You know, the selection of Sarah Palin as a potential vice president should sound like a good thing for a feminist like me. But something stinks here, and I don’t think this is doing the women’s movement any good. Truthfully, I think Sarah Palin should have been smart enough to realize that she was not being selected for her brains or her leadership ability. Nope, she’s just a pawn in the big game. She was selected because she fit a bunch of vote-grabbing criteria.
Is she a woman and can she potentially steal some of Hillary’s voters? Check.
Is she young and potentially appealing to the younger voters who might not give McCain a second glance? Check.
Is she attractive and will she make McCain look good in campaign posters? Check.
Does she offer a little “diversity balance” next to McCain? Check.
Does she represent family values to the religious right who chafe at McCain’s stand on abortion? Check.
Will she appease the gun-totin’ NRA crowd? Check.
Does she sufficiently represent a “change agenda” that might sway those on the fringes of Barack’s campaign? Check.
Cringe. If I were her, I think I’d be more insulted than honoured to be selected. But then again, I suspect she’s letting her own ambitions cloud her judgment, because otherwise (and this I say reluctantly, as someone who has always been a “working-away-from-home” mom and supports other women’s rights to make those choices) why would she subject her family to the scrutiny they now have to undergo? Why would someone choose the high-pressure, high intensity, high scrutiny life of federal politics when you have a baby with Downs syndrome and a pregnant seventeen year old daughter who clearly will need lots of love and support (and TIME) in the coming year? (And, just so I don’t sound like I’m slipping from my feminist leanings, I would feel the same way if she were a man making those choices. Pregnant daughters and Downs babies need their fathers around too.)
Honestly, I don’t think the fact that she has a pregnant daughter will make or break her ability to be a good vice president. If she’s a good leader, let that stand on its own. But I do think that making a choice to place that pregnant daughter in a fish bowl for all the world to chew up and spit out when they’re done shows some poor judgment (not to mention questionable “family values”) on her part.
But what do I know? I’m just a Canadian.