There's something really nagging at me the last couple of days. I didn't think it would get to me but it has and I have to say something about it.
It's about none other than Sarah Palin, her nomination as McCain's running mate, for which I believe she is unqualified. But mostly, my thoughts are about whether the children of candidates are fair game for the sport of electoral politics.
I'm inclined to state my opinion on this as no, it's not okay to do this. There is a thread going at Liberality's where she posted about this issue, very fairly and succinctly gave her take on it, quoted from the posts of some of the people on her blogroll and invited other readers to speak their minds on the issue. What ensued was a rather respectful batch of comments, both pro and con regarding the question I'm musing.
But this post isn't really about that post and its comments, specifically. It is on the same topic and I promise to eventually get there, but rather than the comment I posted there, this will be lengthier and directed at my own blog friends and acquaintances; a couple of whom I share with Liberality.
At one time I was obsessive about politics. I worked with peace disarmament groups at the grass-roots and college level and attended local and national protests during the Freeze Movement. In fact, I tortured my poor boyfriend, then husband and now friend, The Cunning Runt, with my fatalism, negativity and disdain for the U.S. government. I still hold the disdain, but the negativity and fatalism are no longer a part of the way I look at things. I do still become discouraged and outraged and sad and scared. What I no longer do is wallow (and I used to be a real wallower, too...about everything!) I do what I can to stay informed, I've long held to my ideals, beliefs and values politically and socially. I've mostly lived by them.
In the last half decade or so, I've been feeling differently about life. I've discovered that anger, resentment and bitterness toward others, toward issues, toward life and living just don't work for me. This isn't to claim that I'm "holier than thou" or "goody-goody". If you were to ask my children, my partner and my closest friends you'd hear, among other things that I get angry. My kids would even say - a lot. You'd hear that I can be very blunt and direct at times and that I don't always listen. I have some history behind me on these counts and I am aware that I'll spend years trying to repair it. But repair it and maintain it I must. As Divajood stated in a comment on this post I wrote: "justifiable anger" is a luxury I can no longer afford. And that is exactly what it's come to for me in recent years.
Anger destroys me. It has wreaked havoc on my marriage and doubtless left some sort of impact on my daughters. I'm not beating myself up for it. It will do no good. I'm not using life-long depression as an excuse. Even though anger can be a manifestation of the illness, part of getting a grip on it is trying to keep the anger monster in check.
I want to make it clear that I am staunchly pro-choice. Having two biological daughters and two steps, makes me particularly alert on and passionate for, this issue. I also want to make it clear, if it isn't obvious by my side-bar, that I am rather left-wing in my politics. My father was a lefty working class dude who made sure we knew the truth. Left-wing politics are in the family genetic code.
I don't write extensively about politics on my blog because it's only one facet, albeit an important one, of my thinking, my passions, my life and my ideals. Since my blog is many pieces of who I am, politics crop up here and there. How could they not? But politics do no longer inform my entire way of being.
Which brings me to how anger and politics, politics and anger, mean-spirited mud-slinging and people' s private lives inter-twine. And, to Sarah Palin and the whole mess surrounding her nomination, including her family life. Deep breath.
Do I feel that Palin lacks the experience necessary to be a V.P. candidate? That doesn't concern me so much, as Barak Obama is also lacking in experience on certain levels and though not my first choice, he's our only hope now. Do I condemn Palin as a bad mother because her teen daughter showed up pregnant? Not really. As I've already stated, I raised my daughters with access to information and birth control. One of my daughters, the youngest, is not sure if she could follow through on an abortion should she get pregnant. That is her choice; it's her body. And if she chose to have that baby, I would support her as best I could. What I really take issue with in Palin's case is that while she sees fit to encourage her daughter's choice, she's simultaneously working hard against my and my daughters' right to choose what's best for us in the case of an unwanted pregnancy. That is the issue for me. It is discouraging and maddening to me that politicians want to take away a woman's right to choose. Does this justify angry, vicious and mean-spirited attacks from the media and the blogs on her young daughter and her boyfriend? I have to say that for me, it doesn't.
I have little respect for the likes of Sarah Palin. What I do hold respect for are the ideals and the teachings of many wise people from Jesus to Martin Luther King Jr. that hate begets hate, that "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind", not to mention (and call me simplistic and naive, if you want to) The Golden Rule. Yeah, that little rule you learned in school that now, more than ever, we should be teaching our children. I try to daily with my students but also for them, I try to live it. Not just for them; but for myself and my own family; for the brotherhood and sisterhood of man and woman kind and yes, even for the fragile planet upon which we depend so much and care for so little.
I hope you can now understand some of the reasons I aschew mud-slinging. Satire is one thing and I appreciate it but nasty snark and snotty politics turn me off. If politics weren't so much a part of the fabric of my up-bringing and my life, I would be tempted to drop out completely. Not just because of the constant up-hill battles against the hawks, the neo-cons, the fascists, the racists, the powerful rich, but also because of the negativity and nastiness of the "liberals".
I've only been blogging since February. My first introduction to the bitter taste of nastiness came from the attacks on Hilary Clinton in the media and small and large blogs alike. I was not a supporter of Hilary Clinton and I detested the way she slimed her opponent. By the same token, I took issue with the Obama campaign taking aim at her. But even war between the candidates I can understand. It was the blogs and blogger comments that made me crazy. At every turn, there were nasty insults and foul, sexist remarks. I took issue with that and said so plainly in a couple of comments to blog posts that I read. I also took every opportunity to talk to people I know in the non-virtual world about my disdain for such practices.
Sarah Palin, as far as I'm concerned, is no exception. Her stance on just about everything is the exact anti-thesis of my entire belief system. That's only the little of her that is known so far! And yet, I can't bring myself to engage those who drudge up the dirt on her family; particularly her young daughter. You can say that Palin deserves it. You may say that in American electoral politics anything is fair game. You can even claim that's the only way to win. You may even be right. But I don't want any part in it other than to highlight the issues of the Republican platform and to illustrate the hypocricy I see as evident. Who and what the Palin girl is or is not; whether she drinks beer and fucks like a bunny after (sorry) and what kind of family her boyfriend comes from don't interest me. Hell, I could even care less if her mother-in-law votes for her or not. I simply don't believe that type of voyeurism serves any purpose other than for people to either spew off (as in the case of lowly bloggers like myself) or in the case of big blogs and news media, to peddle their banal journalism; if you can call it that in some cases.
In conclusion, I want to make it clear that I'm not referring to any of the blogs of my regular readers. Certainly DCup's essay on the issue on her blog Politits was quite fair and mostly stuck to the issue that Palin appears to hold most dear: her so-called "pro-choice" stance, which illustrates her hypocracy. I enjoyed and appreciated that post.
I find it sort of ironic that people who throw their little fists of mud at people like Palin because they feel it's the only way for Obama to win the election, aren't following the lead of the candidate himself, who refuses to engage in such tactics. I'm no huge Obama fan. The point I'm trying to make is: the Dems have a very well orchestrated campaign, with lots of people thinkin' and thinkin' on behalf of the big win for the White House. Perhaps their miscalculating but if the Obama campaign thought they could win by engaging in disparaging the Palin family, I think they would go ahead and do that. So why are the liberal, lefties or whatever you want to call us, voters engaged in it? I have to question the motives.
If you've made it this far. I thank you. Really. I needed to get that off my chest. And I don't have time to edit this, so it's going "as is", even if there are holes in my thinking or typos or what have you. And my apologies for failing to link people. I'll try to get to it later.
I'm now off to watch that nauseating RNC.
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