And I have a total confession to make. I am judging Palin based on her personal life and her commitment to her family.
I should clarify, I've recently found I judge politicians based in two hemispheres the logical and the emotional totally contradicting my own post a few weeks back. Sometimes one outweighs the other. In Bill Clinton’s case the logical outweighed the emotional for me. The logical debate is easy to talk about and make, just read the Republican Party Platform (PDF) and the Democratic Party Platform and you can see the differences. The personal issues are much more delicate and need more explanation and are sometimes scary to talk about for fear that we are being unfair, bigoted or misogynistic.
The Logical half of me agrees with none of Palin’s policies, including her propensity to be against "earmarks." A very large earmark for $250,000.00 is what is keeping my water bill from doubling this year because Barak Obama and Dick Durbin earmarked the money for our tiny town's new sewer plant. It was an incredible feat for a town of 2,000 people to get that kind of windfall, but Durbin knows us and we already pay more for our water that people in AZ do. Our monthly bill is around $80.00 for a family of three. So we here in tiny town LOVE the earmarks. I won't even start to talk about abortion, foreign policy or the environment; we've all been there and know her policies are the same as 50 years of republican platform.
The emotional half of me sees a woman with five children, two of which need special care, a newborn with downs syndrome and a teen that is pregnant. Either of those things would require a lot of attention and dedication from the entire family. I fully understand when people have to work and need to get childcare so that can make their house payment and put food on the table, it's a choice they make to keep everyone afloat, I grew up in a dual income home. But I do not understand a parent ANY PARENT male or female putting their career in front of the well being of their children.
Let me say that when my brother got cancer both of my parents wanted to spend every minute with us children. The jobs they worked at reflected exactly what our family needed and when the travel to the hospital became too exhausting and the situation extreme, like the Obamas have done during campaign season, my parents had the good sense to send me to spend time with my Grandparents.
People make their own priorities and have to recognize their limits. Yes, at first it may seem like a double standard for the Obama’s to send the girls to live with Grandma during campaign season and that’s ok with me, versus Palin and her five kids. However, I think the situation is very different. The Obamas recognize Michelle needs help and they recruited another family member to help. The Palins have an extreme circumstance, they have five children and two with special needs and they keep insisting everything is hunky dory. In the mean time Palin’s driving around with her newborn in her lap and abusing her niece/nephew by making disparaging remarks to the children about their Dad. Even Joe Biden the Bulldog’s initial response was to put off his Senate seat when his children needed him most.
Now, one could argue that Plain’s children have the best care a Governor could pay for and a very capable stay at home Dad, but I stay home with one child and I can't imagine staying home with five and two of them with special needs. I demand the respect, help and support of my spouse and I mean very specific things by help and support, because saying you support someone and sharing your income with them isn't it. I mean, getting up in the middle of the night with the baby, coming straight home from work to be here for dinner and homework, giving me time off from my job to get out of the house, doing a few loads of laundry, playing board games with us all, being in the house when the baby poos in the tub and the dog needs to go out and the phone is ringing all at the same time, all of the wonderful tasks that make us a family and not just roommates who eat the same groceries and screw occasionally.
By no means am I suggesting I am the norm and because I couldn't handle it the Palins can't, but I am saying that I have lived in an extreme situation with a sibling that had special needs and I am a parent and these are the experinces I have to aid in my judgment.
So publicly I may not feel completely comfortable saying I don't think Palin is a good parent because I’m worried that the initial reaction may be calling me a misogynist, but if she had a penis I'm pretty sure I would be saying the same thing. My husband would and has passed on jobs that paid more, with better titles to be here, largely participating in raising his child because that's where our priorities are right now. Yes, he has ambition and goals and so do I. They are something that we have the luxury of putting off until we can and want to spend more time away from the house and family life.
Perhaps this is the inherent difference between me and Palin. To me children are something one plans* and enjoys spending time working at and it seems to me that Palin thinks children are something that happen to you, something God plans for you and something she copes with. This is not putting into question her love for her children; it is directly questioning her judgment and commitment. The way her children are prioritized in her life says something about her character, the same way finding out a politician is having an affair can say something about their character. I can't ignore it and I don't think it's fair for people to ask me too.
So there, I've confessed. I think Sarah Palin’s priorities are not in line with what I expect from a leader. I don’t think she upholds any of the same family values I have and I think she has poor judgment. I also think that if McCain can't see this he also has poor judgement.
*or in the case of an unplanned pregnancy somethng you have the good sense to adjust your plans for,