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Monday, October 13, 2008

My Problem with Palin

I am dismayed by the interest being shown Sarah Palin, especially by conservative Christians. While I'm sure her stand on abortion appeals to them, I find their interest amusing at best, hypocritical at worst. Why, you ask?
First, I find it fascinating that most of the conservatives who are showing her support are likely in churches that would never allow her to preach in their congregation on the basis of gender. Help me understand why these folks find it perfectly appropriate for a woman to hold the second highest office in our land and yet by their theological standards, would never allow a woman to preach the word of God or seek ordination in the church.
Second, the conservative Christian movement has often made women who work feel like second class citizens who are willfully choosing a career over family. I don't think it's fair to go after Palin for having a teenager who is pregnant or even choosing to work while having an infant with special needs. If the political conversation is heading in that direction, men should come under the same scrutiny and they rarely, if ever, do. However, when the conservative Christians hold up as a core value mothers staying at home with their children, home schooling them, and making them their highest priority, I have to comment on their willingness to suddenly give a pass to Sarah Palin on this very issue. Why are conservative Christians not concerned with the fact that Palin is a working mother? And she is a working mother with children who are obviously in need of some special attention. If this woman was a Democrat or African American, you can bet that the Christian right would be all over her both for being a working mom and for having kids with special needs. I can only imagine that neglect would be mentioned on more than one occasion and commentary on her sense of responsibilty in parenting along with all of the bad choices she's made would soon follow. Again, it's the conservatives' rules not mine that are being bent for this candidate.
Beyond those two obvious breeches in traditional family values, I just find her mean-spirited. She pretends to be coy and campy, exuding a "girl-next-door" persona, but make no mistake, she is a shark. The fact that she is spouting off about how Obama is tied to terrorists just shows how low she's willing to go. I get that this is politics, but where is the Christian discernment in all this? Plus, a few quick fact finding minutes reveal how ridiculous her accusation against OBama really is, but the problem is, non thinking, non fact checking kind of folks are listening to her. They assume that if she says it, it must be true. Not only is this accusation unkind and untrue, it has created a climate of fear among those who believe her word to be law. Even John McCain had to tone down the rhetoric at a recent rally in Minnesota when one woman went after Obama. McCain took the microphone from her, shook his head and said, "No, Obama is a decent family man. You need not be afraid if he becomes president." Well, it seems rather odd to me that Palin is accusing Obama of having such disdain for America that he pals around with terrorists which incites her candidate to have to explain, no, wait a minute, that's not right, he's really a pretty decent man.
This in the midst of her own issues with the law in Alaska and what seems to be some pretty dishonest behavior. On October 11, the Los Angeles times reported that, "Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin violated ethics laws and abused her power as governor in pressing to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper, an independent legislative investigation concluded Friday." As Christians, are we not concerned about ethics?
I find it fascinating that Christian Republicans are so excited about this candidate. A familiar comment in support of her is that you can relate to her. As my husband so eloquently asked, "So, do you want a President that you can have coffee with or do you want someone who is smarter than you?" Why are we so obsessed with having a President that we can relate to? Don't we want someone in that post who is smarter, more savvy, more well-read and more learned than we are?
I don't find her appealing at all and for all the energy I've put into promoting women's roles in this world, I would be devastated if she's the first woman to be elected to VP in America. Why, perhaps you ask again? Because she's not qualified, she's mean-spirited, and quite frankly, she doesn't understand the world in which we live. Her ambition is so transparent to me. I think being ambitious is a good quality, but you should also have the self-knowlege to understand when your ambition far exceeds your abililty. In Palin's case, she has been swept up into the national spotlight and loves the attention, at least the positive attention. She needs to quit whining about the negative attention, get her own house in order, and prove to the world that she really can think on her feet about the key issues of the day, not simply stand up and say that she thinks abortion should be illegal. It should take more than that for people to understand why or why not a candidate is qualified to be running for Vice President. The sad thing for me is that for many conservative Christians, she really is just the ticket.