Alaine weighs in on Palin's speech and candidacy cross posted here:
I watched the speech last night. I argued with my Republican husband about the lack of substance in the McCain't Palin ticket. He promptly suggested I was not being strategic in thought, overly emotional and sited my response as evidence of why the "Democrats might not win because they don't understand the real issues at hand." I had openly avoided any blogging about this issue, swept into a focus on back to school and back to the routines that guide our family. However, after my true introduction to Pitbull Palin last night, my thoughts are incredibly clear. I have been Independent for the last decade in my voting, and last night I was clear that if I must pick a party affiliation - it will be to proclaim I am a Democrat.
No Solutions - Rhetoric
Palin offered no solutions about the issues that matter to me most. There was no mention of health care and a summary statement about "parents being able to choose" the education option for their child. The problem with that education theory, is that the only families that truly experience choice are those that are able to afford houses above $250,000 in value, so that they can buy a school district that offers a competitive education. Although I support Charter School options and applaud parents seeking immediate remedies to their local schools, I see what those options are everyday. I also know that most schools in the infancy of their development (Charter Schools included) are not able to provided the systems and tools that an above average Suburban school district provides.
My prescriptions with full health care for my children have been about $150 this month, including office co-pays. Palin and McCain don't have to address these issues, it doesn't even matter to them. The problem, however, is that more American people face my reality than Palin's Mr. Mom husband, and McCain's decision to marry up, wealthy and clueless.
A Moral Mess
We can talk about policy prescriptions and detailed plans, but at its core the Republican Party has been offering a moral solution to life for as long as I can remember. I myself use the term conservative to clarify that regardless of my political affiliation I have morals and standards that are clear for my family and our lives. The Right has taken faith and religion and stood on top of hills and mountains to proclaim the lack of moral compass in anyone who disagree with them. And what do we get from their example:
Giuliani was responsible for the build up last night. Someone who moved his mistress into the home with his wife, openly cheated, and does not have the respect and support of his children. The Giuliani sons are Obama supporters.
McCain returned from his POW experience which he openly pimps in what has become a disgraceful manner - to cheat on his wife, divorce her after she suffered terribly from a life altering accident, and then married the wealthy bimbo he cheated with.
Palin has the ability to reach out openly to parents of disabled children, white women, those who aspire to a "less cosmopolitan world", while Barack has to dance around his culture, all racial issues and any reference to what he might be an advocate for if he gets the nod. Her mother in law said she didn't know what Palin brings to the ticket. I would love to clarify what she brings - she's white. she's female. she's void of any documented position on race and equity issues. she's gender politics at its finest.
It remains more acceptable to be a white woman soliciting for female empathy, and asking women to vote with their ovaries, while gently flirting with the no family is perfect theme - than to be firmly rooted in family values and Black. If Barack had a teenage daughter that was pregnant, left a newborn child to return to work in 72 hours, and prioritized a speech over a pending birth - we'd be citing the problems with Black male leadership in the home. I am resisting the desire to fully editorialize what I feel about having Palin represent women as a whole - but what I'm clear about is the changing standards. It isn't about character if we can be beat on character, it isn't about experience if we can be beat back about experience, it isn't about issues if we can make it about personality.
We are on the eve of electing war mongers and our media dialog is about how inspiring Palin is. Well, she's clean, articulate and the first viable female candidate - but that doesn't mean we want her at all. Jesse Jackson didn't motivate my support because I didn't believe he was the best candidate. Lets be clear, I'd love to make history voting for a woman. I will grieve the day she was born if that woman is painted in Palin. Offer me someone who has worked hard, paid their dues, has something this Soccer Mom can relate to - and I'd be thinking long and hard. Hell, I don't want more taxes. But the thought that anyone believes Palin, the VICE Presidential candidate is that person- it is simply a false hope. The men who stayed up all night writing her speech should be proud. I'm more convinced of her drama and her acting ability than I am of her political prowess, and for a woman of color she offers nothing. I don't want my 8 year old daughter looking to her, Giuliani or McCain't for anything. ever.
No Perspective on Community Based Issues
The dig at being a community organizer shouldn't just be about Barack. The truth is, Barack Obama was a community organizer, but there are millions of us who are an active part of the community development industry. As professionals who work through community based organizations to affect change, we should be collectively asking the question - then what does Palin think about the real everyday work that we do?
You see, if Barack's experience is fluff to her and she doesn't believe that real decisions were being made - her implication is that government leadership is real work, and community based work is not. For everyone who has mobilized a group of people for collective action, worked to leverage investment for community and central city development, shifted the paradigm about affordable housing to an action about socio-economic integration for diverse communities - Palin thinks you don't make real decisions.
In the world of Palin, telling government officials and departments how to spend the budget and "drill, baby drill" is more important than change that is created from the ground up. In her world grassroots is as foreign as diversity, race and accountability. McCain doesn't have a lock on patriotism because he survived War - half of the men in my family served as well. The picture painted at the Republican convention doesn't capture the sacrifice and service of the men in my family - men who universally believe that the war was a MISTAKE. They - McCain/Palin believe leadership comes from the top down, not from the bottom up. And what will you tell your children when they have to interview more times for a minimum wage job, than she did for the 2nd highest position in the land - with a 72 year old with heart and anger management issues. Please. Let me assure you the same standards will not apply.
While she spent her 15 minutes of fame showing how clearly she can be a pit bull, what she didn't tell you is what she can offer for you. Did you get a sense of what is happening with Social Security, Healthcare and Education? Did you get a clear understanding of who she will put on the Supreme Court - or wasn't that pretty obvious ladies. Palin made HER CHOICE based on her personal circumstances, but do you trust her to make decisions for you.
She's advocating for her 17 year old to get married and we believe this to be a responsible choice for the sake of doing what's right. Angelina and Brad could introduce them to the concept of ADOPTION if her Right Wing Fanatics can't help her there.
Did you get misty eyed in thinking that we'd be at war for the next 100 years, with an economy as strong as McCain thinks it is today. I mean really, you all have $5 million to work with, right? We're watching the stage shift before our eyes and the dialog still remains hinged on identity politics.
I don't identify with Palin. With the escalating foreclosure rates that are crippling communities at their core - Palin had no words regarding housing. She didn't offer any solutions with her criticism of what celebrity brings. If 80,000 people in a stadium is celebrity - being lifted from obscurity for the Vice President selection because you have ovaries should be too.
Barack and Michelle offer for my children a substantive example of the beliefs we have tried to instill in them. At very young ages they have been introduced to racism in ways that grieve my heart and spirit. When they see people who are touchable in their eyes, people who have had to work hard for everything they have every gotten, people who played by the rules and leveraged education for success, people who got married - had children - and then had the audacity to stay together, people who have dared to dream bigger than anyone thought they should, people who gave back to their community and used the channels available to them to pay off student loans and credit cards that subsidized making ends meet, they see a future.
When they see McCain and Palin they see more of the nothing they see every day here. People who don't view race as an issue. People who don't view class as an issue. People who don't see neighborhood based work as real work. People who believe the proximity to Russia gives credit for foreign affairs experience. (Condi would you please help them with that fallacy.) People who support war at any cost and educational opportunity for a few, not the masses. People who throw the first stone, as they flip flop on immigration, tax cuts, and more. People who don't prioritize health care, and will never make a decision where to live on how much money they earn. People who get a pass for moral mayhem, but want to tell the world how to live their lives.
I was an Independent. In 2008, I cannot afford to be silent.
I am a Democrat by issues - because they live where I live. I am conservative and I am troubled by some of the views that Barack holds. Yet, I contrast that with my reality. I am concerned about each and every view held by McCain and Palin, grieved that they might one day represent me, horrified by the example they set for my children, and motivated to ensure that their closeted view of the world doesn't become my reality.
Palin may be a PitBull, by her own admission. My mother taught me that a female dog was nothing to aspire to. Palin is a failure for everyday people. She is not a case of the American Dream. Her reality only works if you offer to the Republican party more of the same. I will never be white. I will never inherit my wealth. I will never be the "in crowd" because of my ovaries, my race and my religion. I am not the voter she was trying to reach last night - and I am proud that I will never be that.
And for my Republican husband, my dear...I'm strategic enough.