Some on the left seem so keen on victory in November that they come close (well, ahem, real close) to suggesting that that Sarah Palin should stay home and raise her kids. My decidedly liberal (well, in most ways) wife has a different view. She is an ardent Obama/Biden supporter, but thinks that the candidacy of Sarah Palin has much to celebrate. Here are her thoughts as expressed in an email blast that she sent to her friends around the country:
I think we should be grateful to Sarah Palin. Really.
These are things I think changed when Sarah Palin became the darling of the Republican Right:
1. It's OK for a woman to be politically ambitious. Before this, women were condemned by the Right for such ambition. Sarah Palin is the poster child for political ambition, and the Right just eats it up.
2. It's OK for a woman to be tough. Before this, a tough woman was perceived as not feminine enough -- not enough of a woman. Sarah Palin has shown that a woman can be tough and feminine. You've got to give her that. No more need to dress like a man to be taken seriously at a meeting. It's about time.
3. It's OK for a woman to be a sarcastic bitch. (I gotta tell you, I'm thrilled about this one!) Any other woman who had taken the tone Governor Palin did in her acceptance speech would have been raked over the coals, but now, it's all OK.
4. Being in the PTA, and the carpool, and managing a household now count as real world experience that prepares a person to do something other than be a homemaker, even to govern our nation. Hallelujah! Feminists have been saying for decades that traditional "women's work" was real work that required real skills and should count for something and not be written off. Now the Right has recognized that. Excellent. I'm going to update my resume.
5. It's OK for a woman not to be the primary care giver of her children. This is sort of a corollary to #1, because one of the reasons that women were condemned for political ambition is that they were "not taking care of" their children and families. Sarah Palin is clearly not the primary caregiver for her kids, even for her newborn. (She went back to work when Trig was 3 days old.) That is OK. Really. Families have the right to choose how best to organize themselves, and no two families are the same. Again, feminists have been saying this for decades, but the Right has resisted it mightily. Now, they've embraced it. Good for everyone.
6. The next time the Right wants to take a holier than thou attitude about anyone to the political left of them, we just remind them that Sarah Palin's pregnant, teenage, unwed daughter didn't bother them, that they understood that people are fallible, that we all have our moments of weakness, and that we should not be condemned for our mistakes that we have recognized and atoned for. Also, the Right has said that people cannot be held responsible for the misdeeds of their loved ones (kids, spouses, siblings). Excellent.
This really is progress. Now, any native-born American really does have the opportunity to become president. Best of all, the genie is out of the bottle on these issues and won't be going back in.
[I might add that my wife has lots of foreign policy experience should anyone be looking for a future Vice President. She worked as an expert on Latin America for nearly a decade in the State Department, Defense Department, and White House. The picture above was taken when Allison was with her boss Barry McCaffrey during President Clinton's state visit to Colombia in 2000. She was trying to get a picture with Juan Valdez when Secretary Albright butted in. And she has made her own choices about work/family balance. She left a position with Governor Napolitano to be a fulltime stay-at-home mom for our son.]