Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sarah Palin and the Mixed-up World

I don't usually rave about myself, but I'm going to share a few things with you.  I think that even my readers who might say that they know me well will learn a few things in the next paragraph, because I really don't discuss these details.  You'll see why I do this by the end, I promise.

I got a 4.0 in high school.  I graduated early.  I scored a perfect 36 on the science section of the ACT.  I went to a "highly selective" university on a full-ride, academic scholarship.  I didn't even apply anywhere else, because I was confident.  I graduated with a BS in physics and a minor in math.  My school had the second largest physics program in the country.  There was only one other girl in my graduating class in that major.  It was HARD, but I had to maintain a 3.75 to keep my scholarship.

I consider myself highly employable.  I would be an asset to the market.  I am a greater asset to my family.  I choose to stay home with them.   I have always wanted this to be my "career," even as I chose arguably the hardest major at my school.  I think it is the right thing for mothers to do, whenever possible.

But if any of you out there prevented me from professional employment, or closed any door of opportunity to me because I am a woman or a mother, you would endure the wrath of Elke.

There are laws protecting women from this kind of thing.  Correct laws.  Employers are not allowed to ask you about your family, children, etc.  They are not permitted to discriminate based on your sex or how many kids you have.  I think that until a week or two ago, most of America would have been aghast to think that anyone would disagree with this law.

But now, all registered voters have the opportunity to evaluate a woman with five children for an important job.  I am appalled at the blog posts (see here) I have read (and the number of comments supporting the idea) that a woman choosing this job, when she has a family to care for, is not the kind of person we want in Washington, D.C.  This shows that many people believe women should NOT have every opportunity before them, that doors should be closed in their faces based on their gender and children.  Why do these voters spend years professing correct principles that they will not live by in practice?  Why are so many no longer aghast?

Sarah Palin wears her own shoes.  I do not pretend to understand her family or situation.  She should not have to justify to us how she plans on nurturing her children while employed in our service.  That is HER business.  She has a husband, family, friends; she'll work it out.  Just like we all do when we have other, important things to do.  It's not our concern.

Our concern should be whether we agree with her politics, experience, policies, etc.  If you don't, and if you like the other guy's better, don't vote for her.  But I am going to boldly say:

To vote against her because she is a woman and has children is wrong.  WRONG.

I choose to stay home.  But I will fight you to the end if you try to take that CHOICE away from me; if you try to confine me there.  I believe that I could do ANYTHING.  Women can!  Knowing what I am giving up helps me to see the value that I ascribe to my children and to love them even more.  If you would prevent Sarah Palin from being vice president because she is a mother, then you are imposing limitations on women.  And I won't accept limitations.

18 comments:

Leslierush said...

VERY well said Elke...Lee and I were actually discussing this today and I totally agree with you.

Elise said...

Unlike employers, I believe that voters have the right to discriminate based on visceral instinct. And I'm glad we do. Part of the reason I love Sarah Palin so much is for the very reason some people don't: she IS a mother. She represents my demographic. I get her. And isn't that just as sexist?

As voters, we make "illegal" discriminations all the time. And I want to keep it that way. I want it to be within my rights to avoid voting for an athiest, for example, solely because I don't like his or her lack of religion.

There are some women who will not vote McCain/Palin this election because they feel it their duty to protect Palin from violating (as they see it) the standards laid out in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." I don't like it. But. It is their voting rights to do so, and it is a right I believe we should defend.

The Rushtons said...

Do I need to put disclaimers on my posts? Down, girl.

I thought the arguments were extremely interesting... I couldn't believe how differently women with such similar values and beliefs could have such contradicting political views.

I still haven't made up my mind on the whole thing.

Elke Rushton said...

OK, Elise, I like it.

I don't think that all laws are ethical, so as I voter, I too appreciate the right to discriminate as I see fit. The explanation of the employment law was intended as an example, not the ultimate rule. The ultimate would be the true principle on which the law was based. I think I also "discriminate" against atheists, etc., but not against a race or a sex, as those are inherent and irrevocable.

My point is that discrimination against mothers is not only illegal (in hiring), but rightly so. I think that most people believe in its founding principle. And it is that rightness that expands it morally into the voting arena. I am grateful to the suffragists and the early feminists for paving a wide open path for me and my daughters. Let's keep it open. Let's live the principle fought for. Let's not make an exception in the case of a VP.

Elke Rushton said...

If you believe that Sarah Palin should not be supported in this election because she is a mother, let me ask you this: Do you buy products at stores from mothers? Do you have a banker who is a mother? Do you patron in any way establishments where mothers who may not need to be working, are working?

Answer: Of course you do! Why? Because to work is THEIR decision. They figure out their lives between themselves, their husbands, their kids, and God. I should have NO SAY in their decision. The opportunity should be before them. It is not my place to judge or prevent that decision, especially as I do not know their unique situation.

Even given this, it is your right whether or not to patronize such establishments. Just be consistent. If you don't want Palin because she is a mom and should be home, stop buying products from any establishment who hires mothers.

This is fun.

The Sorenson Family said...

Wow, I have been following the constant media dialogue around Palin's lack of experience/ extreme right wing policies/ agenda for oil drilling etc, but this is the first time I have heard that there are people out there who have decided not to vote for her in order to 'protect' her family from growing up without an involved stay-at-home mother! That is almost laughable that someone would be that presumptuous. I like what Elise said, that we have the right to vote in any way we wish, despite the possibility that many may have discriminatory motives, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't be irate to find that this idea of not voting for someone solely based on the fact that she is a mother ever became a popular one! I IS important for children to grow up in a stable, loving family, but how one family chooses to do this as opposed to the choices of another family should not concern any one but themselves. Let's judge our candidates by their ability to lead, not whether or not we think they are making the best life choices. It's certainly not our job to raise her children for her.
Well written, Elke:)

Hendricks Family said...

Thank you for your comments I found you on the exponent blog. I agree with your article. I do find that many don't even know the issues. They only listen to the msm and believe it is the truth so they vote based on a complete lack of info.

I am surprised more feminist cant recognize her strengths which I believe doesn't mean you have to vote for her if you don't agree with her politically.

It is sad that the only comment a national group for women could give her was that they thought she reminded them of a man. Haven't they been fighting to have equality? I guess sometimes it is more about supporting liberal women then supporting all women. How sad.

On a side note you sound like a really cool person. We moved from Washington last year to New York. We like it a lot better here except for politics and taxes. We lived in Auburn and my sister lived in Gig Harbor. It seemed nicer out in your area.

Your movie picks and books are also the best.

thank you again for the link to this page on the other site.

Elise said...

Elke, your consistency argument is very good. And I think you can go a step farther in terms of consistency (which, actually, is a point that I believe was explored on the Segullah page) to say: If you choose to vote against Palin based on the Proclamation, who are you going to choose to vote FOR--based on the same Proclamation?

Obama?

That seems seriously inconsistent.

bearnjo.com said...

Great job and great commentary. I agree and support you as our next president of the United States.. Seriously, great job!!

The Rushtons said...

Oh this one's going to make you mad. I can't believe this girl! I normally think she's really funny but all the breastfeeding/hormone talk crossed the line.

http://crabmommy.blogspot.com/2008/09/right-to-choose.html

Elke Rushton said...

Yes, it did make me mad. Until now, I have assumed that all women believed in our self-worth. I am not only mad about the above listed post. I am intensely sad to see the support it receives.

crabmommy said...

Hi Elke,

Crabmommy here.

I don't know what your political views are but mine infuse how I chose to write about Palin.
I have a very hard time respecting a mother going for the White House when that mother has no respect for women's rights in general. I am talking about her anti-abortion stance, obviously, and frankly I find her a surreal candidate, to say the least.

As a blogger I am known to take an irreverent stance on anything I write about. I understand people finding my tongue in cheek breastfeeding-in-the-White-House? argument a little unseemly when it comes to a feminist POV; I would simply say that if this woman didn't put motherhood--hers and everyone else's-- front and center of her campaign I might have been less inclined to poke fun at it.

I believe when it comes to choosing White House candidates, the role of motherhood ought not be front and center of anyone's campaign. It has been exactly that for Sarah Palin and therefore I think her opponents (me) have every right to take pot shots at it.

I remain amazed at the central irony of her campaign: between knocked-up Bristol and a new baby in Mom's arms, I see a hell of a lot of hypocrisy as she utilizes her children for her own political gain while subverting the rights of women to make their own choices when it comes to grappling with motherhood. So please don't ask me to stick up for this backward woman in the name of feminism. Most of the world thinks this lady is a joke, her obvious accomplishments notwithstanding: if anyone is setting American women in politics back it's Sarah Palin.

Elke Rushton said...

Why didn't you just say that in the first place, crabmommy? I may completely disagree with you on the issue of abortion, but at least it's a valid issue. If that is the real reason that you don't like Sarah Palin, why place women on the sacrificial alter to "choice"?

Unless you were trying to teach a lesson in irony.

crabmommy said...

Um, Elke, the lesson in irony on this topic has been well taught by Ms. Palin herself--though to be sure, Crabmommy does not mind adding another layer to it.

The Sorenson Family said...

Haha, that crabbymomma post was a fun read. I especially liked the comment by 'zz' who proclaimed that, based on the logic of the article, humans of either gender have no right to be in power at all since women are rendered useless by the hormonal chaos of our ovaries and men, as we all know, are completly under the influence of their sexual drive. What are we to do? I know. How about stop making assumptions based on gender period. I mean full stop:)

Garth said...

Elke,
Great blog on your part. And interesting comments. I will vote for you for President, whenever you want to run. I loved the comment that Gulianne made when he was talking about anyone questioning Sarah Palin's ability to mother her children. He said paraphrased, how dare anyone question her ability to raise her children, no one would ever raise that issue with Obama and how well he could father his children. And he said "how dare they" more than once. I agree, "How dare they!"
Love, Your Mom

Tyra said...

Yeah, I use photoshop. I've made the past backgrounds EXACTLY the same way I am now, it just isn't uploading to photobucket the same way. I'm so lost.....I would LOVE a template, if you get around to it! Thanks!

Sarah Bogh said...

I found you from the crabmommy blog and your comment restored my faith in women! i was getting rather appalled (to use your word) and discouraged with what i was reading. thank you for standing up for us, the people who believe we can be mothers and have a brain!!