I Worthy, Sarah Palin?
a few thoughts about what I’ve learned ever since John McCain
showed the wisdom of his years in choosing Sarah Palin as
his running mate.
Like a lot of people—and this may be even more true of women,
though I know Sarah has impacted the lives of many men, as
well—my life has changed considerably as I learn more and
more about this incredible woman.
Nevertheless, I have to admit she intimidates me. She’s done
so much! If only I had had the insight or the gumption to
be a Sarah Palin so many years ago, who knows where I would
be now? Really, who knows?
For starters, I never realized that it could be effortless
to have a fulltime job and raise five kids. I mean, I only
had two kids and did my share of complaining. Ask anyone.
Check my e-mails.
Truth is, I was a single mother raising kids and maybe that
was the flaw right then and there. I wasn’t living in a one-man,
one-woman marriage. No wonder I was stressed. No wonder I
couldn’t fire a gun or pioneer a Latter Day Conehead up-do.
No wonder none of the other mothers nominated me for vice
president of the PTA.
I just spent my time wallowing in my ineptitude without realizing
that with every, every day I was growing in every, every way.
And surely, by the time I’d had five kids I would have gained
enough experience to know that it—it being even the
most incredible thing, like maybe becoming Vice President
of the United States of America—can be done. And done with
Makes me feel bad, actually. My kids are mostly grown now
and my mistakes are mostly made. I mean, look, I used to think
it was a really good thing that neither of them has gotten
pregnant. Now I just wonder if it means I hadn’t stressed
enough of a pro-life position in their formative years. And
if one of my daughters had gotten pregnant, would Dr. James
Dobson of Focus on the Family have been as supportive
of me as he is of Governor Palin and her brood? I think not!
Everyone knows that a single mother’s moral turpitude leads
to a direct correlation to promiscuity in the teenage years.
In other words, the pregnancy would be my fault, my own fault,
my own grievous fault.
So I don’t know. I now question the decisions I’ve made in
my life. I mean, why didn’t I have more kids so I could have
gained more experience in this role? I’m beginning to think
that if Sarah Palin had been a radio talk-show host addressing
the problems faced by contemporary women, I might have been
better at being a full-time working mother. I might even have
decided to run for elected office. I look pretty cute behind
Anyway, since Sarah’s ascendancy, my life has changed in other
ways, too. I used to think that sexism meant a woman’s gender
was being used as means to either enhance—but more likely—diminish
her stature as a human. All throughout Hillary’s campaign
I held fast to the notion that she was being unfairly treated
because she was a woman. I admit I cried during her concession
speech. I figured that if Hillary couldn’t do it, there was
no way in hell any other woman could.
Boy, did I get a slap in the face! As well as a re-education
on what sexism really is.
Here’s the thing: If you’re a woman, it’s not about what you
know. And maybe it’s not even about how you look—though pundits
never leave that bad doggy alone. It’s about grit. Whether
or you have it or not.
Now, now, wait a minute, ye Hillary-ites. I can hear you:
“Hillary’s the Queen of Grit. She knows her stuff, she’s tough,
seasoned, hard-working and holds up amazingly well in facing
the slings and arrows of the American political drama. Plus,
she survived her husband’s support during the campaign. We’ll
see her again in 2012.”
Dream on, babies. The grit I’m talking about has nothing to
do with knowing the issues or understanding what the duties
are of various elected officials (like the Vice President
of the United States). After all, to paraphrase Mike Huckabee,
Sarah doesn’t need to know that now. She’ll learn on the job.
She’ll hit the ground running.
So the grit I’m talking about is having the—which is it?—balls
or temerity to see herself as a trailblazer for women who
want to wear bold eyeglasses. It’s about recognizing that
it’s OK for a woman to avail herself heavily of braggadocio
as long as she can still claim to be not only a hockey mom,
but a loyal sister, one who lives by the words “God help the
mister, who comes between me and my sister,” and “God help
the sisters, who come between me and McCain.”
I mean, do I have that kind of gumption? No, I do not. And
I feel myself all the poorer for it. But I still believe there
is hope—for me, and for all women who think hard work, education,
experience and an open mind are the best qualities of a politician,
regardless of gender.
I don’t know about you, but Sarah Palin has changed all that
for me. She has raised the bar for what it means to be a woman
of gumption, grit, grooming and garrulousness. She’s become
a kind of new role model for me.
I’ve already talked to my hairdresser to see if she could
do the Conehead up-do. She gave me a strange look, but she
supports Obama, and before that probably Hillary. I’ve also
talked to my dentist about getting done whatever needs to
be done to get that Sarah-licious smile. He hasn’t gotten
back to me yet.
(And I’ve also dropped a few hints to my girls about teen-age
pregnancy. Like the Kawasaki 704 glasses, a pregnant daughter
may be the new de rigueur accessory. I know, I know—their
bodies, their choice. At least for now.)