I’m Just Not Impressed

Am I supposed to be?

Some thoughts both about, and not about, Sarah Palin and the RNC

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I was watching the RNC last night, alternating between laughing and clutching my head to try to keep my brain from exploding.  It was like 1988 all over again up there.  In a vacuum, what I’d take from day 2 of the Republican National Convention is that the party platform has 5 main planks:

  1. Servin’ the man and bustin’ the unions;
  2. Making sure “Guantanamo terrorists” never get fair trials;
  3. Perpetuating the false association between Iraq and Osama bin Laden;
  4. Slamming “elitism” while protecting the wealthy from taxes;
  5. Pretending that the world outside their bizarre little bubble doesn’t exist.

But, cutting to the chase, Sarah Palin.
On a very basic level – or host of them, really – McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin frightens me and offends me.  Part of me thinks that this is a very sensible reaction for any liberal-leaning American to have at most actions by the GOP.  Another part of me is bugged a bit by my own reaction.

On a gut level, the part of me that desperately wants to see a woman as president in my lifetime, feels especially squeemish and hypocritical. I want a woman in the White House, but not this woman, not this party, not this way. I want to work off of a presumption that Sarah Palin was chosen because she is smart and savvy and brings things to the ticket that McCain and his people feel he needed – executive experience, youth, energy, conservative bona fides. But I can’t help but give in to the sense that she is the Republican Party’s fuck you to the Democrats and to women as a whole – that she is there for her tits and her womb alone. I find myself second guessing her in ways that I don’t think I ever would for a male candidate – whether I’m holding her to a higher standard or a lower one I’m not certain about. I’m afraid that she is being “handled” and that the Republican machine doesn’t truly respect anything about her, but is using her. I suppose that says as much about my opinion of the Republican party as it does about my opinion of Sarah Palin.

As for her background and family, etc., I don’t give two whits about the number of children she has. I don’t really care that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant and planning to marry the father. I think that it’s a great object lesson about how abstinence only education doesn’t work, but I’m not real thrilled with the narrative that Bristol Palin’s life is ruined and the complete erasure in that narrative of any agency she might have. Bristol Palin may really really want this baby. She may really really want to marry her boyfriend at the tender age of 17. And legally, she has every right to do so. I think that Sarah Palin showed, at best, interesting judgement in making the decision to thrust her family into the spotlight at this juncture, but Bristol Palin’s judgement is not at issue. I hope that she is indeed happy with her choices and I wish her well.

Likewise, I am surprised that a mother of five children, one of whom has Down’s Syndrome, would decide to campaign for the vice presidency, but I don’t think any less of her for doing so. I have no idea what Todd Palin’s role is in his family – by most accounts, his job is very flexible, so perhaps he plans to be the primary caregiver.

What I don’t like about Sarah Palin can be summed up with my issues with the Republican party platform generally.  I really don’t see what the Republican party has to offer me, except – this year – a candidate with a uterus.  And I have one of those of my own, thanks. I don’t need another.

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Written by emandink

September 4, 2008 at 6:14 pm

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