Several people have asked me how I feel about Sarah Palin. One friend even asked me I would vote for John McCain now that he has picked a female running mate.
Let me make this unequivocally clear.
I will be voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
The choice of Sarah Palin has one upside and one upside only - that no matter what it won't be two white guys. That's good. That's progress. However, Sarah Palin does not represent me or my interests or what I believe is best for this country and I will not be voting for her.
When I first heard that John McCain had picked a female running mate, I admit that I was immediately concerned. I worried that disgruntled Hillary supporters might connect with this decision and feel like John McCain understood their concerns. The more I learn about Sarah Palin the less concerned I am.
First and foremost, I was shocked to learn of the age of her youngest child. I find it massively hypocritical that the party of traditional family values has embraced this woman who is clearly not going to fulfill her traditional role. If she wants to discuss openly that her husband will quite his job and become the primary caregiver then fine, but this narrative I keep hearing that she'll be able to do it all is insulting and it hurts all the progress women have made over the last few decades.
You cannot have it all. Every day I watch dear friends struggle with these issues and I constantly think about the tough decisions Nicholas and I will make when we have children of our own as we pursue careers and raise a family. Our society needs an honest discussion about work and life balance, not to be told that of course you can raise a family of five with time left over for the second most powerful job in the country.
I understand that Sarah Palin is not the first executive with young children. John F. Kennedy, Jr. was only a few months old when the Kennedys entered the White House and Barack Obama has small children of his own. However, at least Barack and Michelle are honest. Michelle Obama has made it clear that this campaign was going to be a huge life-changing sacrifice for her children - one she was hesitant to make. That it meant their dad and mom would not be there as much but that she felt for their future and the future of our country it was a sacrifice worth making.
If Sarah Palin were to honestly admit that she will not be the one their to take her infant son to therapy or doctor's visit, but that she feels that she can make a difference not only for him but for all special need children then maybe I would have a bit more respect for her decision. In fact, I purposely held off writing this post to give her a chance to address these issues in her speech tonight and she did not. She waved her mom flag repeatedly but did not honestly address the real sacrifices she would be making as a mother - primarly time with her own children.
Then, of course, we all learned that in addition to the infant son, her 17-year-old daughter Bristol is five months pregnant. Again, Sarah Palin and the conservative pundits waved this flag as proof of her pro-life credentials then balked if anyone wanted to discuss the issue further - if they wanted to discuss her cutting funding for projects that help teenage mothers or her opposition to sexual education in schools that might keep other kids from the same fate. Actually, policy aside, I want to know what made Sarah Palin decide that this job was worth the public scrutiny her young daughter (not to mention the baby's father) would be under or, even worse, if she was delusional enough to think it might not come out at all. Openly acknowledging that there will be upsides and downsides of public life for your children is one thing. Putting them in the spotlight during the most difficult time in their life is quite another.
I admit that this is pretty personal stuff but to be honest with you I don't know much else about the woman. I know that she has a little under 10 years of public service - most of it as the mayor of a town of 6000. The town where she advocated the banning of books. I know she supported the Bridge to Nowhere and Ted Stevens - the two biggest sympols of corruption and government waste in the last decade. I know she has shockingly little education. I know she's under investigation for abusing her power as governor and I know if I was raped tomorrow by my own father, she would deny me the right to an abortion.
I'm not sure what more I need to know.