Sunday, September 07, 2008

Breaking News: Sarah Palin is a Woman! Gasp!

Since Sen. John McCain chose Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, people have wondered why. What reason could McCain have to chose a veritable unknown (outside of Alaska) for the vice presidency? I must admit that when I saw the news, my reaction was, “Who?” In fact, I’m still asking that. Sure, she made a rousing speech in front of the Republican cheerleaders, but some things she said about herself were false or exaggerated. But let's put that aside for now, because the factual inaccuracies in her speech are beyond the scope of this post.

So, what was McCain’s reason? Well, she’s female, don’t you know? McCain hopes to win the support of more female voters by choosing Palin, specifically Sen. Hillary Clinton’s supporters who were disappointed when she wasn’t chosen as their party’s presidential nominee (or vice presidential nominee, for that matter). I don’t believe that was McCain’s only reason for choosing Palin, but the only person who truly knows is Karl Rove, and he’s not telling.

Yet, I thought to myself, “No self-respecting Democratic woman would fall for that trick!” The only thing Palin shares with female Democrats are the same lady parts. And just because Palin is a “Vagina-American” (see below at about 3:15) doesn’t mean all Vagina-Americans will automatically vote for her.

Those Resmuglicans are smoking something! That was until my conversation with my mother tonight. It went a little something like this:

Me: “So, did you watch McCain’s speech last night?"
Mom: “No, haven’t watched either of the conventions?”
Me: “So, who are you voting for? If you vote for McCain, I’m disowning you.”
Mom (chuckling): “I’m not sure yet.”
Me (astounded): “Are you kidding me? How can you not be sure?”
Mom: “Well, Obama didn’t pick Hillary for vice president. I’m still mad about that.”
Me: “So you’re seriously considering voting for McCain because he picked a woman for VP?”
Mom: “Yes.”
Me: (Faints.)

I didn’t really faint, but I was speechless. For about ten seconds. Before I then gave my mom a 10-minute speech about why Palin is not a woman who is for women. My mother is not an idiot. She reads the newspapers every day and listens to talk radio. She may not be well-versed in politics, but she is not clueless either. So to hear her say this made me wonder, how many other women are having the same thoughts? I’ve read that this was the McCain strategy -- try to win over Democratic women voters who were upset that Clinton lost to Sen. Barack Obama. I just never thought it would work, especially when I read letters sent in to newspapers by women who say, “It is a mistake to believe that the supporters of Hillary Clinton will rally around Sarah Palin.”

But here is my mom saying she doesn’t know who she is going to vote for, and one of the reasons she’s unsure is because McCain picked a women as his running mate. So, for those women out there who, like my mom, are on the fence, let me tell you what I told her.

Palin may be a woman, but many of the things she stands for do not help women. Palin is fiercely pro-life, stating that even in the event her own daughter were raped and became pregnant as a result, she would not want her to have an abortion. That’s right, ladies. If you or any women in your family were sexually assaulted and became pregnant, Sarah Palin wants you to carry your baby to term, because if the actual attack weren’t bad enough, you can be reminded of it again and again for 9 months. I’m not going to argue the merits of her position on abortion, because I’ve learned that it’s futile to do so. Those people who believe life begins at conception cannot be told otherwise, but I’ll just parrot what Sen. Joe Biden said today on Meet The Press: “I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception. But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.” Well said, Senator. It is inappropriate to impose your judgment on the rest of society unless you are ready, willing and able to accept responsibility for the judgment you impose. So, I would ask those Republicans, like Palin, who are pro-life, when a woman gives birth to a baby conceived after a sexual assault, are you going to be ready to adopt him or her, or does your concern for child welfare end the minute after you convince a pregnant woman to keep her baby?

Palin also opposes sexual education and supports abstinence-only programs. We have already seen how well that worked in her own family. How well can that work for other children in the United States? When your sons and daughters reach an age when they are facing sexual pressures at school and among their friends, is it good enough to tell them, “Stay a virgin until you’re married” and expect them to listen? A 2006 study by the Guttmacher Institute stated that 46 percent of 15-19 year olds in the United States have had sex at least once. The study also stated that a “sexually active teen who does not use contraceptives has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within a year.” It is more important to make sure that teens receive sexual education in school, so they are more prepared to deal with sexual pressures, to know that using contraception is important, not only to prevent pregnancy but also sexually transmitted diseases. Abstinence-only programs don’t work as intended. A 2004 publication by Advocates for Youth, which studied abstinence-only programs in 11 states, showed that these programs had “few short-term benefits and no lasting, positive impact.” In addition, the publication stated that “[abstinence-only programs] show some negative impacts on youth's willingness to use contraception, including condoms, to prevent negative sexual health outcomes related to sexual intercourse.” And who ends up on the losing end of a teen pregnancy in most cases? The female. A woman can’t run away from a pregnancy. She either has to make the decision to have an abortion, have the baby and raise him or her or put the baby up for adoption.

And finally, Palin is the vice presidential candidate for a man who doesn’t support equal pay for equal work with regard to women. That was evident when McCain voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in Congress. Good thing he showed up long enough to manage that. According to McCain, women can secure equal pay for equal work very easily:

“They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else. And it’s hard for them to leave their families when they don’t have somebody to take care of them.”

Palin’s position on equal pay for equal work is unknown at this time, as is so much else about her. But according to, a Palin spokeswoman said that Palin “actually opposes the trial lawyers’ effort to overturn the longstanding statute of limitations in America’s courts.” I’m not sure if that spokeswoman didn’t drink her morning coffee or she’s just not good at her job, but Palin might want to have a powwow with her, because opposing the trial lawyers’ effort to overturn the longstanding statute actually means that she stands in line with McCain. As stated, “if we're reading this statement correctly, this means that Palin backed the Supreme Court's 5-4 majority decision that invalidated Lily Ledbetter's equal-pay lawsuit.”

Now, I’ve just listed three issues on which I believe Palin stands on the opposite side of women, but these are three important issues. Women, especially Democratic women voters, need to be mindful of these issues when making their decision to vote for a candidate who stands up for them (Obama) or one whose idea of championing women’s rights is to pick a female as his vice presidential candidate as a way to win votes (McCain). I’ll leave you with these words from Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention:

“Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines. I haven’t spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women’s rights at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.”

Mom, I hope you're listening.


Dr. Fallon said...

Welcome aboard, Tiffany. Glad to have you on our side.

Mom said...

My dear dear daughter
One of things I love about you is your total commitment to things you believe in. May someone someday realize you true potential.
Love, Mom

Mom said...

My dear dear daughter
One of the many things I love about you is your total commitment
to things you believe in. My hope is someday someone realizes your true potential
Love, Mom