Friday, September 05, 2008

Does Sarah Palin Juggle Snakes?

I don’t often express political opinion here. That is because I have a sort of love-hate relationship with politics and also because many other people are far more knowledgeable than I when it comes to political matters.

Many of my friends are more “liberal” than I am. Many of my friends are more “conservative” than I am. My husband would be among that second group. Those of us in the middle are boring, honestly. But today I have to post about politics. I can't restrain myself.

When Bush and Clinton vied for the presidency, I was working at a legal services corporation (an LSC). LSCs are federally funded law firms that serve low-income clients. As you might surmise, I learned more than I could have imagined about the inequities of “the system”—the Medicaid system, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income, food stamps, etc.

Before working there, I would have described myself as a Republican, but afterwards I never could. I was too angry at what I had seen.. Still, while I wasn’t exactly a Democrat either, I was undoubtedly the most conservative person in the firm. I did not care for Clinton and was not excited about having him as president, but my colleagues spoke of him in such glowing terms it was almost idolatrous. As for Bush Sr., I was furious with him for several reasons that now no longer matter. I voted, but not with any enthusiasm. I admit that it has been longer than I can recall since I went to the polls with excitement about my choice—especially for president. Maybe the last time was before I could vote, a time in the 60s when I was in high school and enthusiastically campaigned for Richard Nixon and sat up late watching the returns and cheering. Yeah, we all know how that turned out.

Anyway, when Clinton won the election, there was widespread rejoicing in the halls at the firm. My boss said, “You don’t seem too happy. Don’t you like Clinton?” I explained a bit of my dilemma and admitted that I hadn’t even wanted to go to the polls. I wonder, will the day come when this liberal conservative/conservative liberal will ever feel good about my choices? I don’t know. Honestly, I don't like being in the middle of the road. People to the right and to the left want middle-of-the-road people to pick one side or the other. I wish I could do so without feeling I'm guilty either way.

I heard the sexist remarks aimed at Hillary Clinton by the news media. I was dismayed at the decidedly un-Christlike things I heard from some of my Christian friends. It seemed to me that if the target was Hillary, anything was acceptable as far as folks on the right were concerned, no matter how outrageous, petty or cruel.

I know Sarah Palin is very conservative. I don’t know yet what I think about her politcs. I haven’t had much time to investigate. But a quick search online left me fuming. I’m wondering why a lot of women seem to think that it is great to have a woman run for office unless she is conservative? It reminds me of my former colleagues at the law firm, people I deeply respected, who were excited about people of color running for office—unless and until that person was a Republican.

I am appalled at much of what I have been reading about Palin online. Could we stick to the issues? I can’t help but think that if the governor from Alaska were a liberal Democrat some of those same individuals would not be talking about her daughter, her special-needs baby, her marriage, her hair, her mannerisms, her picture on the cover of Vogue. They would be rejoicing that a woman, for the first time in history, was chosen as a candidate for vice president. And they would applaud her toughness, among other things. (A mistake here--second time. Geraldine Ferraro was first. Still remarkable.)

Today just finished me off. I read that Sarah Palin (who grew up and was baptized in an Assemblies of God church) shouldn't’t be in Vice Presidant because Pentecostals are too extreme in their politics and too “unbalanced,” and too “fundamentalist.” One educated news person who should have known better referred to her as a “Pentecostalist.” The tone of what I what I read often stopped just short of saying we can't elect someone who may start babbling unintelligibly and bring out snakes from behind her desk. And then I found a website that asked the question that led to the title of this post. Her childhood church was described as if it were an unknown cult. Can you say S.T.U.P.I.D? Yes, I am quite offended by such ignorance and stereotyping.

What is happening to us?

I told more than one friend to stop sending emails and telling people that Obama was Muslim. If he identifies himself as a Christian, I might not agree with everything he says, but I’m not going to call him a Muslim and spread it all over the 'net. I did take a look at his book, "The Audacity of Hope" and I was pleased at much I found there. Obama deserves a lot of credit, and admiration, whether you agree with his politics or not.

Now the same goes for Sarah Palin. You don’t have to agree with her political positions. She deserves respect. Can we just give her an ounce of credit for being a smart, savvy, accomplished woman? (Cheers for Dr. Phil who did just that on The Today Show, after admitting he did not yet know who he was going to vote for.)

I’ll tell you the truth. I am gravely concerned about some things connected with Obama and his campaign. And I am not a McCain fan either. Once again, I’ll be going to the polls with consternation—seeing too much on both sides for my comfort. Nonetheless, this is an amazing election. No matter which party wins, it is a historical moment. Race and gender stereotypes are falling in high places.

At least I thought so. Please, let it be so, without regard to which side of the aisle the person sits on--or what denomination they call "home" or what their last name is. Let’s rejoice in the wonder of this time, this rather amazing election process and its unusual protaganists, and let’s stop being so self-righteous and smug and partisan!

I’m going to be a little amazed and excited, no matter who wins. Significant history is in the making! America is changed for the better, and I mean that in a postive, long-overdue way.

And I'm pretty sure Sarah Palin doesn't handle snakes.


Auntie Knickers said...

Here's what I think: even if Sarah Palin did handle snakes, that wouldn't necessarily disqualify her any more than if Barack Obama were really a Muslim. My problem with her isn't even her lack of experience (although I did think it was specious of her to invoke Harry Truman, who had served many years in Congress before being selected for VP). It's her stands on issues that I care about -- the environment, the war, the economy, and the apparent Republican belief that "Spend and borrow" is better than "tax and spend." Her snotty, dismissive remarks about Obama's community organizing experience didn't help either.

Theresa Coleman said...

You go girl and Amen.

I get tired of ALL the rhetoric around ALL the candidates. I get tired of "slants" -- be they liberal or be they conservative.

I got mad too this week for these very reasons, yet I didn't blog about it.

You are a very wonderful and bold woman.

You go!

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

A.K. those are reasons, and reasons aren't stupid. Reasons are what it is SUPPOSED to be about! (((AK))

Thanks, R.M. I wish we could meet in person. I know we'd be buddies.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

As for! Can't someone just tell us the facts, ma'am, just the facts? (Okay, I'm dating myself. That was from Sgt. Friday of Dragnet fame.)

Would that be a relief?!

Diane M. Roth said...

I know, I've been thinking about the fact that she is or was (I don't think she attends that particular church anymore) Pentecostal, the fastest growing church in the world, by the way.

I don't agree with some of her politics. And I didn't like her snotty remarks about organizing. But then, she's not the only one who has been making snotty remarks about things, is she?

But I think only the very extreme things about Pentecostals get in the news, so people still think they are exotic. Despite the fact that it is the fastest growing religion in the world!

I'm saying this even though I am a Lutheran. To be fair.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

LOL at Lutheran Diane.

I just read the remarks, and yes they were snotty, IMO. If she doesn't want people to lol at her PTA involvement being mentioned, she'd better not put her nose in the air about organizing...

much2ponder said...

Can I just say, WOW? This has been quite a week in politics indeed! I don't know how I feel about all that has been going on. Time will tell. We will all be a little more attentive as to what is to come in the next couple of months won't we? Thank you for this informative post, not so much about politics, but about looking at what God may be doing in all of this. Pretty Amazing times we live in. I agree!

LoieJ said...

I agree with your points. I've voted for both parties, quite frankly, often for the losing side. I think that Gov. Pawlenty didn't get the job because he is too "Minnesota Nice."

Sometimes the verbal repartee is engaging: when they turn something that the other side has said upside down and make a cute remark about it. But snottiness and snarkyness is unnecessary. I'm dismayed at how many of the Christians interview said that they liked her speech for that reason. My pastor was a community organizer, so she was offended. Maybe these politicians ought to realize that they are offending more than the opposing candidate.

Like you, I've never been in awe or gung ho about a candidate. When I think of how hard it is to just organize a bunch of Bible School teachers and helpers for a week, I can't imagine any one person thinking that they can make that much of a difference by being in the white house.

Of course, I really do want a President who can lead and inspire us to do well and be better people in service to others. I would like to see a president tell the people who have made themselves rich by the work of the little men/women in their companies that now is the time for a voluntary I'm Glad I'm an American tax.

LoieJ said...

BTW, wouldn't it be nice if we had seen the millions in campaign contributions go to help people who are truly hurting?

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Yes. Millions in campaigning....makes me very sad.

Rev Kim said...

Very well said. It's what I was trying to get at in my post, but you said it so much better. Though I mostly liked her speech, I cringed at the community organizer comment too. But as someone commented on my post (I think, or maybe I read it in another post), it goes along with the territory and is all a part of it. Hillary made mighty snarky comments about McCain in her speech - after she said during the primaries that McCain is more experienced and prepared to be president than Obama.

I was wondering what you were going to think about the statements that were being made about Pentecostals.

Thanks again for this.

Bad Alice said...

I'm actually finding it funny that the very people who took shots at Hilary have been forced to swallow their words and do a complete turnabout to support a woman on the ticket.

For facts, I go to, which is nonpartison. They can't cover everything, but they are very thorough in what they do research.

Jules said...

I'm finding myself needing to be much more selective and choosy as to where I even watch or read anymore. Even my beloved NPR gets switched off more often these days.

I wonder how many others find ourselves listening and reading less and less. I also fear that in the long run, if our distaste for the rhetoric sends us away from all media we will become actually less informed and more likely to vote based solely on personal preference, instead of what is good for our nation. What a vicious cycle!

seethroughfaith said...

and if she did???

(grin , sorry I couldn't resist and should no better. Slap on the wrist!)

owl, thank you for writing what you did.

I've been reading Tom Wright's book - New Task for the Renewed Church and it's about how we Christians ought to be getting involved more in politics, more in the way things are decided and what is decided. Much of what Wright writes is not politically correct and I like that -it's so refreshing!

As for us getting involved in politics - Wright is not advocating what Charima magazine has just done. To put it very bluntly, I am appalled that Charisma magazine has come out in support of McCain.

I'm not sure McCain would have chosen Palin if his opponent hadn't been a man of colour ... but I think to focus on that is to miss the main point, - i.e. no matter how historic this election is - it will be only more of the same - we do need a middle ground - that of Jesus - and I'm so glad to read that you don't go to the polls with enthusiasm because to do so, may mean in part, just that! i.e. There is a better way! There has to be. And it's shocking how much money is spent, is wasted, on this election process ...

I don't think the McCain OR Obama (or anyone else for that matter) is the answer really - only Jesus is - and I hate it when Christians play politics yet ignore the real issues that Jesus actually confronted, like the poor among us, and who we think is our neighbour and how we treat them!

end of rant :(

Jeni said...

This has been a really amazing campaign on many levels, hasn't it? The first black, the first woman to campaign for the presidency, the first woman to run on a ticket as the VP! Astonishing, yes it is! Though, truth be told, I do admire both Hilary and Sarah Palin for their intelligence, their overall ability and accomplishments and yes, for their "balls" to be blunt and use the vernacular there, I wouldn't vote for Hilary simply because she's a woman and that was reason enough for some women to support her. And I won't vote for the McCain/Palin ticket simply because there's a woman there either but more because they are both way over-the-top too conservative for my tastes. But the criticism of both these individuals, much based strictly on their sex, has been appalling. So have the nasty, obnoxious e-mails often arriving fast and furiously accusing Obama as being a Muslim, a terrorist, unpatriotic and you name it there too. Not saying some of the comments about McCain haven't had some nastiness to them too -many uncalled for -but I haven't seen the venom in them that has spewed forth towards Clinton, Obama or Palin. My main reasons for not going for McCain/Palin center on the war, economic and pro-life/choice issues and the fear that if in office, they would totally over-run the supreme court with their ideals mainly on the latter of the issues I mentioned. McCain's comments about being involved (possibly) in a war situation for the next 50, even 100 years, really was the final straw for me, with respect to him as a candidate. That would be like keeping DUBYA in office for another term or whatever and that idea is truly appalling to me. And, being unsupportive of the war does NOT make one unsupporting of those sent there under the guise of doing such a dirty job. We should never have been where we are in that part of the world to begin with!
Just my opinion which, in the grand scheme of things, really counts for nothing.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

CH, I fear that same thing. And I always used to listen to NPR, but recently they said something that was outrageous and I knew it--but the announcer/news person had no clue how uninformed they were. And we are all so sick of it, as you say, that we will all become more woefully uninformed than we already are.

B. Alice THANK YOU! I will go there asap!

Lorna, I did not know Charisma did that. I usually just read Grady's column online, but I'll check it out. :-( And you are so right about Jesus being the answer, and ultimately God is still God no matter who sits in the White House.

And Jeni, I think there are many people who would agree with you--but you are right--what an amazing thing it all has been.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

PS Lorna, if she did I would most DEFINITELY NOT want her as VP. It would show a distinct lack of judgement, wisdom, and common sense!


Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

And Kim, I don't think I said it better. I just used more words to do it! LOL!

seethroughfaith said...


as for pro-life/choice issues ... you should read this

Jedi Pastor Ken said...

Great thoughts and ideas being put on the table. I just referred to this in my sermon today, at least in part to the historic nature but that the rhetoric is not all that different.

I did note some of the comments about Palin's snotty remarks. I don't think much of snotty comments from anyone, Palin included. I would only note that Obama's spokesperson, Bill Burton was rather demeaning in characterizing Palin as "former mayor of a town of 9,000." To demean the role of any mayor is snotty. I would hope the tone would change but I'm not putting much stock in it.

As echoed before, the hope of the world is Jesus Christ. Would that we all keep that at the forefront of our thoughts and conversation!

Anonymous said...

Like you,I don't identify completely with either party (although I'm a lot closer to the Democrats on many issues). I also wish we could stick to the issues and get over all the name-calling and personal attacks.

Clix said...

Am I missing something? Palin's the first female REPUBLICAN vice-presidential candidate, correct? Not the first VP candidate overall? I thought that was Ferraro, awhile back (at least for the major political parties).

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Ferraro was the Democratic pic for V.P. when Mondale ran for President. I was thinking (don't know why) of something else related to Ferraro--did I say S.P. was the first female VP...If so, I stand corrected. Mondale did break that barrier, and their campaign did a spike for a bit in the polls, but it did not last. We'll see what happens this time. But I do think that Ferraro was seen as a liability to Mondale, simply because of gender. I am not hearing that now, and I hope I don't. Thanks for pointing out that Palin is not the first, but the second, woman VP candidate.

Anonymous said...

Yep Mondale & Ferraro were first and MN was the only state that as in their favor.

I told Daryl that if I was running for an office, president or otherwise I would refuse to put down the other candidate. If I was asked about their politics I would say, "I'm not here to tell you what their politics are, I'm here to talk about what I'm going to do..."
I'm SO sick and tired of the He did this, and he didn't do this and she blah blah blah.... I want to know what YOU are going to do.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Me too. They keep saying negative ads work. Let's try an election where the candidates are not allowed to bash the other guy but just tell us what they intend, and see what we do. That was one of the things I was mad at George Bush Sr. about when he ran against Clinton. I kept waiting for some clear reason I should vote him in again, and I never got it. It was all Clinton bashing. Bah!