If you are currently undecided who you are voting for in this year’s US Presidential election, or if you are planning on voting for the McCain/Palin ticket, I implore you to read this post. I am going to try to be as respectful as I can while outlining why I find the McCain/Palin ticket objectionable and why I think you should vote for Obama/Biden.
Part I will discuss the McCain/Palin issues, and Part II will discuss the Obama/Biden issues.
John McCain voting against law requiring free rape exams
Yep. If you were to get raped in Wasilla, AK, you would have to pay for your own sexual assault exam. Talk about adding insult to injury – the cost can be anywhere from $300 to $1200. I believe strongly that the victim of sexual assault should not have to front the bill for her subsequent examination (in hopes of catching the perpetrator). That is just cruel – it is not her fault she got raped and I believe she should not have to pay for it as if it were.
John McCain struggling over Palin’s national security experience
Reporter: “Well, you say you’re sure she has the experience but again I’m just asking for an example – what experience does she have in the field of national security?”
McCain: “Sure. Energy. She knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America.”
As Chris keeps slyly referencing on Twitter, that statement alone should make you question McCain. Despite his total overstatement of her knowledge, it in no way was an actual answer to the national security question. We still don’t know what her experience is with regard to national security. This CBS News article expertly sums up why this interview was so pitiful.
Palin’s reluctance to talk to the media
And then there was Rick Davis. McCain’s campaign manager, appearing on the Fox New Channel, told Chris Wallace that Palin would not be subjected to reporters questions “until the point in time when she’ll be treated with respect and deference.”
Ripping the fourth estate for a perceived bias towards the Alaska Governor, Davis went on.
“She’s not scared to answer questions,” he said, “but you know what? We run our campaign not the news media… Sarah Palin will have the opportunity to speak to the American people. She will do interviews, but she’ll do them on the terms and conditions” the campaign decides. 1
“Respect and deference.” Respect I get; of course, I think she should have to earn it first, but I get it. Don’t be rude, etc. But deference? A word that, according to the American Heritage Dictionary means, “Submission or courteous yielding to the opinion, wishes, or judgment of another?” I’m not sure that Rick Davis thoroughly thought this word through before using it, because it sounds very much like he wants the media to ask soft, puff-piece questions based on Sarah Palin’s whims.
If this woman is going to be THISCLOSE to the presidency, I think the American public has a right to hear her speak. What are Palin’s people afraid the American public will find out? Why does it have to be on her “terms and conditions?”
Now that Sarah Palin has had an opportunity to speak to the media, we have further evidence that she has no idea what she’s doing.
Ms. Palin was clearly caught off guard when Mr. Gibson asked, “Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?” Seeking direction, and perhaps time to formulate an answer, Ms. Palin leaned back, smiled stiffly and said, “In what respect, Charlie?”
Initially unwilling to define the doctrine, Mr. Gibson said, “What do you interpret it to be?”
Ms. Palin asked, “His world view?”
Mr. Gibson said, “No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.”
Ms. Palin responded: “I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation.”
Mr. Gibson, finally defining the doctrine as “the right of anticipatory self-defense,” still struggled for a direct answer, asking twice more if she agreed with it before Ms. Palin answered: “Charlie, if there is a legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country.” 2
This exchange as well as several others during the interview (“NO SECOND GUESSING ISRAEL”) seems to indicate she had been coached with how to answer certain questions and Mr. Gibson obviously stumped her with one she hadn’t prepped for and did not understand. It says to me that she does not have enough knowledge about world politics to formulate answers for herself and instead has to resort to cramming formulaic answers as though she has an exam coming up. It’s fine to prepare for an interview. I have no problem with that. But I don’t think “preparing” should mean “memorizing pat responses to pre-approved questions” thereby having no idea what to do when faced with a surprise one.
This article quotes the NYT saying, “It said this was cause for concern. ‘Granted, this might not be something that your average hockey mom would know,’ it said, ‘but it probably is something that a commander-in-chief-in-waiting might have considered.'”
Sarah Palin’s agendas
The reason all these things irk me has to do with the concepts of forward thinking and striving for information – why would you willingly choose to stay in the dark?
I do not believe Sarah Palin had a list of books to ban. That’s been debunked. I do, however, find it objectionable that she (and others) still feel it’s an acceptable “loyalty” test to ask someone if they would be amenable to removing books from the library if asked to do so. That is censorship, through and through, and I find it incredibly offensive.
She says “Teach both.” Perhaps, then, if she is willing to inject religious dogma into public school classrooms (whatever happened to the separation of church and state?) she will not object to mandatory teachings of the Nordic origin of the world? Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? You cannot hand-pick Christianity out of the myriad of religions with creationism theories to sanction in public schools and still claim that you are separating church and state and allowing freedom of religion. I think it’s all or nothing on this respect. Anything else, and you look like you’re cherry-picking one creationism theory over others.
I really feel that your religious education should happen on your own time, not on the government’s. If you choose to send your kids to a private Catholic school, fine. It’s privately run. You want to go to church, or Sunday School? Fine. Privately run. Do not sneak religious education into public schools.
If your children can learn more about sex-ed so that they can make intelligent, informed decisions about their own activity, why would you instead prefer leaving them in the dark, taught only to avoid it at all costs, so that when they are faced with that kind of big decision they don’t even have the basic knowledge to protect themselves from either STDs or pregnancy? I can’t get behind that.
You can stress that abstinence is best. That’s fine, wonderful, even – saying it’s something special that should happen between two people that love each other and have committed to each other in marriage. However, it’s been proven that abstinence-only programs are not successful. With that in mind, if that teenager is going to choose to have sex, wouldn’t you want him or her to make an educated decision, not one out of fear and ignorance?
Both McCain’s camp and Obama’s camp have said that dragging Palin’s 17-year-old pregnant daughter Bristol into this is off-limits. However, I think she is relevant for the following reason: it undercuts Palin’s staunch support of abstinence-only education. If it’s so awesome and effective, how come her own daughter fell pregnant?
Slight derail about dragging Palin’s kids into the mix: It seems fine if it’s her son Track, who is serving in the military, or if it’s her infant son Trig, born with Down’s Syndrome, but when it’s her unwed pregnant teenage daughter it’s totally objectionable and off-limits. Irks me.
Opposing abortion even in dire circumstances
Personally, I think this is just heartless. Supporters of this notion often trot out the “don’t punish the innocent” line, but what about the “innocent” that got raped? Doesn’t her health and wellness matter (I am including mental health and well-being under this as well)? I understand that anti-abortion groups consider abortion to be murder – I get that – but how their arguments are framed sometimes make it appear that they value the life of the unborn more than the living and breathing person to whom this traumatic event happened.
If a 12-year-old gets raped by her abusive stepfather and becomes pregnant, I strongly believe it would make her living situation worse if she were to be unable to terminate the pregnancy and were forced to carry the baby to term. And really, what do you think her punishment should be? If you were to outlaw abortion and she managed to get one anyway, should this girl be fined? Given a misdemeanor? A felony? It’s murder, right? How’s about a felony charge for the 12-year-old rape victim? I just find it all so absolutely heartless. Let the poor girl terminate the pregnancy legally and get on with her life.
It also doesn’t make sense to me that someone would oppose abortion at all costs, yet have a problem with the government supporting an underprivileged family. Republicans tend to be anti-socialized-care (disagreeing with “handouts,” socialized healthcare, etc.) but what about the girl that was doing just fine until the baby came along and now has to resort to food stamps? They would oppose letting her terminate the pregnancy and then they would be upset that their tax dollars went toward helping this girl eat. Check this out:
Covenant House Alaska [is] a program that helps younger people, including teenage mothers. The Alaska legislature decided to allocate $5 million in building funds, but Gov. Sarah Palin cut that to $3.9 million with a line-item veto in June.3
They apparently care just enough to support the unborn fetus but not enough to support that unborn fetus’s mother, who ALREADY EXISTS. That pains me.
This year in American politics, I really believe we need something more than what Bush has given us for the last eight years. We need somebody who will fight for women’s rights instead of burying them; somebody who will push this nation forward in relationships with foreign countries instead of bullying and alienating them; somebody who will help get this country back on track. I believe this person is Barack Obama, and with the help of his VP selection Joe Biden, they are the team I am going to support this time around and I would urge you to do the same.
Next up: Why I think Obama is the right person for the job.