Monday, September 1, 2008

What Would Audre Lorde do?

Of all the things I'm qualified for, political blogging is not one of them. That being said, I'm going to try to tackle my thoughts on this mess so that my brain stops spinning and I can go to bed.

There’s an old feminist saying, the personal is the political. As a self-declared feminist breaking the glass ceiling, I imagine that Sarah Palin is familiar with this phrase. She all but ensured that her personal life was up for grabs when she told us more about her husband’s snowmobiling awards than she did about her two years of experience as the governor of a sparsely populated tundra. In her defense, she didn’t have much to go on without her family. She was picked on some level (perhaps a very high level) because she was a mom and wife in addition to a conservative leader. To ignore her family would have certainly been political suicide. I just don’t know what that makes her current situation.

All day, bloggers and pundits have delicately walked the line between fact and analysis, while knowing that every question would be critiqued. You cannot question her family values for not staying at home with her disabled child because you would never ask a male candidate to do the same. In fact, you cannot question her parenting at all unless you do it without bringing her kids into play. As we all know, children of candidates are off limits.

Fine. I can respect both of those media "truths" despite their obvious logistical faults. I will try to accept the flawed system that allows candidates to run on family values until the families themselves are, um, flawed. My main question, while it involves her parenting, has more to do with her overall judgment and lack of political savviness. I ask, what kind of parent (not just mother) could ever be so blinded with ambition that they would throw their seventeen year old daughter to the lions in order to move up the political ladder? Palin can claim to be many things, but she cannot claim to be ignorant of the media's ever-relaxing standards. To not think about how her daughter would be affected by this announcement shows an utter failure in judgment.

The candidates and their staffs can push for a ceasefire on this all they want. The talking heads can be threatened within an inch of their lives to stay on point with the issues. That won’t stop the blogging world, which has no regulating body. It won’t stop curious citizens from googling and spreading rumors that are void of facts. It won’t stop the tabloids from sending vulture-esque journalists into the tiny main streets of Wasilla, Alaska. Like it or not, this is news. Palin and McCain can demand respect and privacy until their voices are hoarse, but this is not going away.

So there it is. You have a young girl thrust into the spotlight who deserves more privacy than she will ever be granted. I feel terribly for her, but know that she has one person to thank for being put into that impossible situation. I say this mostly because I remember being a seventeen year old girl. In my journal that year, I wrote a painstaking account of getting my heart broken for the first time, of the everyday trials of dance team, and about an ongoing fight with a group of catty girls. All of these things made this year agonizing enough. To be going through an unwanted pregnancy, expectations of marriage, and then an international announcement of both, would intensely mess up any girl that age. In all of my experiences, which obviously pale in comparison, I turned to my mother. So then. Who do you turn to, who can you trust, when your own mother is at the helm of the ship that allowed you to become collateral damage?


Petra07 said...

I fully agree. Now we are experiencing a moment right out of "Alice in Wonderland." Today, McCain got off a plane, greeted teh Palin family, then shook hands with and patted on the back the 18-year old young man who had illegal sex with an underage girl and got her pregnant! All that was missing was a hearty, "Well done, Lad!" Have they lost their minds? No, the young couple should not be pilloried, but neither should this be glorified. Is this the Republican "Family Values" Party? They have now forfeited the right to ever use that term again! Will the convention cheer the young man tonight, too? This is insane, and political fever has caused the whole bunch of them to lose all perspective.

Teresa said...

Another reason we need Barack Obama:

His response to this situation is not attempting to use it to his advantage. His response is to say, "My mother had ME at 18."

Molly said...

gina i miss you and would love to partake in that bottle of fake bailey's sometime this semester!

in all of the election craziness, watch this video to laugh: