|LETTING MY VOICE BE HEARD
8 September 2008
People for the American Way is putting together a bunch of photos like this into a video, along with collecting signatures for a petition letting the country know that Sarah Palin is not the darling of everyone in the country. I couldn't not let my voice be heard, along with all the hoopla that has swirled around the country ever since the nominee of the former Miss Wasilla (my friend Char, who lived in neighboring Palmer is fond of remembering when she was Miss Wasilla) was named as McCain's running mate.
My first reaction on hearing that the governor of Alaska had been named as McCain's running mate was that McCain had decided he didn't really want to be president.
Well...what do I know, huh? She's become the conservatives' darling, the celebrity candidate, as it were (I thought being a celebrity was a bad thing in a politician...?). Women I've seen interviewed are just thrilled at the idea of having a woman elected to the nation's second highest office. I hope these aren't former Hillary supporters, since Palin's views seem to be at odds with everything Hillary believes in.
There's been a lot made of her mothering. People worry that she is running for office with an infant with developmental difficulties and wonder if she can handle being that child's mother and be vice president.
They wonder about her stand on "abstinance only" education, when she has a 17 year old pregnant daughter with a boyfriend whose My Space page states he wants no children, but who is now going to marry the child who is carrying his baby.
But those attacks are unfair. Much as I don't like Ms. Palin, I agree with Obama that families are off limits. Nobody has asked what effect Obama's run for the White House will have on his children. To ask the same questions of Palin is sexist. Let's just assume that she has a husband, children, and a staff who will take care of both the baby and her unmarried teenage daughter, and that they have been doing it ever since she entered public life.
There are also lies circulating around the internet, about Ms. Palin just as the same distortions she snidely spoke about Obama at the convention. I was sent a list of the books she is supposed to have attempted to ban in the Wasilla public library. I made the mistake of passing it along without checking it out first, and didn't realize that some of the books (the Harry Potter series, for one) had not even been published when she was elected, so I don't pay attention to that.
So my objections to Palin have nothing to do with judgments about her family life, or false rumors that have gone viral on the internet. But the idea of having her a heartbeat away from the presidency scares the heck out of me.
This a woman who calls the war in Iraq "God's Plan" and also admitted she didn't know all that much about it and hadn't thought about it much.
This a woman who wants to teach intelligent design as "science."
This is a woman who belongs to a church which believes you can convert homosexuals through prayer and who made one of her first acts as governor to attempt to strip domestic partner benefits for gay couples, until she was told that was unconstitutional.
This is a woman who has stated that it is her desire to strike down Roe v. Wade. I loved Biden's answer on Meet the Press this morning. When Tom Brokaw asked him when life began, he gave the answer that I would give: that for himself, personally, life begins at conception. But that this feeling came as a result of his own religious background, and on considering the issue within his own heart. However, he said that he acknowledges that there are many religious, many cultures, and many beliefs where "life" begins (he stated, for example, that Thomas Aquinas wrote that life began at "quickening") and that he did not believe that he had the right to impose his personal or religious beliefs on everyone else and that this was a decision which needed to be made by the people involved, in consultation with their doctor and, if they desired, their religious guides.
(incidentally, this viewpoint caused the Catholic archbishop of Denver to warn that Biden had better not try to receive communion in Denver. "I certainly presume his goodwill and integrity," said the archbishop, "and I presume that his integrity will lead him to refrain from presenting himself for Communion if he supports a false 'right' to abortion.")
It scares me to think that we are on the verge of imposing fundamentalist Christian values on all Americans, whether they be Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists or athiests.
We heard a lot about John McCain's heroism during the convention. In fact, that seems to be his highest qualification for President: He is an American hero. Nobody would deny that he went through Hell in Vietnam and he behaved nobly. But has anybody heard about the serious, serious, serious problem with post-traumatic stress suffered by returning soldiers from Iraq, and how those scars can last for the rest of their lives? McCain is famous for his temper (which Barbara Boxer commented on this morning on one of the talking heads shows). Do we want someone, who an acknowledged quick temper, who may or may not be suffering the after effects of torture and isolation with the power to start a war? Honor him, yes. Put him in the position of being "the most powerful man in the world," definitely no.
This election scares the hell out of me. I've made no bones about supporting Obama and I freely admit that I am supporting him because of that famous "hope" that they talk about. He makes me want to be proud of this country again. He makes me want to hold my head up again. He makes me want to feel that we can come back from the morass we have been wallowing in for eight years.
By the same token, I realize there is a lot of rhetoric behind that hope. And I'm betting the farm on the belief that he can actually bring us together to work for the common good, as he seems to have the ability to do.
But the alternative scares me even more. We've already gone through eight years of hell in the name of "homeland security" and "fighting terrorism." I listen to the things McCain says and I fear that it's only going to get worse.
I'm still waiting for someone to define "victory" in Iraq for me.
And on a petty level, I also can't stand the thought of listening to
McCain's inarticulate rhetoric and "my friends" punctuating every paragraph, or
Palin's nasal voice for eight years. (At least someone apparently gave her
pronunciation lessons. The first time I heard her she said "nucular" and I
screamed. NOT AGAIN!!! But I notice that she actually did say
"nuclear" in her acceptance speech.)
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Women who are tempted not to bother voting,
MILES TO NOWHERE: 67.5 miles