Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Politics and embrassing my inner hypocrite

Okay, I'd like to start this off first by saying that I applaud Barack Obama's stance about keeping the kids out of the political fold. I think it's awesome that he not only refuses to use Sarah Palin's family drama as a touchpoint for his campaign, but also made a clear mention of the fact that he was born to an 18 year old mother. Good for you, Obama.

That said, it's hard to be a political news and gossip junkie, as I fully admit to being, without having some feelings on the current situation posed to the GOP Vice Presidential nominee. First of all - I want to make it clear that I was raised in a liberal household. When I became sexually active, there was no "stigma" to being on birth control and being made aware of all my options. It wasn't condoned or give a thumbs up by my parents, but they were aware that if I was going to make that choice, it was a smart decision to allow me to stay safe. Nonetheless, even taking birth control, I did find myself pregnant at 17, just as Bristol Palin is now. I, too, made the decision (through no coercion one way or the other) to have my daughter, and also to marry her father. 8 years later, we have three beautiful children and one of the happiest marriages I know. That doesn't always happen, and I am grateful everyday that we managed to escape the statistics and find happiness.

In any case - I feel for the Palin family, I feel badly that they are not only facing this in private, but also that they are stuck dealing with it in a public forum that allows people like myself to feel like I am allowed an opinion on someone else's family drama. It does bring to question, however, the politics of Gov. Palin, and if (though my own circumstances were different and led to the same result) her pro-abstinence, anti-birth control views helped to put her daughter in this position. Although it's totally possible to get pregnant accidentally - even as a teen - no matter what your values are, how safe you try to be, and all that. If the option was there for Bristol, would she have found herself in this position? Who knows. All I know is, while this is bringing up all sorts of anti-choice sentiments, what it should be doing is showing that no matter how staunchly your family values are promoted, teens have sex. period. Not every teen, I know - but the rates are higher and the ages are lower. I don't agree with this. I don't think it's right or okay, but it's the truth. There's no getting away from that, and if nothing else, Ms. Palin's condition is proof that sometimes abstinence preaching isn't enough. Sometimes, a girl has got to have access to birth control.

On to my next views about the Veep Nominee... and this is where I am struggling to embrace my inner hypocrite. I am a feminist. I believe that my choice to be a stay at home mom is EXACTLY that - a choice. I believe that I have every right in the world to make a different choice and go to work. However - there is a deep rooted "mom" voice in my gut that screams at Sarah Palin that she's making the wrong choice by taking on one of the most time consuming, emotionally draining, and publicly viewed jobs in the world when she has a 4 month old baby at home. I know, that sounds ridiculous coming from me -but the truth is, as strongly as I believe every mom has the right to make her own decisions when it comes to working in or outside the home, there is a part of me that tempers that belief with the ideas of old - that a mom should still put her family first. Sometimes that means working outside the home. Sometimes that means having dad stay home with the kids. Sometimes that means staying home. I by no means mean to say that she should be barefoot in the kitchen nursing that baby and greeting her husband at the door with a martini and a smile - I'm just saying there are plenty of jobs out there that she's qualified for that wouldn't take up so much of her time and energy that I question how much she'll have left to be a mom. That's the hypocrite in my screaming, btw, in case you heard that noise right there. LOL.

I love that I live in a world, in a country, and in a time that gives women the choice. I really do. I love my options in life, and I love the opportunities that my daughters will have. I commend Gov. Palin for being able to find the balance between motherhood and Governorship. I just question the decision.

In any case - regardless of that opinion, I would NEVER let it be a deciding factor in my vote come November. I want that black and white and abundantly clear. If I agreed with the McCain/Palin policies in any way, I would back them all the way to the White House. And I hope and pray that no one uses her personal family circumstances and drama to be a deciding factor in this election. Regardless of my inner turmoil about her decision to run given the baby at home, if I felt she had the right politics, I'd vote her her in a heart beat. But I don't.

Enough said :)

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