Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Democrats Don't Attack Working Mothers

Look, there are a hundred reasons to oppose Sarah Palin's nomination. One is that she was nominated by John McCain, who is a frightening prospect for president.

Her astonishing lack of qualifications. The lies about the Bridge to Nowhere. The lies about her connections with Ted Stevens. Her near-impeachment as mayor of Wasilla. The firing of the head of public safety for personal reasons. The earmarks she got to benefit her small town. The fact that she fought to keep polar bears off the endangered species list.

Lots of valid, political, meaningful reasons to oppose her nomination.

The fact that Sarah Palin is a working mother is not a reason to oppose her nomination. Mean-spirited attacks like Sally Quinn's piece are not going to help our case at all.
Is she prepared for the all-consuming nature of the job? She is the mother of five children, one of them a four-month-old with Down Syndrome. Her first priority has to be her children. When the phone rings at three in the morning and one of her children is really sick what choice will she make? I'm the mother of only one child, a special needs child who is grown now. I know how much of my time and energy I devoted to his care. He always had to be my first priority. Of course women can be good mothers and have careers at the same time. I've done both. Yes, other women in public office have children. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has five children, but she didn't get heavily involved in politics until they were older. A mother's role is different from a father's.
Mrs. B is a working mother. Do we really want to start attacking mothers for working outside the home? Take away the number of kids, the concerns about the kid with Down's Syndrome. This is an attack on working mothers.

And it's also an attack on fathers, incidentally. I was a stay-at-home dad for nearly a year of Oliver's life. He was still nursing when Mrs. B went back to work. I fed him bottles of breast milk. I put him to bed. I took care of him. He survived. A mother's role is different from a father's, true, but if Palin's husband is the chief caregiver in the family, there is no shame and no harm in that. And shame on Sally Quinn for insinuating otherwise.

We are attacking our own best interests as progressives and as Democrats when we attack Sarah Palin for daring to work while raise children. Let's get back to the issues at hand and not get distracted by the circumstances of her family. We're better than this.

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Sarah Palin's place on the ticket didn't last the week. If/when she resigns her position as vice-presidential candidate, she will blame the Democrats for attacking her and her daughter. She will accuse us of trying to destroy her and her family, and she will say that the Democratic party is anti-working woman and anti-family. Sally Quinn's piece feeds into that argument. Every time a progressive gleefully talks about what a terrible mother Sarah Palin must be, they feed into that argument.

We're better than this.


Anonymous said...

Exactly, Sky. Thanks for writing.

punditdad said...

Absolutely correct! What's tough in this conversation is how to judge a person who wants to go to higher office on their personal decisions without being intrusive in their family life. There seems to be a fine line that is hard to see. I love your blog!

Sky Bluesky said...

I think there's plenty to judge Mrs. Palin on without digging into her personal life. We're going into very dangerous territory here when we attack her or her family. To my great relief, almost all progressives are keeping to the issues and staying out of her personal life.

Thanks for the kind words! I haven't seen your blog before, punditdad - I'll check it out tonight. Cheers!