Carla: It’s been less that a week and the tide has already turned for Sarah Palin. She had a few, brief hours of sweet republican lovin’, then–Bam! She shouldn’t have gone back to work so soon after her handicapped son was born. Bam! Her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant and unmarried and what kind of responsible mother lets that happen. Bam! Did McCain and his people look any farther than Palin’s conservative evangelical credentials before choosing this woman from the tundra to fill the role of the second most powerful position in the world?
Caryn and I have both been having all kinds of reactions to the news of Gov. Palin’s potential nomination. Personally, I’ve gone from thinking she was the most brilliant choice McCain could have made to wondering why on earth this poor woman said yes. But for the sake of this blog, I think it’s time two Christian women–supposedly the very demographic Palin is meant to woo–weigh in on her selection and the chatter that’s been floating around in the days since.
Caryn: I am still roaring excited about Sarah Palin. And the more I learn about her, the more I love her (well, except the moose hunting. I’m just not a fan…). But even for those of us who may disagree with her philosophically, I think we moms have tons to be pumped about here.
A Washington Post article today talked about how she’s been known to nurse in meetings (discreetly, for all you squeamish folk) and often has her baby slung around her. This is a new day–and image for moms. Governing with a baby sling? Yes! Having top-secret discussions and making world-changing decisions while nursing? You go, Gov! People say they want “change”? Well, this is it, people. For the better. Up until the 20th century, women worked and thought and decided with babies slung on their backs and suckling on their breasts. ’bout time we got back to that understanding of what we’re capable of.
I’ve heard all the talk of “how can she put her family through this” and that IS a fair question. As is the one wondering if she’s up to the task with her family obligations–but those should be asked of ALL politicians, not just women ones, not just mothers with young children. Being a kid of a pol is never a walk in the park.
So I say, whatever you think of her policies, moms be glad. Defend this woman’s choices here. Things are getting good.
Carla: It’s already starting to drive me nuts that she is discussed in such a different way than a man. The pregnant daughter issue? It’s mommy blame in disguise. If Todd Palin were the presumptive nominee, his daughter’s pregnancy might make the news, but the underlying tone wouldn’t be that he didn’t have his priorities straight (even though every therapist in the world would say that it’s the father’s involvement in a girl’s life that has the biggest impact on her sexual behavior). For that matter, if Todd Palin were the presumptive nominee, everyone would think his wife was a superhero for supporting her husband’s ambition and caring for her family while he sets out to change the world.
But all of that aside, here’s what’s getting stuck in my craw during this discussion. The Christian Right is all for Sarah Palin, and why? Because she is pro-life. These are the same people who have told you and me that we should quit our jobs and take care of our families, that we are selfish for wanting to work outside the home. They are the same people who have built careers laying out a model of the “good” Christian mother that includes being home all day, every day and making endless sacrifices for the sake of our children. But now that they have a candidate who is unquestionably on their side of a single policy issue, all of that is out the window. Now those same prominent voices of family values are conveniently forgetting everything they’ve said to crush the spirit of every other woman who has dared to work outside the home.
We–that is you and I–have spent more than a decade encouraging women to share their gifts in whatever ways God leads. And over and over we have bumped into that message that women need to be home with their children, that raising children is the single most important work a woman will ever do, that to long for or seek after anything else is to devalue the blessing of motherhood. To see those who have pounded us with that message back off of it for political gain is disturbing. They have used the Bible to shame women like us, to push us back into our houses and remind us of our “rightful” place. They have done it for so long that there has been a part of me that almost started to believe them. And yet when the right opportunity came along to turn away from the so-called calling of motherhood, they didn’t hesitate.
Caryn: I thought the same thing when I saw James Dobson praising Sarah Palin on TV last night. I startled my husband with my yell of “Are you kidding me?” when the Focus on the Family founder was saying such nice things about her. (I don’t mean, of course, that I objected to the kind things about her…) But here’s what I’m hoping for: that Dr. Dobson sees that just as God can call moms like Sarah Palin to run for the second hightest office in the land, so can God call moms like you and me to write and edit—and snipe and snip. And other moms to practice medicine, farm fields, make TV shows, mend clothes—whatever.
But it’s also making me laugh what so many liberals are saying. I mean, that’s where I’m hearing so much talk of her needing to be home, get her priorities right. Gotta love the flip flops. Politics as usual is all I can say.
Good thing you and I always have things so right, Miss Carla. Gotta run now. My son needs to use this computer to check on his Webkinz thing. You can see I’ve got my priorities right…..
Carla: Indeed you do. And let me add the last word here–Sarah Palin’s critics can say what they want about her politics and her experience. But that speech last night left no doubt in my mind that this is one mother who is exactly where she belongs.