Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sexism & Fairness in American Politics

Is Gov. Sarah Palin ready to assume the job of Chief Executive if the elder John McCain were to pass away suddenly from decrepitude? And how will Palin balance her crowded and congested home life while holding the second highest profile government job in America?

These are two questions that are garnering much discussion on the political landscape. We shall leave the first question until the end, turning our focus on the latter. Is it fair to ask this question of Palin when the media has not done the same of Obama and Biden? Would the American public ask the same if Palin had a penis instead of a vagina?


THE SHORT ANSWER: NO
We would not ask this question of a male vice presidential candidate, and thus far never have. The assumption, of course, would be that his wife would take care of the children. That is a natural assumption, as someone has to manage the home life. For some reason, we are not assuming the same with Palin, that her husband will leave his job to manage the household affairs. He should. If we hold men and women to different standards (the same as if we hold heterosexuals and homosexuals to different standards) then we have discrimination – sexism. Discrimination, in my opinion, is always wrong.


THE LONG ANSWER: YES AND NO.
It is true that the media did not ask the same questions of Obama, Biden or McCain. The thing that complicates the issue further is that the media did not have to ask Obama or Biden about how they will balance their home lives. Both Obama and Biden freely offered this information in full during the course of their campaign. Palin has not had the opportunity to do so as her pick was sudden and surprising.

Both Barack and Michelle Obama have detailed exactly how they will balance his presidency with the rearing of their children. In his book. Obama discusses in length balancing his time in the Senate with home, illustrating the point with a humorous story about mice traps. Michelle has also given significant details about her plans on raising her girls. Not only did Michelle quit her job, but her mother has committed to assisting the family with the raising of the girls. Biden discussed his decision to balance his Senate life with home, by committing to living at home and commuting every day so that he could spend more time with his children. I have no knowledge if McCain has offered any information on how he, during his Senate run, ensured the proper raising of his children.

So while holding different genders to different standards is sexism, in this case, we have information about the balance act from both men on the Democratic ticket, rendering the issue, this time, mute.

It is, after all, fair to ask the question about how one will handle both governance and home, assuming that the question is applied fairly. Would the media have asked the question of the Democrats had they not freely offered it? I seriously doubt it, but we will never know as the information was freely given.

So to inquire of Palin what we already know of Obama and Biden is not only fair, but appropriate.. It is important to know how our highest executive officers will conduct themselves and balance family. This issue is very important to many people, including evangelicals, many of whom believe that someone (generally the woman) should stay home and take care of the family.

As to the question about Palin’s readiness to be the President if McCain dies, the typical response we have heard, as illustrated by Rudy Guilliani on the Today Show this morning, was to talk about Obama. Barack has answered the question and outlined why he believes he is ready. For the Republicans to continue deflecting the question about her readiness by talking about his is not an answer at all. The American public simply wants her to outline how and why she is ready. Hopefully, she will do that in her speech tonight and put the issue to rest. This, too, is a fair question.


AS A SIDE NOTE
Barack Obama was classy, gentlemanly and exactly right when he chose the high road, stating that Palin’s daughter is off limits. Shame on the media for making such an issue out of a private matter. We could, however, use this as a reason why even evangelical Christians need sex education, as even they have premarital sex. A condom would have fixed the problem and saved everyone a lot of stress.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Regarding your side note...it is my understanding that Palin only supports abstinence only sex education...so a condom wouldn't have been a fix. I would like to know if what I have heard is true about her....abstinence only education?

Ms. Skinny Kitty

Jack said...

You hear correctly, Skinny Kitty. Both John McCain and Sarah Palin support abstinence-only programming. This answer comes from abc news.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=5711359&page=1

run_deep said...

However, as mother Palin promotes ABSTINENCE, and her daughter obviously circumvented the governor's view on that baby (pun not intended, but snickered at), maybe young Palin would have gone around her mother's no condom rule as well. So, she would be sexually active, and no one would be the wiser.

Would it have been any more our business? I cannot tell you how sorry I am for young Palin and the fact that her adolescent blunder has to become national news.