Thursday, September 4, 2008

Going Back to The Well or Kicking a Dead Horse?

The last few days have been truly astounding. I was going to drop the whole Sarah Palin Trig Palin birth scandal and wait for the National Enquirer to touch the story the MSM won't. But in tilting at windmills on the internets, or just being an ass, whichever you prefer, I've been dismayed by a few things that I want to talk about.

There was a comment left here and elsewhere that it's silly for me to believe that Palin should be exposed as a liar. Since all politicians lie we've no business pursuing that. Remind Bill Clinton of that one, would you?

Here's hopefully the last I'm going to post on this matter: Alaskans have been bandying this baby parentage story around since Trig was born in April. In all that time, the Palins never swatted the "silly rumor" down with a doctor's affidavit, a birth certificate, or even a simple hospital photo. Her name has been tossed about for veep since January. This is a simple little duck that could have been placed in its row in a half a second.

Tell you what. If someone questioned where Ima came from (actually, someone once asked me if I adopted her from Central America) I'd waste no time showing them this:

Flattering, I know.

It is a legitimate question to ask "Well, why should they have to produce those things? Isn't that an invasion of privacy?" And my answer is yes. If she didn't make the birth story a cornerstone of her qualifications to be president of the United States of America. And second, a charming loving family values photo is a whole lot nicer than a statement that your daughter couldn't have given birth to child #5 because she's working on grandchild #1. That is an inconceivable invasion of privacy, as BlueGal continues to point out, that was perpetrated by the mother.

And it is the only thing they have produced to rebut the rumor.

When they announced Sarah Palin's nomination, they should have said right away who they considered to be members of her family, and what their family story was as well. Levi got left out of the bio until he was expedient to them. That's sleazy. Apparently, according to my critics, so is pointing it out.

Now back to the issue of Sarah Palin being a liar. Of course it has been confirmed in a myriad of ways that she has lied about lots of things. You know, George W. Bush told a lie so big that more than half a million people lie six feet under for it. And in reply, the American public says "who's on American Idol tonight?" But if someone continues to explore these allegations that she is not Trig's mother and they are found to be true, she is not just a liar but a nutjob. These are things Karl Rove understands and exploits. Al Gore did not say he invented the internet, yet 90% of Americans believe he did, and they believe that if he said them then he's a little touched in the head. What Karl Rove did was lie about Al Gore. What I would like us to do is to search for the truth about Sarah Palin. Therein lies the difference between us and them. Is it distasteful? Extremely.

So are the photos of Katrina and the hundreds of thousands of people in the Gulf who were left without a government to help them because John Kerry wouldn't fight as hard as Karl Rove did four years ago. As I have said elsewhere: The high road is a road to nowhere. Your Eckhart Tolle books and your Randy Pausch books are meaningless until the people who hold power in this country are on our side. Until then it's Sun Tzu and The Prince.

Over at Shakesville I butted in on a thread where the poster said that this idea that Sarah should be home with her special needs son is just so much 1950's throwback bullshit. I left a comment saying that once you decide to have children, they should be your first priority. Sarah Palin said in an interview in January (supposedly six months pregnant) that she routinely works until 9 or 10 at night. If you believe her story, she was doing this while her teenage daughter was home sick with such an infectious and debilitating case of mono that she had to be kept out of school for five months. (How long was Levi out sick with mono? I am going to assume that he exposed himself to that disease whilst impregnating Bristol). What the other children were doing, who knows? Todd Palin's job involves him being gone from the home for two weeks of every month, so it's not like dad, equally responsible for their welfare, was home raising children. I said that for me, I chose to be a stay home mom because I chose to have my children and nothing, nothing that I have ever done is more important than that. Todd and Sarah Palin's priorities seem to be Todd and Sarah Palin.

I was immediately called self-righteous.

Apparently, it is okay to be proud of yourself in a profession, but shut your damn mouth if your career choice is not to have one, lest you make others feel bad. You know, I don't hold it against my doctor that she chose to go to medical school and I'm hoping that she worked then and now to be the best damned doctor she could be. I reject the idea that you can't be critical of another woman's parenting skills if you are a mother yourself. Judge lest ye be judged, I guess. My kids are too young for me to say how they are going to turn out. They may wind up in a boatload of trouble when they get older and the theory is that I wouldn't want people to claim that I'm a crappy mom because Lotta can't put down the pipe. That's true. But I'm not trying to run the most powerful nation on earth (well, not counting China) based on the idea that I'm great at what I do. I like to think of it as 'peer review'. Lady, if you don't ask for my opinion or my praise, I won't give it. I won't even think about it. But if you do, best be prepared for what you get.

Two parent and single parent working families can raise fantastic children, but only if the children are a priority. Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton are the democrats shining examples of that.

When I mentioned that in reply over at Shakesville, a commenter said that Joe could be a great dad because he had lots of resources many other people don't. Well, duh. He was also a senator who could have chosen to let the nanny do it. Choices - do you see the recurring theme?

Sarah Palin is for forced childbirth. And she is anti-contraception. Anti-choice. How many resources will be available to people who are forced to have children? And who are forced to work at the same time. But who can't get childcare. Who are denied the right to make their own choice. The fundamentalist Palin-ite republicans love love love to rail on the idea of welfare queens and people expecting handouts from the government for the children they just pop out willy nilly, yet do not see that it is irresponsible to bring children into this world when the parents are improperly prepared to care for them. That is true if the parents are seventeen years old or are 44.

In other news, today is a happy one for me and my anti-career choice. Ima is spending her first day in kindergarten as I post this. I hesitate to say that I sacrificed for her and her sister by staying home. In some ways that is true. But everyone who raises children responsibly sacrifices for them. Everyone who chooses a career makes a sacrifice. Anyway, I did the best I could. And I am proud of myself and of her. My next step is to work at a part time job with flexible hours, and to start a business that will allow me to be at home next summer when school lets out.

And because I have that choice, I think that still gives me my feminist cred. Even if others would disagree.


Anonymous said...

I love Melissa McEwan, but I am less fond of some of the other contributors to Shakesville; the commenters often make me feel unwelcome to respond to Zuzu no matter how off base I think she is.

thailandchani said...

I don't disagree. Personally, I do believe that when women choose to have children that they must be willing to make a commitment to raise them. That's not 50s throwback stuff - but a simple reality. If you look at the statistics over the past 40 years or so, you'll see the reason is obvious. Children need attention. They're not trophies or appliances. They're real human beings who need to be raised by a human being who is present and accounted for, not pursuing outside ambitions.


dguzman said...

You are one brilliant woman, Jess. Your wee ones are lucky to have you.

Your paragraph about being anti-choice and anti-welfare is dead on. Repugs just don't get it.

dguzman said...

And BTW, I STILL think you're smokin' hawt, even post-childbirth!

Claire said...

I'm right with you on the "to hell with the high road" approach. Politics is a dirty business, baby. Sarah Palin wasn't afraid to stand up on national television and lie her head off, and she, not we, made the decision to make her family life an issue. And also, thanks Governor Palin for the whole "back to work in three days" thing. Maybe some people can say that the parenting aspect of that decision is none of my business, but the public policy aspect certainly is. When the highest official in the state makes a point of returning to work three days after childbirth and boasting about it, she's telling every other working mother "hey, why do you need maternity leave? I have the most demanding job in the state, and all I needed was a long weekend". I will bet money that if (God forbid) she's elected, some wingnut in Congress will hold her up as the shining example when he introduces legislation to end FMLA. OK, sorry to hijack your comments.

Splotchy said...

A great post, Jess.

Karen Zipdrive said...

Jess, first of all, what an adorable baby.
Second of all, the right-wing WANTS US TO BE NICE and STOP GOSSIPING.
Even though there is a lot of truth being told, the Karl Rovian GOP labels it all as lies and gossip, calls us sexist, retro and anything else they can think of.
Fuck them and fuck those who admonish us to play nice. If people want to play nice, then they should start by minding their own business and cutting out the lecturing and finger wagging.
This is a war between stale GOP politics putting party before country and people who want to take back the government and return to serving the people.
The stakes are too high to be bothered with all these Little Lord Fontleroys and Emily Posts out there who presume to have a right to preach to us.
Bush calls us "angry liberals." The idiot finally got something correct.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Why do you hate motherhood?

Billie Greenwood said...

You absolutely have feminist cred. This is an excellent post. I have to wonder how Sarah's decisions to routinely work until 9-10 PM nightly may have meant her children were cheated of some necessary assets that good parenting provides, thus contributing to that unwanted pregnancy.

Comrade Kevin said...

When you start throwing in the "good parent versus bad parent" argument, the result is a little dicey.

I've said all I'm going to say about Palin until I see some more detail I haven't already run across.

Mauigirl said...

Well said, Jess. While I think women can raise kids and have a career, it sounds as if Palin carries the career part to the extreme if she worked till 10 every night and went back to work in 3 days after having a baby. And tying that in to the effect she would have on public policy if these are her priorities, is the whole key point. No need to criticize her choices per se, but if she is going to have a say over our bodies, our lives, then her choices are worrisome.

Fran said...

I got teary seeing these photos. Really moving Jess.

This is a great post.

You have said really important things here. This whole thing is a big clusterfuck.

Palin, like many others wants to play both bully and victim, a tool of the right.

Thanks for your honesty and your wisdom - here today and always.

Anonymous said...

I love this post. So much to address. First - I am with you on the tactics. The simple fact is that Palin can put this thing to rest quite easily. She's already had her pregnant teen and the guy who impregnated the teen on state in front of American. How could producing some simple documentation be any more embarrassing for the family.

Sarah Palin is a proven liar. Why should we assume this outlandish birth story is true?

You know me and my views on parenting. Benign neglect all the way. It's forever been a juggling act that works for us, but it does take sacrifice and I signed up for it and will continue until - well - forever. I've never defined myself by my profession nor my role as a mother. They are elements of who I am, but they are not all that I am. How I wish I'd had the choice to not work so I applaud your ability and desire to do so.

Lastly, Gov. Palin wants to be our Vice President. We would be idiots to not require her to fill out the appropriate application for the job. And that application is the vetting process done by the media. The McCain campaign missed their chance. Now the media's charge is to do the work.

Keep up the good work, Jess.

Dr. Zaius said...

Ha! Clearly those pictures have been photoshopped.