Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A quick point about Palin

There has been much talk and gossip about McCain's choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin for his VP running mate. The radio and the blogs are all a'twitter over it, and I suppose rightly so. Joe Biden got a good going over in the press once Obama called on him as a running mate. The furor over Palin, however, has been another sight to behold entirely.

I'm really not interested in any of the more salacious rumors that have been circulating about her and her family, and honestly, I'm a little annoyed that this stuff seems to be dominating the national conversation about her as a politician.

Obama has the right idea here:
"Let me be as clear as possible," Obama said. "I think people's families are off-limits, and people's children are especially off-limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin's performance as governor or her potential performance as a vice president."

Obama said reporters should "back off these kinds of stories" and noted that he was born to an 18-year-old mother.

"How a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn't be the topic of our politics, and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that's off-limits."
And that's really all that needs to be said about it. Certainly, I will admit to feeling a sense of irony that such a staunch, abstinence-only crusader now has to deal with the consequences of that policy in such a personal way, but that's about it.

For me, the important issues about Palin are her actual politics: she stands for just about everything I stand against, and that's more than enough to keep my vote away from her (and her running mate). Isn't that what it ought to come down to, anyway? If you're pro-choice, against drilling in ANWR, pro-reasonable gun control, for comprehensive sex ed, socially liberal, etc., then there's no reason to support the McCain/Palin ticket. If you're all for abstinence-only education, rabidly anti-abortion, pro drilling, socially conservative, then hey--then knock yourself out!

I don't care about her gender, either. Believe me, I'd be tickled to finally get a woman in the White House, but not at any cost. For me, it would be more sexist to blindly support someone simply because they were a woman, instead of actually finding someone qualified and inspirational to get behind for the spot. And the fact that so many folks are all, "Look! McCain chose a woman! How progressive!" is offensive to me as well. Does he think all women (and men, for that matter) are so stupid? I should hope we all pay more attention to a person's individual merits and stated goals/beliefs than to their gender, race, religion, sexuality, etc.

Clearly that's not entirely the case, though, as our current media hubub indicates. And that, frankly, bums me out. Maybe if we the people showed a united front of indifference to this kind of crap, the media and politicians who make a habit of schlepping these wares would finally get the hint and move on to more important matters. It might be worth a shot.


illusory tenant said...

While I'm with you as far as the moral condemnation angle goes -- that is, there's nothing to condemn -- it works both ways.

Don't forget, we learned about all of this from a McCain campaign press release, and the RNC will be milking it for all it's worth.

Fortunately for the Palin family, they've got lots of support for any number of children.

Others have the children, but not the support, and Republicans have to be careful treading the hypocrisy line.

Therein lies the political question, which necessarily draws in some of the individuals, like it or not.

Emily said...

You make an interesting point. Certainly I agree that the Republican party line is full of hypocrisy, especially when it comes to just how far they're willing to go to care for children once they actually get themselves born into the world. It's an issue worth serious scrutiny--but I'm hesitant to pull in Palin's poor daughter, who is not, after all, running for office.

Calling into question Palin's judgment when it comes to what should be taught in sex ed and how we care for our more impoverished children, however, is fair game. It's a delicate balance, I'll admit, but an important one for which to strive.

illusory tenant said...

Agreed. The kid and her bf have done nothing to be ashamed of. Hell, it's not even illegal in Alaska (where the age of consent is 16).

Anonymous said...

I think that, by and large, most people have shown a united front of indifference to Bristol Palin's pregnancy, or if not indifference, at least the firm belief that it's the family's business and no one else's.

The corporate media are hooked on controversy and conflict, just as surely as the country is hooked on oil. It's much easier and much, much cheaper to just put a couple of talking heads on the air to bloviate about this kind of crap than it is to actually send reporters into the field and, well, report.

Anonymous said...

A few of us discussed this yesterday. Does damning the fact - here and, self-righteously so, elsewhere - that others are writing about it mean that you (we) are simply extending its distribution? That's an old lazy trick for columnists: repeat someone else's folly and damn it, thus perpetuating the folly)

(I liked the poetry slam piece. Makes me want to look at the financial records . . .)


Emily said...

GH - You have a point, and that's why I'm pretty much done talking about this particular story. It is a tricky balance to strike, though, especially with the intense pressure to pander to what will get you the most hits. Heck, I'm certainly not immune from that.

Palin as a politician, though? Open season, far as I'm concerned.

Glad you liked the NPS piece--I thought it was an interesting note, and I'll be keeping my eye on anything that develops.

The Lost Albatross