision to have her Down's baby is something for which anyone should be congratulating her, much less a signifier of the beautiful courage of the pro-life position; Palin's decision to have her son is her personal choice in a personal and individual case, a case with far more opportunity for a mother's optimism than, say, the case in which a fetus has a disease or a congenital defect that would cause it unbearable suffering and/or certain death were it to be born. A Down's kid may have health complications, but there are, quite obviously, way worse diagnoses than that. And then there's rape, Ms. Palin.
To reiterate, babies are a matter of personal choice in my book--the mother's choice. That Ms. Palin *may* exhibit courage in the matter of choosing to have Trig is irrelevant to me and should be irrelevant in any political campaign. But it's not, for Palin and her team and supporters have mined and distorted this narrative of so-called personal courage in quite the twisted way, when you look at it closely. As for poor naughty knocked up and unfortunately named Bristol, again Palin is not walking her talk because it's not hers to walk: it's Bristol's, whether Mom wields the influence or not. And, to be blunt, this daughter cannot either be touted as an extension of Palin's particular pro-life position because this daughter has not been raped, though apparently if she had been, Mom would still push her to have that baby. Nice!
Whatever happens, America will get what America asks for. And so many Americans right now think Palin is, at the very least, is a woman we should all take great pains to view as capable of both motherhood and governance, because any other stance is sexist and backward and redolent of double standards! Slap on the wrist, Crabmommy, and anyone else who dares to suggest that her particular circumstances as a mother might cloud her ability to run the country.
To the various self-proclaimed feminists who have come over to this blog and declared me and my supporters to be sad disenfranchised victims of patriarchy: keep talking your PC talk and we may all soon become sad disenfranchised victims of GOP patriarchy, only this time disguised in a skirt.
Yet the tedious argument grinds along: whether we dig Palin's issues or not, we ought to respect her right to go for the VP role untainted by pesky sexist questions. After all, party affiliation aside, she's still a role model, right? She's still punching at that glass ceiling while pumping her boob with the other hand! She's still a woman with career and yet devoted to family, juggling furiously and getting it all done! And even if she does have some kinks as a mom, who are we to judge...right? I mean, it's not our business.
From a moral or political perspective I don't care if Palin is a bad mother, which I think she is. Being a bad or good mother or father is a non-issue for me among the issues I do care about when it comes to this vote because I don't particularly care about the candidates' children: I happen to believe the personal lives of politicians have nothing to do with me or my interests. (I also don't give a royal fig who the candidates sleep with; nor do I give a rat's bum whether they're cross-dressers or porno-watchers or wear purple drawstring pants in their spare time.)
I don't care if Palin's a bad mother, or a good mother. But I do care that a woman running as a mother and using her specific family circumstances to further her campaign is not allowed to be criticized as a mother. That's where the double standards come in. If you raise the subject of motherhood in your campaign, Palin, then so can we all. And for my money, you can be any sort of mother you like, just not in my White House (where all that late-night feeding might distract you).