I like Sarah Palin!

I’ve been reading the headlines (not the articles) and listening to the coverage on NPR. I have been DYING to ask my die-hard Alaskan friends what they think, but they were in China for three weeks for the Olympics and so I’m trying to give them a little bit of time to recover.

Today on the drive home I was really conflicted on the biggest media question of late – how can she be a good mom AND be vice president. I’ll admit that as I was driving I really went back and forth. After moving beyond the initial reaction of disgust of pandering to women, I thought maybe vice presidents don’t really do much – visit some foreign countries, attend meetings, entertain, etc. Sure the job isn’t 8-5, but surely she will have the flexibility to adjust her time to be with her family at different times on different days. Flexibility is one of the best benefits of my job (it surely isn’t the paycheck) – mostly I’m home for dinner, sometimes I’m home for breakfast, and sometimes I have time to volunteer in the classroom or in Cub Scouts or something else.

This question of her ability to mother while working 80+ hours a week would not be asked if her children were all over the age of about 14. As a mother of a 7 year old AND as a woman who was single from his infancy to midway through his fourth birthday, I know how hard it is to work full-time and be the parent I wanted to be.

This train of thought brought me to this – she is NOT alone. Furthermore, she quite frankly has a lot more experience than I did/do juggling kids, work, hockey practice and church. (The fact that I don’t attend church is irrelevant here.) It appears as if she and her husband have worked very hard at creating a family that loves and respects one another. (Did you see little Piper licking her hand and smoothing her baby brother’s hair during the speech?)

I started to think, well, I certainly would not be very good at raising three younger children and working 80+ hours a week. Then I thought that just because I may not be good at this doesn’t mean that she is not. In fact, I reminded myself of women I know all over the campus I work on who have more than two children and find a way to have a vibrant family and work life. Is it a struggle sometimes? YES. Does it feel like they are failing sometimes? YES. Do they work hard to feel like they are succeeding more often than they aren’t? ABSOLUTELY. These kids happen to be growing up with incredible role models as well…particularly the girls who talk about going to college to be whatever they want to be when they are 4 years old.

Then I started to think that she may make a fine and capable Vice-President, but what if she became President. (Note: the fear is NOT that she is a woman, but that she would have to balance a young family and the free world.) Then I remembered how I made it through Jack’s infancy as a single mother working forty hours a week AND finished a graduate degree. Did it feel sometimes like I was going to crumble under the pressure or die from lack of sleep? YES, but it was important to me, so I figured out a way to get through it. Sarah Palin, I’m sure, would do the same.

So, tonight I watched the speech truly wanting her to show me she was capable, intelligent and ready. It didn’t matter that there was no way I was going to vote for McCain/Palin, but I still wanted a woman to prove that being a mother of young children and being the Vice-President were not incompatible.

WOW! I truly believe she is supremely capable though she may not have a lot of national experience because I believe she is intelligent , adept and willing to learn, ask questions and figure it out. (She is a mother of 5 – she can figure just about anything out and organize just about anything and handle the sure to come disasters.)

I feel like I LIKE her because I feel like I know her. Her family is not perfect. They have good times and bad. She was mayor of one of the most beautiful towns in Alaska in my opinion. (There is no way to NOT be in awe as you drive into Wasilla from the north.) She is a small town girl who grew up to be a leader and a hockey mom. I’d like to believe that if I still lived where I grew up, I would be like her – a leader and a hockey mom. She looked beautiful and polished, but I’ll bet that if you caught her first thing in the morning, she would not be beautiful and polished. First thing in the morning, I am definitely not beautiful and polished…come to think of it, those words never really apply to me.

I like her despite her politics. There is no chance in hell that I would vote for a pro-life conservative christian, but I still feel like we could be friends if our boys were on the same hockey team.

Job well done. I’m so glad, Sarah, that you knocked it out of the park! It appears as if the pandering to women resulted in an incredible running mate who is far more than her gender.


Different School, Different Candidate

Yesterday in class, Jack’s teacher took a poll – McCain or Obama. In our old town, the hands down winner was Obama and Jack would come home saying how great Obama was though he knew virtually nothing beyond his name and face. Jack informed me yesterday that almost the whole class rose their hand for McCain, but he still raised his hand for Obama. He said he was switching his candidate since most people want McCain. I told him that Obama was better because he was about helping more people and just because everyone else thinks someone else is better, doesn’t make it so. I said you don’t worry about what other kids think; you just do what you feel is right. He said he would stick with Obama.

I can’t believe I moved from a mixed race and socio-economic neighborhood into white suburbia and now send my kid to school with a bunch of little republicans. To boot, I drive an SUV.  Of course, there are advantages, but there was something about the white kid thinking it was absolutely normal that not EVERYONE looked and talked like him.