Monday, September 1, 2008

The Right To Choose?

Big weekend. Gov. Sarah Palin, caribou hunter, major reproducer, bearer of a prom hairstyle, has been on my mind:

I believe every woman has a right to choose, but this weekend my belief has been seriously tested.

Crabmommy tries to steer clear of politics in this blog because who wants to hear anything serious from me? However, I'm making an exception today to question Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin's ability to use good judgment and make sound choices. With regard to baby names.

Go here for more on that.

What I wasn't prepare to say at the Cookie blog: I don't get why women are supposed to get excited when they hear stories of potential leaders of the nation juggling "breast pump and Blackberry" and being "a soccer mom just like you." Why are Americans so into identifying with their leaders? I'm all for the inspired story that starts in the common mire, and I think it's great that Barack Obama can connect to ordinary people's struggles, having once been an ordinary person, but I'm glad Obama is no longer an ordinary person and is now an extraordinary person and that's why he's getting my vote.

Palin on the other hand: Is she an achiever and also a mother? Def. Is that cool? Yep, sure, duh. Extraordinary, as in, worthy of the extraordinary position of running a country? Not sure about that. Especially since she's still very much engaged in the very ordinary business of producing new babies, which speaks to a desire to expand her own family in favor of taking care of the nation's at large. And sorry, but I don't want someone second-in-command in the White House juggling breast pump and Blackberry. Make that, nuclear button and breast pump. With all those hormones flowing? I'd wager "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il of North Korea's got more global sensitivity than a brand-new mom attached to her Medela and worrying about a week of greenish diaps.

Or are we supposed to be heartened by the fact that Palin really *isn't* going to be in charge of her new baby at all and is in fact going to put the country first and aside from brisk lactation duties will toss baby number five at her clearly overwhelmed and emasculated hubby, who didn't do too well wrangling the knocked-up teen daughter?

Yes, I know *I'm not supposed to say this and all* but I don't think a new mom should be running the country. Mom in the White House? Sure, duh. New mom? God, no! Call me a traitor to my sex, but I think Palin's new babe might be a tad dangerous to the free world. And if somehow I'm wrong? Well, then, Palin's just a common hypocrite, preaching anti-choice family values and the right to choose a career over motherhood—rather tautological, if you ask me.

Back to breastfeeding...seriously, if she had her fitness once-over in prep for White House running, don't you think they should check her hormones to see if boobing it to the new babe could jeopardize our nation? Dunno about you, but I could barely remember my own name during that first year of Crabtot, let alone give a rat's bum about the world beyond my own chest.

But sheesh, that's just me! We're all different! Each to her own! May we tolerate the differences between us! And agree to disagree.

Blech. Puke.


Suz Broughton said...

Someone had to say it. Thanks.

Satsuki Rebel said...

I can only imagine the terror I would have unleashed during my first 6 months of motherhood. I completely agree- insane hormone levels & sleep deprivation do not a good leader make.

Mary Anna said...

Amen, sisters! Satsuki said just what I wanted to say! Cindy McCain must have bottle fed, or John is so old that his memory has faded so much that he can't remember those glorious days!

cathy said...

Wow. And right on, Crabmommy!

laura sue said...

I'm still just so confused that she is the the VP choice?!?! I keep saying, "Huh??" You make some good points. You do know that Trig has Downs, too. She must be overwhelmed.

Sidenote re: Cookie blog...Bristol is a city in East Tennessee, too. Teeny tiny town, similar to the one she was mayor of.

kpmac said...

You read my mind.

Alexis said...

I agree that Palin would make a terrible VP choice, but not because of her motherhood duties. I mean, it is her 5th child after all. From my admittedly informal and totally unscientific observations, women with large broods seem to be a lot better at time management and child wrangling than those of us with more diminutive clans.
I have already heard people making the criticism that she should have known better to have a kid in her 40s since "we all know" that she's at higher risk of giving birth to a child with Downs. Not your point, I know, but I think we all know what a slippery slope it is. Maybe women shouldn't be allowed to return to work until their kids are in pre-school? I am being hyperbolic, and mean no disrespect, just trying to show the other side a bit.
I plan to focus on her utter lack of experience as the best reason of all to criticize her. I mean, come on, she's never held a position in Washington!
Hope my comments are taken for what they are--just my opinion (I don't normally write so many qualifiers to my comments, but I know how heated these things can get sometimes and don't want to be misread as a flamer).

Anonymous said...

Oy, and I thought the news was nasty to Palin.
Your line of thinking makes it sound as though the only women who should be in politics are those who are either a)done raising their children and therefore perhaps out of touch with what young families of today need, or b) women with no children who really have no idea what sort of needs a young family has. I hope that's not what you truly think, but I hold little hope for our politicians if this scrutiny for choosing to be a mom and caring about our country is what we hold in store for them.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant as usual, Crabmommy.

Palin's just had kid #5 (with issues, no less) and, AND her teenage daughter is pregnant and just what about this scenario screams: I need to make my life more complicated?

Plus, the glare of press scrutiny that is now coming down to bear on that poor 17 yr old is something no one should have to bear--at any age. Way to protect your kid, Palin.

Gray Matter Matters said...

Palin on a's like Christmas in September. Thank you baby Jesus, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the old hormone argument. As far as hormones go, wouldn't she be the best judge of that? Myself, I felt great when I was breastfeeding. And I can't say that her husband seems--what was it again?--"obviously overwhelmed and emasculated" to me. He's a pipeline worker, professional fisherman, and champion snowmobiler, isn't he? Not my thing, but also not exactly unmasculine. Wait--could you be saying this just because she has a more powerful job and he supports her?

Seriously, guys, I'm less disheartened by the prospect of VP Palin than I am by the words coming from the mouths of self-proclaimed feminists these days. You people are setting the movement back decades.

crabmommy said...

anonymous who thinks I'm setting back women's rights with my hormones argument: you have a point, and I expected it. Perhaps I'd be less likely to pick on Palin and her right to choose her career if she didn't pick on my right to choose motherhood, period; if she comes into power we will indeed see a major setback for women's rights and it won't be merely rhetorical.
alexis, thanks for your thoughtful points too: my argument and beef with Palin has nothing to do with her baby having Downs' syndrome, just to be quite clear on that.

Anonymous said...

So you disagree with her about abortion. Great: so do I. Let's not vote for her. We could even run for office ourselves. But let's not start talking about hormones, emasculation, and what a bad mother she is, okay? Because that really isn't what it's about. At least I hope it isn't.

Anonymous said...

NoNo the hormone argument is 100% on target. In FACT, it is my heartfelt belief that humans of any sex should automatically be disqualified from any position of power or decision making. Women are ruled by their various ovarial hormones and men, well, c'mon!

Yeah, I know we can't leave things up to the lower life forms, so here's what I propose. We create a ruling class of "humans" as defined by everything biological about us (big brains, opposable thumbs, ability to calculate pi to a thousand digits, etc.) with the exception of all those pesky reproductive organs and supporting genitalia. Asexual aristocrats raised on a strict vegan diet of organic native flora.

And for those concerned about the whole "nurture" side of the equation, we raise the first three or four generations with some kind of food dispensing robots - non gender specific, of course - until they've figured out their own language, social governance structures, etc. Then we turn over the reigns and let the fun begin.

Death to the Humans!

Anonymous said...

Hadn't thought about the misty minded breastfeeding angle on Sarah Palin. I certainly wasn't able to run my family well during breastfeeding, how on earth will she run the world? There are so many reasons for Americans not to want her as a veep. She's dangerously strange, and will give Obama a run for his polls I believe.

Anonymous said...

She may not have had the same reaction to breastfeeding as many of us do. We're all different. In fact I doubt she is still doing the 3 or 4 hourly feeding. In fact, she is probably feeling great, that post breastfeeding spring.
But what makes her think that global warming has nothing to do with human activity? If it's not the hormones, it must be her intellect...

Anonymous said...

Crabmommy, I understand your point about hormones, but it is an argument that men have been using to keep us out of power for a long, long time. It seems to be that the job of VP is not that demanding (I mean Dan Quayle did just fine, didn't he?). On the other hand, the possibility of Palin taking over the Presidency is chilling. Not because of her gender or family responsibilities, but because of her appalling political views.

Alexis said...

Yes, the idea that someone who until very recently was the mayor a small town in Alaska could become the leader of the free world should something happen to the (elderly and unstable) president is chilling indeed.
PS Bristol is a truly heinous name.

Emily L. said...

Right, is this a feminist blog?!

Shoot, I thought that it was for witchy women to complain to one another!

PS Love the anonymous comment with the phrase "you people"! How unique! How inclusive! How Ross Perot! ( When he addressed the NAACP. But I guess you're not THAT kind of feminist...)

Katherine said...

As one who is more "middle of the road" and because I consider myself now more independent than REP or DEM... I think you make some valid points here... especially about her being a new mom.

I will be interested to see how this all pans out.

Fall From Grace said...

I realize I'm late to the party but it took me all week to remember my password. Nope, not breastfeeding, but I am a SAHM (gag that I know and use those initials)of three and I can barely keep it together as we gear up to home school. HOW Sarah Palin can even imagine she can get through the campaign and hold down the VP job is beyond me. And I'm fairly smart.

A few random thoughts... and I've just gone over em and taken out the more inflammatory bits.

Forcing your 17 year old to marry because she's pregnant (announcing it to the world and dragging the boyfriend onstage is forcing her)is akin to child abuse. I wasn't aware that marriage was the cure for teen pregnancy crisis in America. Whadya know?

One of my kids shares a name with a lil' Palin and another name was on my list so I shouldn't snicker at what anyone chooses to name their kid. Even though I do.

Exposing your 17 year old pregnant daughter to this kind of media scrutiny is ...well...akin to child abuse.

If her husband were running, the kids wouldn't even be an issue. More's the pity.

If she were Mormon and living in Texas, and her 17 year old daughter were already married and pregnant, you can bet her three younger children would have been taken away from her.

Is it just me or does this whole thing smack of desperation by the party?

... hmm. I guess it's still a bit inflammatory.

Julie said...

Yay for Crabmommy. You took the words right out of my mouth. Scary Sarah is frightening in so many ways, raging hormones may be the least of it. She was chosen for the women's vote, but she is so anti-woman, it's downright freaky.

Elke said...

I am appalled.

So appalled.

I'd like to direct anyone not living in 1908 to my most recent blog post.

Do you women really believe that you are that stupid? Who told you that? Why didn't you hit them?

crabmommy said...

Elke! If I'm not mistaken I think you just called me stupid. But I won't hit you. :)

Palin: It amazes me that we're all meant to get excited by the empowering sky's the-limit-for-mommies role model that is this woman. A woman who believes in the right to make her own choices about her own family but who will gladly set us back to 1908 when it comes to our repro rights, should she come into power, and she very well might.

To all those who are stewing over mombloggers such as me who are supposedly setting ourselves back a decades with our critique of Mommy Palin: presidential elections ought not be about motherhood--true; they ought to be about governing a country. If Palin were a serious candidate worth investigating, we wouldn't be talking about her as a mom, we'd be talking about her as a candidate.

That this woman should be the only one since Hill Clinton close to the White House is an indictment and a joke. She parades her children around as though they are a political achievement. She makes them front and center of her ridiculous set of political values that include forcing women to have babies they don't want. And I'm supposed to respect her and champion her ascent to power?

Not my kind of mommy.

Karleewinters said...

This is a little off topic, but could we (like the educated, well-informed people that we are) distinguish between mainstream, non-polygamist Mormons (LDS) and the polygamist practicing FLDS? I'm really tired of people believing that I (a Mormon) am a polygamist because of the perpetuation of this innaccuracy.

Karleewinters said...

Oops. I meant inaccuracy. How embarrassing.

Fall From Grace said...

Sorry, Karleewinters.

I do know the difference. In fact, I have known and loved Mormon women in my time as wonderful supportive friends (and one gave me the best peanut butter-oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever tried), and unless they had a second family stashed in the basement, they were pretty well regular, mainstream family units. But what's 'regular' nowadays?

I was exaggerating to make a point - that her forcing her young daughter to marry is... well. Not right by me. And hey, if Sarah can have a say in whether or not I have another child, I can offer an opinion on whether or not her child should marry at what I consider 'under age'. Sarah's 'Me! Me! Mimi-ness' her decision to grab what she wants regardless of whether or not it's best for her family irritates me. It's uncool. It's childish. And it irks me. So I exaggerated.

And, as is my way, I was bringing the whole Crabmommy experience back around to Mormon...baiting? poking?

But in retrospect it was insulting and I apologize.

Amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

Way too many typos in my last comment, so THAT'S WHY I DELETED IT!

let me try again:

karlee! Welcome. Indeed fallfromgrace had reason to allude to Mormons in a cheeky way because I have done so many times on this blog. But for a long time now I have steered clear of any mention of John Krakauer or insouciant questions about Mountain Dew sodas...these sorts of things used to occupy a fair bit of time on this blog while I lived in the many-Mormon belt of the Rocky Mountain West, but you will be pleased to know that these days I am more interested in poking fun at the types that proliferate here in the Pacific Northwest--militant ecomommies and the sort of well-behaved fascists one finds in the Teva-sandal belt of the NW!

Actually it's been a while since I've poked fun at any of these peeps. But I do plan to. Oh yes, indeed.

Andrea said...

Thank you for saying this. Please let me add that if Obama had an infant my feelings for him would be exactly the same.

Amanda said...

hey andrea, thanks for your comment...but I disagree with you on the Obama comment: my questions for him would not be AT ALL the same if he had an infant because he wouldn't be breastfeeding it as Palin is. And if he were the primary caregiver of said infant, then I might find it questionable that he'd be running for president and I'd wonder who would get shafted.

I'm sorry, but this woman pitches herself as ubermommy, with a large brood and a pro-life stance on procreation in general; but she's not walking the talk of good mother to me, while at the same time using her role as mother to boost her politics--not cool.

I find it utterly stupid that people act as though Dad and Mom's roles are the same when it comes to small children. To those who suggest we should ask the same questions of McCain and Obama that we do of Palin is complete PC nonsense. Obama, for one, isn't grandstanding about family values nor will he ever reverse a woman's right to choose whether she wants a family at all. He's not a mom and he's not running as a Supermom, so I'm not asking him to show me if he can handle being one and running the country at the same time.

Anonymous said...

At two months post-partum I'm not sure I should be in charge of my own baby, let alone the country. And I'm not depressed. I'm just... stupid. There. I said it.

Anonymous said...

And another thing... Just because I'm stupid because I pushed out my brains with the afterbirth, doesn't mean that every mother is. However, Sarah Palin seems to be stupid for a host of other reasons, most notably (for the record I can't spell notably. Or maybe I can. I used to be very bright, I swear.) Most notably for the fact that she wants to push her agenda on other people. And she seems to be a liar as well, which has nothing to do with breastfeeding.

Anonymous said...

Crabmom,though j'adore vous, I do wonder about this position you've taken. Following through, any woman of childbearing age who wants to run for pres. (or vp or representative, etc...) should promise to not get pregnant? Or just promise there will be no nursing should it happen? Or maybe she'll need to swear upfront that she'll chose country over babe?

And what about the men? In your logic (where one can't be a great parent if one is running the country), aren't they shirking their fatherly responsibilities? Aren't their families getting the shaft too? One thing I think we all admire about Obama is what a great family he has and what a great dad he seems to be but now I can't help but wonder, is he? Maybe I should change my vote to McCain since he's past the little kid stage. (Except I won't because this is all a little silly, non?)

grannybabs said...

Thanks for "telling it like it is!"

I've tried telling it that way too but keep running up against some truly media brainwashed "hop on the bandwagon" women - and men - who seem to think that it's great that we have Palin to choose.

I'm looking into Canada and Guadalahara - which I didn't spell correctly - in case we have to leave the country - rather than face another 4 years of Republican madness!

Fall From Grace said...

I'd wait until after October 14th before you seriously consider Canada.

Anonymous said...

What a sad group (most of) you are.

Amanda said...

Bravely said, anonymous.

Dana Seilhan said...

I really, really, really need to reproduce Alan Alda's Ms. magazine essay about testosterone poisoning.

If hormonal issues are enough to disqualify someone from high public office, men should automatically be barred from running.

I mean, look at what all their T-surging has done to the world, would ya?

Palin isn't unqualified because she's had kids, is a new mom, picks bad baby names, or breastfeeds. She's unqualified because she's a fundamentalist wacko who is helping wage yet another right-wing-backlashy assault on feminism. The co-opting of feminist rhetoric by the Religious Reich ever since her nomination has been well nigh enough to make me reach for the Phenergan. From the same high-handed hoity-toities who spend all their waking hours working at their careers while telling every other mother she should stay home, unless of course she qualifies for welfare and is black.

Oh, and there is nothing emasculating about staying home and taking care of kids, or about having your wife support you, because there is nothing masculine about having a career and making a living. But thanks for being a walking stereotype for all the false arguments made about the feminist movement. If feminism is not at least partly about making men care more about home life and less about proving the size and heft of their masculinity through antisocial and violent behavior, I don't wanna be a feminist. Husbands and boyfriends are cheaper than daycare. Usually lots more fun too.