I've been waiting to write this post until most of the initial madness has cleared. I haven't read most of the blog reactions out there. I watched the conventions, some news, and did my own research, trying to stick to only factual reports and not opinion-based articles (which is hard, because there are obviously a million opinion-based posts out there!). I've tweeted on Twitter, and conversed with friends. My friends know how opinionated I am. They are waiting for me to blog about it. (Hint: if you follow me on Twitter or FB you'd know my immediate thoughts :).
This is not to stir up (my 4 or 5) readers on either side, or allow folks another chance to proclaim their love or hate of Governor Palin. I am a former journalist, a registered Democrat, but in no way an expert on the exact details of Ms. Palin's life or policies. I am a voter, a mom of two small kids, the owner of two small businesses, and this is my post for me, and for my daughter.
I am, and always have been, a feminist. I believe women have a right to the same things as men. Plain and simple. We deserve the same pay, the same respect, the same acknowledgement, the same opportunities. I dressed up as Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 2nd grade for the "dress as your favorite historic figure" day or something like that (favorite hero day maybe?). I grew up with the hardest working mother, who, through her own experiences and dedication to and passion for her work, taught me that being a woman should not limit me in any way, but it also does not afford me any special privileges either. Just do your best job, and if you get over-looked or under-valued for being a woman or being a Filipino-American, then you simply do your job even better than your best.
I am a huge Hillary fan. Not that I voted for her in the primary, but I truly admire what she has done throughout her years of service, what she has stood for, and what she has tried to accomplish. For me, it was nice to see a prominent female politician finally become a serious contender for the Commander in Chief position. It was thrilling to watch her speak, and think that WOMAN could be our next President. A. Woman. President. The words I've been wanting to hear since I was a little girl. Forget dreams of the knight riding in on his white horse to save me; I dreamed of a day when maybe someday I could be president, or my friend Megan, or Emily, or Nikki. I dreamed simply for that possibility.
And here we are. After this election, we will either have the first African-American President or the first female Vice-President of the United States. Mind boggling. The problem with that? For me, it's how to properly explain to my daughter when she is older WHY I did not vote for the ticket with a woman's name on it. Why, after all my talk and work to further promote professional women in this world, why I did not use my power to vote to further promote THIS particular professional woman. And that's when I will have to explain to her that sexism works both ways: I wouldn't want a man to vote for someone just because he's a man, and nobody should vote for this ticket just because it has a woman's name on it.
And that woman is not just any woman. Sarah Palin is not the right woman for the job, and were she a man with the same credentials (or lack thereof), same spotted history, same hypocritical leadership, same disregard for rules that are put in place to protect equality, I would think she were just as unqualified to be second in line for Commander in Chief. As a woman, I am deeply, profoundly, dishearteningly insulted by the GOP's choice of Sarah Palin as their VP on the ticket. If they wanted my vote simply as a female, they should have chosen someone who actually has the credentials, the leadership, the intelligence, the family values that are pro-women. Someone whom we could all point to and say, "Ah! Now THERE'S a woman who will work and fight for the future of womankind!" But they didn't.
As a woman, I don't want someone with the same degree that I hold to be VP of the country; I want someone who is smarter and more educated than I am because her decisions and daily responsibilities are far, far greater than mine will ever be. As a woman, I want my kids to live in a safer world, and that means having someone in the #2 spot who has knowledge of how other countries actually work, because she has been to those countries, talked with their people, witnessed their daily rituals and understands their cultures; I've been to more countries than Palin, and many of my friend's young kids can say the same. As a woman, I want someone in the VP position who puts country first, and believes in this great nation and its constitution; but the GOP chose a woman who has supported succession from the country she now claims she wants to help lead, and whose husband has been one of the greatest supporters of that cause. As a woman, I want someone to help lead the country who will protect our ability to tell the truth, to ask hard questions and to uphold fairness for all; but in Palin, they've chosen a woman who is involved in a scandal that accuses her of an inappropriate firing (and who reportedly has a history of attempting to fire or demote anyone who disagrees with her), a woman who wants to ban books (I could write a whole separate post on my thoughts about that issue alone), and a woman who, when actually asked a simple fact-based question by a reporter, results in the GOP resorting to big bully tactics and refusing to actually answer fact-based questions. What will she do as VP? Only answer questions about issues she is in favor of or about her kids? As a woman, I also want someone who respects all Americans, and their way of life, not someone like Palin who mocks a man who has worked with the poor first hand and not just behind a desk as she has; a man who chose to work with and for the people, instead of the elite, corrupted big government as she has.
For me, as a woman, the choice is clear: by not voting the McCain/Palin ticket, I am voting FOR womankind. I am voting for the kind of future that allows my daughter the opportunity to live her life to the fullest, to have equal opportunities as those who are wealthier and of different color than her, to have control over not just her body but her LIFE should something awful happen to her, to live in a world free of fear from extinction in her lifetime because of our actions against the earth. I am voting for my kids, so that they may live in a safer world, so that they may have leadership that is intelligent, not average; passionate, not reactive; collaborative and fair, not exclusive and elitest.
I am a woman, a mother, and I am voting for Obama/Biden because I believe my daughter's future is safer and and filled with more opportunity in their hands. Now if only the GOP would stop insulting women everywhere by parading about the woman who so obviously is for nobody but herself.
(Also: read this letter from a Wasilla resident, sent to me by the ever fabulous @jenhen)