In which I take a few minutes to imagine being Sarah Palin and making a historic decision for my country, my party, my state, my family and myself.
I'm tired of hearing the Republican narrative that the Media have dug up dirt on Sarah Palin's family. The Media did not issue a press release saying that Sarah's daughter was pregnant by Levi. The McCain campaign did. The Media did not choose Sarah Palin as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee. The McCain Campaign did. The Media didn't know that Sarah's daughter was pregnant before she was nominated. The McCain Campaign did. To be fair it wouldn't be right for the national media or anyone to go after her daughter if she were to become pregnant after the nominee was chosen. That's not fair. The press isn't always fair and I submit that the McCain campaign knew that the media would go after the daughter's pregnancy and they served her up for their own reasons. Sarah Palin made a choice to put this spotlight on her daughter and the father of her daughter's baby. That's unacceptable. Did she call his family and ask, "Do you mind if I drag your son around by his penis for getting my daughter pregnant?" I'm betting not.
I'm still struck by this. I can't imagine what it must be like to be offered the chance of a lifetime to be the Vice Presidential nominee of my party. That's a pretty rarified group of people who have that experience. I'm trying to imagine that I'm in her shoes.
Swirly, misty, fade in:
I'm sitting in the Governor's Mansion in Anchorage. I've only been governor for a year or so. I've got a brand new baby with health issues and developmental issues. There are probably a lot of people questioning why I'm not home with him. But I have a job and my husband is taking the reins. That works for us. I'm comfortable with that. I've got 4 other kids and one of them is about to leave for a war zone as a soldier. That's scary to all mothers and I'm going to have to put on a brave face because people will be watching me and how I handle this. He's a grown up now and this is his dream and I won't spoil it.
Fade back to me sitting here typing here in Michigan:
Note how I'm giving the best benefit of the doubt I can here, folks, I'm just trying to be fair. These are not my thoughts on these things but I'm assuming these were her thoughts on these things.
Fade to imaginary me as Governor:
There is a hot presidential race coming up and I get mentioned as a possible VP candidate. I'm flattered. Holy Crap imagine that! Sometime the week before the RNC convention I get asked to fill out a quiz to see if I'm qualified to be on the short list of candidates. At this point so other things have happened in my family. My eldest daughter who is only 17 has announced that she is pregnant.
Fade back to me:
I have a 14 year old daughter so I'm not claiming any knowledge of raising 17 year olds, but I do remember being a 17 year old and thinking my mom totally didn't get it.
Fade to Gov. Mansion:
I'm angry with the situation. This is a huge opportunity for me and my state, frankly. I get to stand up and say see it wasn't a fluke that I was elected. You weren't just tired of the status quo you picked someone who could do us proud. On the other hand my daughter is going to get drug through the ringer. I've got some serious parenting issues coming up in the next few months with her, with my son's deployment and with my youngest son's health and developmental issues. But it's the Vice Presidency... It's an offer you can't refuse, right?
Fade back to my laptop:
Here's where she loses me. I can't follow this logic. I could get here with her. I could imagine her making quite an impassioned amazing speech as the up and coming Governor of Alaska at the RNC and being a future force to reckon with. I could imagine saying "this is the hardest thing I've ever had to say no to, but I can't do this to my family right now." I can imagine being pissed off at my daughter and her boyfriend, but I cannot imagine deciding that their lives were worth less than my political career. Let's face it, if she says no and just gives a barn burner, red meat speech she's got the whole world looking at her as possible presidential material in a few years. If she accepts the nomination, she has the press tearing apart her daughter and presumptive son-in-law whether it's fair or not. That daughter is fairly far along in her teen pregnancy which are high risk and there will be hormones galore for the next long while. I'm going to need all sorts of help getting her through this without having her do something to hurt herself further. The other child (he's 18, but he's still somebody's little boy, I suspect) is going to be drug through this and though I'm pissed that he participated in the current predicament, that doesn't mean he needs to have his life drug through the mud.
How dare she stand up there and tell us about being a pit bull hockey mom? I know hockey mom's, they drive kids to 5 am practices and travel ungodly distances for games where they sit in cold rinks with other mom's. How dare she make this claim to motherhood without showing the compassion that a pit bull would show to it's young? A pit bull would protect it's young and so would a hockey mom.
Stepping down from soap box:
Whew, see I'm still worked up. And this doesn't even cross the threshold of what I think about her actual qualifications for the job. This is just about John McCain's decision to offer this to her and her decision to take it. I'm a mom and I've dealt with my own issues on the mom front that are different and yet no less important or gut wrenching as hers. I can sit here as an equal on this one front. And I'm not the only mom talking about this. It's been quite a topic of discussion amongst my friends and family. There isn't much to know about her actual qualifications so this has been the first thing to come up in every discussion. It's a decision she made that crosses all political boundaries. I don't have to agree with the other mom I'm talking to about energy policy or health care, dem or repub, we all feel appalled by her choice to put her daughter through this.
Ok, so she made a bad decision. Now, I could sit here and try to imagine myself in one of the McMansions and try to follow the logic of how you decide that she's going to be fine even though she's light on experience and we're going to have to throw some young kids under the bus. To give him the best possible shake, I'd guess that he didn't really know about that. Maybe he thought that being elected governor of Alaska would have been enough vetting - Jesse Ventura anyone? But I think it's more likely that he didn't think. He was running scared from a DNC convention that looked like one he'd like to have been part of and wasn't. He wanted to capture some youth and enthusiasm. He didn't put his country first.