As a 49 year old woman, who climbed the corporate ladder, bumped my head against the glass ceiling many times and ultimately found a happy and successful career managing an operation quite a bit larger than the city of Wasalia, I have a lot to say about McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin and a bit about the Republican Party.
I won’t say it all, because I can literally go on for hours, and, frankly, I find the whole thing pretty interesting and fun just in terms of entertainment value (see this Huffington Post article from earlier in the week). There are a couple of items I am compelled to point out, even though they have been talked about in other media circles. (Great article by Gloria Steinem that has engendered a big response, btw.)
1) Executive experience. 75% of small business owners have more experience running businesses than many, many of our country’s politicians. Who wouldn’t want someone with P&L, multi-million dollar budgeting and large staff management and maybe some international business activity to bring that experience to the table. Heck. I have that. 20 years of it. Oh…and I’ve travelled to many, many countries and experienced diverse cultures so far. I have had a passport since I was a little child. And I speak French, a smattering of Spanish, and horrible Italian. Guess I could run…I’ve got the portfolio for it. And I’m a woman.
2) Foreign and national policy. The US is the mightiest consumer force in the world (or at least will be until China overtakes us in the near future.) With that might comes a tremendous responsibility to know and understand the nuances of our national stand against foreign issues and to be able to handle the pressure of making decisions that will ultimately affect the entire world. Palin does NOT have that experience. And no common sense, maverick (??) spirit, or spunk can make up for that lack of experience. Joe Biden does. A lot of it. Enough to support Obama through the in’s and out’s of foreign decision-making.
3) Representative of women. Not of me. That is for sure. I do not support the NRA. I believe in a woman’s right to control her decisions and her body. Women fought long and hard to take the steps forward that I see embodied in Hillary Clinton’s policies and career choices. There is no question that Palin has followed a fantastic career path, but there are many, many fine women Republicans who would have made much better VP candidates in terms of what they would have brought to the table as a potential president. I would not have faith in Palin’s decision-making abilities if she had to take over the Presidency. Up until now, I had believed that I would use my voting right to support a female candidate regardless of party affiliation, because it would further women’s advancement through the old boy’s network. I could not vote for her because what she believes in overall is counter to my general belief system and that does not promote what I believe are women’s rights. That fills me with sadness over a lost opportunity.
4) Representative mix: Did you watch the Republican Convention? Did you see any people of color? I counted. I saw 2 black men and 1 black male security guard, 1 black woman, and one latino male. That’s it. It was a very white convention and if I were a black or latino Republican I’d have been a bit worried and a lot insulted.
5) What are the real reasons for choosing Sarah Palin? That is really what everyone is talking about. I’d also like to share another terrific article from Cryo Kid that takes an interesting look at exactly that question. I’ll give you a hint. Russia. Alaska.