Friday, September 05, 2008
Does Sarah Palin Juggle Snakes?
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.