Tuesday, September 02, 2008

NY Times on Mommy Wars: Special Campaign Edition

I went away for the weekend for a much-needed break with a group of girlfriends. Even if we had traveled over the summer, for most of us, this was our first time in a long time to have two or three days to put down our daily responsibilities and truly unwind.

And in those three days the news went wild! Sarah Palin was chosen by McCain, and the campaign storyline continued to sound more and more like an episode of Desperate Housewives (and yes, John Edwards, I am talking about you, too). And then came hurricane Gustav, too. It was all too much -- if this were a screenplay they'd say there was way too much crammed into one act.

Thankfully the hurricane appears to have been somewhat manageable for the residents of the Gulf Coast.

I have many thoughts about Sarah Palin swirling in my head, but I am behind the curve on a lot of my own Mojo Mom writing. So as I collect my thoughts, I will refer you to two thought-provoking articles:

The New York Times has "A New Twist in the Long-Running Debate on Mothers." Can Sarah Palin juggle 5 kids including an infant with special needs, a daughter becoming a new Mom herself, and joining a national campaign/possibly servicng as Vice President/potentially stepping into the Presidency? Strangely enough, it's conservatives who are saying Yes while some working Moms say No.

Also check out Rebecca Traister's piece "Palin, pregnancy and the presidency" on Salon's Broadsheet blog. She details the way that Palin/McCain are actually using the language of choice to describe their views on family situations. I don't want to see Sarah Palin's daughter's private life dragged into the campaign, but it is valid to examine the consistency of the public policies that McCain/Palin advocate and their thought processes about their personal situations. For example, what does it say about abstinence-only education if the curriculum does not even work for the Governor's high-school aged child?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm on a high (or low) horse on this one, but as I see it, this move and the resulting debate is not really about women, or motherhood, or families, or choice, or freedom to live your own life, but the disingenuous way in which her party co-opts and corrupts the truth of the matter for mere political gamesmanship. Her family circumstance is just one of the many obvious ways in which she is unprepared for this position. The selection is a shrewd political distraction that, if we are not careful, we will have to endure the damage from.

Can I be honest? This so transcends mommyhood.

12:07 PM  
Blogger MojoMom said...

The top quote for Palin on Google news right now is, "As governor, I've stood up to the old politics-as-usual, to the special interests, to the lobbyists, the big oil companies, and the good-ol'-boy network."

Whether or not that is true, when I heard her say that on Friday (that quote or something very much like it) to the Republican audience, I thought, "Who do you think you are talking to right now--they are the old-boy network."

It's all very confusing and interesting and exhausting, so I don't quite have my thoughts worked out yet, but I appreciate yours.

All specifics of the Palin scandals (Babygate, Troopergate, Bridge-to-Nowhere-gate, Who-Knows-What-Else-gate) set aside, I'd really like to see what cognitive scientist George Lakoff has to say about Palin's role in the GOP. What specific contortions does a woman have to make to fit into a leadership role in a Strong Father-modeled party?

Wow, actually I just Googled that and found that Lakoff wrote about Palin yesterday. Going to read that now....

This story is evolving so quickly that I wouldn't be surprised if Palin withdraws her candidacy by the time I finish reading the Lakoff piece!

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree--"confusing, interesting, and exhausting." It's hard to make sense of it, and it feels like watching a movie, which I don't like. I have always heard that these public dramas have something to teach us collectively, but what? It's all a bit sad to me--but I have this urge to go easy on Palin. Large scale politics have gotten out of hand. The whole Amy Goodman arrest left me speechless. She looked sort of shocked and scared and real and raw. Maybe that's how we all feel--on both sides of the political arena. It IS exhausting! But I guess it doesn't have to be.


12:44 PM  
Blogger MojoMom said...

Tara, I had not heard about Democracy Now journalist Amy Goodman's arrest until you posted your comment.

Glenn Greenwald is following the latest developments with regular updates on his Salon.com blog.

Thanks for alerting me to this situation.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Perri Kersh said...

Amy, I have to confess that I checked your blog frequently yesterday and was eager to get your take (I also obsessively checked DailyKos, Salon, and CNN to get the latest as this story unfolded). Thanks for the link to the Salon piece today. At this point, it all just seems so messy and confusing and like more of a political setback for women than a step forward. I'll be tuning in for your comments!

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also check out Bitch Phd's posts on whats been happening around the RNC

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Jeanne said...

Aren't you assuming that the governor's daughter received "abstinence-only" education? Or do you know that for a fact?

2:32 PM  
Blogger MojoMom said...

@Jeanne: According to reporting on MSNBC, Palin and McCain are on the record as supporting abstinence-only education. Palin also declared in 2006 that she would not support an abortion for her own daughter (14 years old at the time) even if she had been raped.

2:44 PM  
Blogger MojoMom said...

@Perri, I was in northern Vermont this weekend and it was wonderful. So remote that not only did we not have TV or internet, but not even cell phone service. I checked out for only 2 days and so much seemed to happen over the weekend.

Okay, off the internet and back to work writing offline for a couple of hours.

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As woman who was raised to believe that I could be anything, listening to "free to be you and me" and expected to get a college education I want to be excited about a woman having the opportunity to be VP. As mom who works full time I know how important the time that I spend with my kids is. For me balance is difficult, but important. Everyone mom has a different point at which they feel balanced and I respect that. However I feel that it is OK to acknowledge that this is a new situation. I believe that the spouses of other candidates with young children were already staying at home prior to the campaign. I think there was an understanding about how their families would be taken care of if and when they entered the White house. Sadly, I think it was expected that these fathers would just be absent when the country needed them. I do believe that there are many ways to lovingly raise a family and it does not always mean the Mother puts the most hours into it, but I would like to have an idea of how this family would operate in the white house.

5:24 PM  

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