Sarah Palin – what a year she’s had.
I was thrilled to learn about Palin when she was first chosen as McCain’s VP. She was a breath of fresh air: a non-stuffy woman who espoused conservative values. She was pro-life but not dowdy. She took on her state’s establishment to fight for smaller government, all while raising five kids. She was a dynamic speaker who didn’t tempt me to nod off.
I took my daughters to a local rally where Palin appeared. She was charismatic and relatable, and it was wonderful for my girls to see a woman who had risen so high in our male-dominated system.
In short, Sarah Palin seemed too good to be true.
The media decided she was. Within days of her appointment, they began tearing her apart, a la Dan Quayle. Myth after myth was written about her, and although they’ve largely been discredited, the memories linger.
Why all this vitriol towards Palin?
My take is that since she didn’t fit the media’s template of what a woman politician should be (liberal, pro-choice), they decided to rip her to shreds. While I feel that her policies in Alaska were fair game for the press, the amount spent on her campaign wardrobe should not have been (when has a male candidate’s clothing EVER been discussed?). Neither should her supposed lack of experience (we elected Barack Obama President with less executive experience).
Then there’s the whole Bristol issue. The online world was still abuzz with the rumor that Sarah’s son Trig was actually Bristol’s baby, and Sarah was just covering up her daughter’s teen pregnancy! When, lo and behold, Bristol turned up actually pregnant. You know the media had to love that one: “family values party” teen pregnancy drama. There hadn’t been any news so great since they learned Dick Cheney’s daughter was a lesbian.
Regarding Bristol and her baby, I can only feel sympathy for Sarah. As a fellow mom, I know that you can do everything “right” for your kids: teach them values, take them to church, eat dinner together as a family, heck – sing Kum Ba Yah each night – and still they can make choices you’re radically opposed to. It’s called life and free will.
As for Palin’s political future, I’m not optimistic. While I feel she would be a capable President, I think the media has so damaged her that her reputation has been irreparably harmed. It’s been my experience that most people just pick up the line that the media is feeding and make it fact: Palin is stupid (Katie Couric interview! Tina Fey!), Bush is bad (war monger! stupid!), Dick Cheney is evil (controlling mastermind! shot a guy while hunting!) – I could go on.
For better or for worse, in our current culture it’s difficult for a conservative (male or female) to get a fair shake. Hopefully, Sarah Palin can be the first of many steps toward progress in that regard.