Thursday, September 4, 2008

McCain's VP Choice Insults Women, Endangers Nation

If there were any doubt about John McCain’s judgment, his choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate bares all. His choice was both impulsive and ill-informed. He didn’t even know her and she was not thoroughly vetted! The choice of Palin insults the intelligence of all Americans, but its cynicism is particularly insulting to women. Does McCain really think that women are such gender knee-jerks that they will embrace the Republican ticket simply because Palin is female? Women I know are outraged. Some men of my acquaintance wonder, “Has McCain lost his mind?” As Clinton supporters have pointed out, they voted for Hillary because she was qualified to be President of the United States. Aerial hunting Alaskan wildlife does not quality Palin to have her finger on nuclear triggers should that case arise. And it may. McCain is 72 years old, the oldest candidate ever to run for a first term as President. In a health crisis or worse, his vice president will become Commander in Chief. She is literally a breath away from the presidency. For all his bombast about the importance of experience, McCain has displayed his hypocrisy and poor judgment by choosing a person who lacks national experience and has no shred of international experience. Palin’s sudden elevation to the presidency could endanger the country even more than a McCain presidency.

Forced to abandon his first choices for vice president (Senator Joe Lieberman and former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge), McCain reacted like an adolescent boy with an “Okay, I’ll-show-you” attitude. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want our country to be run by another adolescent boy or an adolescent girl trying to prove how tough they are. The voters, the country, and the planet would be the losers.

Republicans are making a lot of Palin’s “executive experience.” So far as I’m concerned, running a household is a kind of executive experience but it hardly qualifies a person to be President of the United States. Before becoming governor of Alaska, Palin was mayor of a suburban community of fewer than 6000 people. She has served barely two years as governor of the 47th least populous state. Alaska’s entire population—650,000—is less than one-fourth that of Chicago (2.8 million) where Barack Obama spent years as a community organizer before becoming a member of the Illinois state Senate, where he served for eight years before being elected a U.S. Senator. Palin has served a largely homogenous isolated population in contrast to the diverse communities that Obama has served and knows so well. At best, her experience is too limited to qualify her for CEO of a large company.

Beyond the demographics in Palin’s background, her fierce opposition to reproductive choice – even in cases of rape and incest – threaten women’s health and autonomy. McCain has already said he would work to overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark case that freed women from enslavement to their gonads. A McCain-Palin administration would continue the war against women waged by Bush and Cheney. If Roe v Wade were overturned, women’s bodies would become, in effect, property of the state. The next President will likely fill two vacancies on the Supreme Court. One more right-wing justice in the mold of Scalia, Roberts and Alito would plunge women back to a medieval mentality that would not only outlaw abortion but also force contraception underground. Yes, Palin is a woman but she represents the good old evangelical boys’ club when it comes to their fanatical desire to control women’s bodies. Reproductive choice should be personal not state-controlled. There is no more intimate right than the individual freedom to control one’s own reproductive biology.

By selecting Palin, McCain has just upped the stakes in this critical election. He and Palin represent an unacceptable and intolerable past that is better relegated to history than to a future it is unprepared to meet.

1 comment:

Carolyn Miller said...

Good going, Mary! Her views on free choice are just one thing that makes her such a horribly worrisome choice. I am truly terrified of the anti-intellectual, anti-diversity sentiments that she and the rest of the Republicans are trumpeting. For God's sake, many of them don't even believe in evolution! Have you ever seen a crowd as full of hatred and bigotry as the people at the Republican convention? Can you believe that they cherish ignorance and sneer at anyone with a good education? I pray that the Republican ticket goes down in flames this November! Otherwise, we will be plunged back into the dark ages and whatever hope there is of this country regaining its stature in the world will be lost.