Friday, September 5, 2008

"Sarah Palin CAN Have It All"

As a lifetime feminist, one who has marched and run for Equal Rights, who is Pro-Choice, who has escorted women through Operation Rescue protesters at Planned Parenthood, and counteracted demonstrations by Operation Rescue, I have to tell you, I cannot believe the vitriol coming out from the Left Wing regarding Sarah Palin, on a number of levels, but choice is one of the main ones today. This morning, I was greeted with the news that NARAL and Emily's List are beginning a $30 million campaign against her and John McCain. I used to be a member of both of those organizations until they chose the worst candidate on women's issues instead of the best. Am I glad I did - it just saves me the trouble of doing it now. Along those lines, had the DNC actually allowed the People to speak, I seriously doubt the Republicans would have even nominated Sarah Palin to be Vice President, but the DNC didn't, and the RNC did.

That being said, here's the thing. Being pro-choice means RESPECTING people's choices, even if we do not agree with them. It means I want abortions "to be safe, legal, and rare," as Hillary Clinton always said. It means that should a woman NOT chose an abortion, that is her CHOICE. It does not mean that all unwanted/unplanned pregnancies MUST end in abortion, which is what some folks are making it sound like now. The fact of the matter is, Governor Palin DOES support birth control in an effort to lessen the number of unplanned/unwanted pregnancies. That seems like a pretty good idea to me, but apparently isn't enough for NARAL and Emily's List. I might add, if Roe v. Wade made it through EIGHT YEARS of George W. Bush and his allegiance to the Far Right Wing, I seriously, seriously doubt it is going anywhere now. It is a manipulative tool by the DNC to try and keep us in line. I, for one, do not like for people to try and manipulate me. It pisses me off.

Then there is the whole thing about her 17 yr old daughter being pregnant. For crying out loud, this happens. It happens in good, religious families all the time. Heck, it happened in MY family! One of my nieces got pregnant before she graduated from high school, and even though her parents are divorced, BOTH sets of remarried parents are very religious, Evangelical type people. She went to church twice a week (whether she need to or not, as the saying goes). Didn't stop HER from having sex. I'm pretty sure her exceedingly conservative church preached about these kinds of things. Sometimes, young people make bad decisions. Sometimes, there are consequences to those decisions. I mean, really - why else are there Crittendon homes if young women didn't get pregnant? Teenagers don't always think straight, and do things that are the opposite of what they have been taught. And that is where Bristol Palin finds herself. Just because one is in politics doesn't make one immune from having teenagers do things with which the parents are unhappy. Kinda like how preachers' kids are notoriously troublesome. Kids act out.

So, these are issues being touted by the DNC and its supporters. Sarah Palin is rabidly anti-choice, will singlehandledly end Roe v Wade, even though she is in Feminists for Life and supports birth control, and doesn't have, or WON'T have, that kind of power if she become VP. Apparently, these people don't understand how laws are made, or unmade. (Sounds like a civic review is in order!) I guess there is only one acceptable way to view "choice," and it is their way, or the path to hell way. And her daughter is * GASP * pregnant. What is the world coming to, I ask you?! Sheesh.

To further show how incredibly clueless the DNC and its surrogates are, the day after Sarah Palin's speech, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, characterized her speech as "shrill and sarcastic." Ah, yes, "shrill." It's meaning, of course, is a "high-pitched and piercing tone". It's a buzzword, though, a sexist one, that is, to describe when a woman talks. It was used to describe Hillary Clinton constantly throughout the primary season. And now it is being used by the top Democrat, against the GOP VP running mate. Oh, and "sarcastic." Goddess knows, we women folk are NOT supposed to be sarcastic. That might hurt the men-folk's feelings, like it did Obama. Oh, no - we are supposed to be sweetness and light, quiet and demure, and just go home and shut up about all of the sexism already. That's what they expected Hillary to do. And that's what they expect us to do. They can bite me (that is a pastoral phrase, by the way). Nice job, there, Harry - as if we didn't already know you were a sexist, misogynistic pig. No amount of apologies will put those words back in your mouth. Clearly, this is what, and HOW, you think. Like we didn't already know that from the way you treat Hillary, but still. Thanks for reminding us.

But here's the thing that has been bugging the complete and utter shit out of me: Democrats and Progressives suggesting Sarah Palin's family would be better served if she just stayed home with the chil'un. I have to say, that just makes my blood boil. I have worked too hard, for too long, for the DEMOCRATS, of all people, to try and turn back the clock to the June Cleaver days. What the hell is the MATTER with them?!?! There is nothing wrong if a woman, or man, CHOOSES to stay home with the kids. It is hard work, to be sure. But to say that a woman who has a career outside of the home should give it up, for alleged PROGRESSIVES to be saying this crap, is obscene. Plenty of women work outside the home AND have small children. And here's a little newsflash - men do it, too. All the time. I don't hear any of these people saying Todd Palin should stay home. Or OBAMA should stay home, just because they have small children. This is taking us back decades. DECADES. You know, people were worried that all the race-baiting done by the Obama camp was going to inflame the race wars, thus taking us back more. I think they have. But no one seemed too concerned about the EQUALITY wars, and we have DEFINITELY gone far, far back in that regard. I still cannot get over that it is the DEMOCRATS pushing this, though. That Rudy Guilliani, or all people, is expressing OUTRAGE that Sarah Palin is being questioned about her fitness as a MOTHER because she is the governor of Alaska, and the VP choice. He said, "No one asks a man this question!" See? See what this election has done? It has made a far-left (former) Democrat quote RUDY GUILIANI!!! Ahem. But questioned she is - by members of OBAMA'S campaign. Again, this is the one NARAL and Emily's List, along with Planned Parenthood, have endorsed. Way to go, women, you endorsed the candidate who is setting us back DECADES. Talk about your internalized misogyny...

There is an excellent piece in the Christian Science Monitor, brought to my attention by alert NQ reader MamaTx, entitled, "Sarah Palin Can Have It All: I should know. I'm a writer and the mother of 12," by Barbara Curtis, "Monitor Opinion Editor Josh Burek talks with Barbara Curtis about Sarah Palin and working mothers." It is an excellent article. Barbara Curtis sums up the issues beautifully, so I will close with the full text of her fine piece:
Bluemont, Va. - The five children. The newborn diagnosed with Down syndrome. The pregnant daughter. Sarah Palin's life – chock full of challenge – confronts her opposition with some formidable challenges of its own. After decades of pushing equal rights and treatment for women, the Left is backtracking.

Suddenly motherhood – well, at least too much motherhood or too-complicated motherhood – is incompatible with executive responsibility. Fathers with little children or complex family issues – even some who cheated on their wives – have held office without having to justify their continuing careers. Yet women once again face a very different standard.

Who knew that beyond the glass ceiling feminists vowed to shatter there existed another barrier, imposed by feminists themselves? What happened to choice? To having it all? Have we had a paradigm shift since Aug. 29? What's to stop Governor Palin from doing it all?

This debate matters a lot to me. I have 12 children, including four diagnosed with Down syndrome. Three were adopted. I'm a professional writer. And yes, some people wonder how I do it all, or if I'm doing any of it as well as I should.

The skepticism about Palin's ability to juggle responsibilities has been punctuated with below-the-belt punches. My heart goes out to her and to every mom who soldiers on in the face of such flak. Sisterhood can be powerful, but only when we celebrate one another's accomplishments and growth – in all our diversity.

The hardworking mother rolling up her sleeves to tackle a "man's job" is a staple throughout American history and folklore. Think Rosie the Riveter. Think "Places in the Heart," featuring Sally Field as a Depression-era widow succeeding against all odds. These tales of women transformed through their work – even as they transformed the culture – resonate with me. As a second-wave feminist, I recall how we turned the medical establishment on its head over childbirth.

In 1969 it was barbaric: flat on your back, bright lights and stirrups, no husband allowed. My first, Samantha Sunshine, was whisked off to the nursery, and I was forced to stay in bed without her. Just standard procedure.

When Jasmine Moondance was born at home in 1975, I was up in 20 minutes – an older and wiser counterculture mom hip to the global portrait of motherhood as part of the fabric of life, including rice-paddy moms who simply pushed out their babies, wrapped them up, and went back to work. This kind of "Sisterhood is Powerful" approach had put women in control of their birthing experience.

And our mothering experience as well. At first it was an either/or choice: stay-at-home motherhood – discredited by Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique" and Ms. magazine – or "real work" alongside men. But as time went on and women seemed disinclined to give up their biological imperative, word came down that we could have it all – work and motherhood – and outclass men at the same time.

Think "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan" from the 1970s (and now clearly retro) Enjoli perfume commercial. Perhaps that's not what we mean today by having it all, but it's the confident spirit that rings a bell almost 40 years later.

That confidence took us places we never dreamed. In 2001, Jane Swift of Massachusetts became the first governor to give birth in office – to twins. Her maternity leave included a governor's council teleconference from her hospital bed. And while Ms. Swift was rebuked for using aides to babysit her daughter, Palin's record of eschewing the trappings of power – selling the governor's jet on eBay, for example – suggests she wouldn't make such mistakes. So what to make of the fire and brimstone raining down on Palin?

Is it because her choices aren't the ones feminists anticipated? Or was it ever really about choice at all? Just because Palin's choices skew away from abortion and toward the affirmation of life – even in difficult circumstances – does that mean they shouldn't be accorded the same dignity as those more in line with today's feminist party line?

"How do you do it all?" people ask me. All I can say is that my capacity has grown with each child. I've learned to assess situations quickly, gather information and advice, negotiate, delegate, communicate clearly, and work under great pressure and with little sleep. Put simply, motherhood is its own executive office. That's why it's a proving ground for political leadership.

"The personal is the political" was a feminist mantra I still believe. Which leads me to a qualification for office that sets Palin apart from her peers: Consistency.

You see, motherhood under pressure has a way of helping women become greater than they started out to be. And the fact that Palin has a baby with Down syndrome only makes me trust her more. Here's a woman who chooses sacrifice and challenge over expediency and convenience.

I've seen those pictures of Palin nursing her baby as she signs a bill into law and as she pushes a grocery cart. Moms understand that those photos might well have been taken just a few hours apart. That's the kind of life we lead.

Can she do it all? Trust me, there are lots of moms out here who know she can.

• Barbara Curtis, is the author of nine books and blogs at www.MommyLife.net .

7 comments:

Diamond Tiger said...

Rev,
You summed it up in one word...
"Obscene". This whole primary season and now into the general is that one word and I AM SICK OF IT! I am sick to death of the Democratic Party taking Rovian tactics to a length and a degree that is probably making Karl sick to his stomach. Bambi and company better be careful - this situation is reach critical mass and will quickly become a firestorm that is going to burn them.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Oh, I hear you, DT - I just got the Gloria Steinem piece against Palin from my oldest brother. I feel like these people are trying to shame me into supporting Obama, and it ain't gonna work. I'm sick to death of it, too...

Mike J. said...

Great post, Reverend Amy, as always. I just wanted to add that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid happens to be pro-life himself, much like Sarah Palin is. Yet that does not appear to disqualify him from holding that very powerful post within the (supposedly) pro-choice Democratic Party.

But, of course, if you support Palin you are worse than Hitler...

Suzy said...

Good point Mike - many of our Dem representatives and senators are pro-life, and have to be to win in their areas. No massive Obamabot effort to crucify them ... yet.

Mike J. said...

Here's the thing: there will not be a massive Obamabot movement to go after these pro-life Democrats. I used to live in the GA 10th District, where John Barrow (D) is the Representative. Barrow is anti-abortion, pro-war, votes with Bush on pretty much everything. But he has Obama's endorsement and support.

I would not put much faith in Obama when it comes to reproductive freedom issues. I don't think he cares about them, I think he would gladly trade them away. It's a useful cudgel to use in the campaign against the GOP, but the recent ads Obama has been running curiously fail to mention what Obama will do when it comes to abortion. All they say is that McCain will outlaw it, so we must vote for Obama. While this *implies* that Obama supports abortion, it looks suspiciously like an effort to maintain freedom of action. That way if Obama flips (like he did on everything else--FISA, Iraq, offshore drilling, you name it), he'll say that was always his "nuanced" position, you just haven't been paying attention. In other words, his standard answer.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Great points, Mike J. and Suzy. And you are absolutely right - Obama will not do anything for women unless it will help HIM in some way. And if it will help him to go in the opposite direction, well you know the answer to that. We've seen how staunch he is in his positions. Hahahaha!!!

Mike J., you hit the nail on the head. There are PLENTY of Dems who are anti-choice, but who aren't demonized all the time. I have heard absolutely NOTHING about Harry Reid being anti-choice from all of these same people now attacking Gov. Palin. He has no qualms attacking HER, as do other Dems. Sheesh.

What a bunch of hypocrites. Seriously. It just makes me ill. I cannot believe Dems are now the ones acting so much like the thugs we so detested for the past 8 yrs. Wow.

Thanks for the compliment, Mike J. Glad to have you come by!

Andrew Suarez said...

1. McCain likely will have the opportunity to appoint conservative judges, so abortion rights are at stake in that manner.

2. "Shrill" is just a negative word, it can be used by a sexist for those aims but not necessarily, I could certainly criticize Edwards as being "heated" because that's what he was, a lot of politicians get into a steamed or arrogant tone as well.

3. I believe that Palin did support abstinence-only education, McCain also did. Given that Palin now admits that her daughter will have to grow up too fast, there's naturally some frustration that she used to want, and may still want, there to not have all the information presented in schools.

4. There is some truth that campaigning involves some deprivation (Barack is open that he spends too much time traveling, away from his daughters), but its ridiculous to disqualify a candidate for that since others can assist. There's naturally more interest when there's something unusual in a situation (when a child is as young as Palin's youngest, when a wife has cancer as with Edwards). Still, the issues are what (should) matter.