I welcome Sarah Palin’s selection as McCain’s running mate for a mixture of reasons. From a political perspective I think her youthful inexperience and her female gender will weaken the Republican ticket (sexism, like racism is not dead.). And anything that makes it less likely that McCain will win is good news for me.
As a follower of the church’s peace and justice teachings I support Obama because he is committed to ending the Iraq war and to obtaining greater justice and equality for minorities, immigrants, the poor and those in need of healthcare.
Moreover, constitutional protections of the rule of law, ecological concerns and economic recovery will also be better served by an Obama-Biden administration. While Sarah Palin is a splendid young woman her election and her political positions, like McCain’s, would be harmful to the country —with the exception of her stance on abortion.
Palin’s membership in Feminists for Life and her family witness are positive and admirable. I also am a member of Feminists for Life and think that its “Pro-woman, Pro Life advocacy” is morally valid and the wave of the future. As a pro-life Catholic I agree with church teaching on abortion while affirming the equal importance of the other pro-life positions: against the death penalty, against euthanasia, against the war, torture, and unequal social structures.
Fortunately, with Sarah Palin’s public feminist and pro life stance it can be predicted that greater public attention will be accorded to the good work of Feminists for Life. Similarly inclined women will hear of this movement and be inspired to join up. And the ensuing discussions about what it means to be a feminist, and what are actually the most effective strategies to reduce abortions will be healthy.
For feminists of my persuasion it is important to puncture stereotypes and show that women’s different positions on abortion (or anything else,) are not determined by gender, but by conscience and conviction. I call myself a “gospel feminist.”
I admire Sarah Palin for unconditionally welcoming her Down’s syndrome baby as an unexpected opportunity to love and serve, rather than as a disaster. More selfishly, as an old working mother of seven, I am glad that Palin proves that having many children does not harm your health or your mental powers for getting things done.
This glowing young woman gives the lie to certain disease models of pregnancy and childbirth that tend to taint discussions of women’s reproduction. The greater truth is that having children enlarges your mind and heart and contributes to women’s flourishing—especially in old age when grown children and grandchildren enliven the scene.
So in my ambivalent accolade to Governor Palin, I must shout: Bravo, Bravo, Sarah! May you live happily ever after, and decisively lose the coming election.