I'm sure my readers are surprised to read that heading, after seeing my previous rants about John McCain and Sarah Palin. However, today I've discovered their personal involvement in two issues near and dear to my heart.
Sarah Palin and March for Babies
I semi-regularly read a blog by an Alaskan writer, Christy Everett, who had a very early preemie named Elias. I checked her blog today to see if she had anything to say about Alaska's recent national notoriety brought on by Sarah Palin's role as VP candidate.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that she walked side by side with Sarah Palin in the recent March for Babies sponsored by March of Dimes (and that our family annually supports and participates in). Sarah walked holding her 1-month-old baby Trig, and she expressed great interest in Christy and Elias' story. My admiration of Ms. Palin just shot up dramatically when I discovered this information.
I also had a conversation earlier today with my friend Jolie, who pointed out the sexism in questioning Sarah's parenting decisions. I do believe that I would be asking the same questions if she were a man (as I also questioned John Edwards' decision to continue campaigning when Elizabeth Edwards had a relapse--no comment), but I do agree that there is a double standard going on. Many of the women on the blogs agree. One did point out that Sarah Palin has the luxury of having a stay-at-home dad to raise her children while she is out campaigning, and if she really put her money where her mouth was, she'd support programs benefiting low-income women and children, so every woman would have the option and support to work outside of the home and have adequate child care.
Can Sarah Palin call herself a feminist? In my opinion, a feminist supports equal pay for equal work and believes that women are inherently equal to men. I do believe that one can be a feminist and oppose abortion. How much room is there in feminism to support disagreement on the issues?
At any rate, tonight I will be watching Sarah Palin's speech with expectation, and from now on, I will criticize her only for her conservative views and not participate in any discussions about her parenting decisions or approaches. I still question McCain's judgment for selecting a right-wing conservative, anti-choice, pro-oil candidate with very no foreign policy or federal experience whatsoever, and I will continue to criticize her for falsely representing her record....such as this lovely little photo op, made public today. (She campaigned in 2006 supporting the "Bridge to Nowhere," even though she now denies it.)
But I do admire her ability to raise five children and work as a governor without losing her mind, and having the chutzpah to run for VP.
John McCain and His Adopted Daughter Bridget
I have to confess that I had forgotten about George W. Bush and Karl Rove's dirty tricks in the 2000 primary election. McCain introduced his adopted Bangladeshi daughter, Bridget, 8 years old at the time.
Then the Bush campaign (led by Rove) initiated a telephone poll in which the question was asked of McCain supporters: "Would you still support John McCain if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black baby?" They also mentioned that Cindy McCain had been addicted to prescription drugs. This smear campaign led to McCain's defeat in South Carolina, and Bush's subsequent election.
Bridget didn't know about the dirty tricks until last year, when she googled herself. Imagine finding something like that out on the internet!
It does show how politics have changed and how McCain is now the golden boy, because Bridget was just introduced in Minneapolis today, just when I was wondering where she was...
The reason the Bridget story touches my heart is that she was a sick child in Mother Teresa's orphanage and had an unrepaired cleft palate, and Cindy McCain brought her and one other baby (adopted by another family) home to the U.S. Cindy went on to serve on the Board of Directors of The Smile Train, one of my favorite charities, which raises funds to repair cleft lips and palates of children in developing countries.
As a cleft lip and palate baby myself, I've always been acutely aware of my lot in life had I not been born into the developed world.
So I tip my hat to Cindy and John McCain for adopting Bridget and for Cindy's compassion toward children who were less fortunate than her.
And shame on Karl Rove. It just doesn't get any lower than picking on an 8-year-old kid, not to mention the parents who were compassionate enough to adopt her and help her make a better life.