Sarah Palin®, 44 years old and the first female to occupy Alaska’s gubernatorial office, is best known for her inclinations toward domestic drilling and her hard-line pro-life and abstinence-only stances. While Palin must be recognized for “breaking the glass ceiling” in Alaska, this is about the only definitive action she’s taken in her two short years of governing a state of only 670,000. To put this number in perspective, the entire population of Alaska is about one quarter of the size of Brooklyn. Considering her lack of qualification for a position that places her a heart attack away from the presidency, it’s bizarre and disconcerting that 72-year-old McCain chose her as his vice president.
One of Palin’s few achievements is her success in raising a large family while governing Alaska. But the way she treats her own brood reflects how she might treat the country if given the chance. The Palin family recently stated that their 17-year-old daughter is pregnant and will soon marry the 18-year-old father-to-be. The Alaskan governor’s attitude toward this situation reflects the general policies of the McCain campaign: antique and impractical. Just because Palin’s daughter is pregnant out of wedlock doesn’t necessitate the hasty marriage of the teenager. McCain and Palin are stuck in the mold of the past; what this country needs is the reinvigorated, the new.
With the Republican machine at his fingertips, it’s incomprehensible that McCain picked such an ill-prepared running mate. Many other qualified women with great standing in the Republican Party, such as Condoleezza Rice® or Senator Olympia Snowe (R–ME), would have made a more sensible choice. Instead, McCain chose a gun-toting, evangelical amateur—a political band-aid, if you will—to render a quick fix to his inadequacy in the eyes of the conservative right.
In addition to courting the right, McCain also wants to convince middle-aged, Hillary-supporting women that they can finally break the highest glass ceiling by electing a woman who, in actuality, represents the opposite of everything that Hillary stands for. He seems to believe that a conservative, religious, female mouthpiece will somehow trick a large percentage of the country into voting for him, and that the public is intellectually incapable of seeing through his political gimmick.
More significantly, it seems that McCain doesn’t respect women for their qualifications but simply uses their gender for political advantage. Is this McCain’s way of telling us that he believes women can be easily manipulated for political gain instead of being respected for their own career accomplishments? McCain has shown us that he doesn’t respect women, and that he will go to desperate measures to get himself elected, an occurence that would put our country at risk.
Electing the McCain-Palin ticket would reinforce the idea that women are easily manipulated and appreciated for one thing only—their sex. Our generation and our parents’ generation have been brought up to believe that if we worked hard we could be anything we wanted to be regardless of race, creed or sex. Electing this pandering duo would reinforce to every person in this country that the wonderful ideas that we have grown up to believe in are actually false, and that racism, sexism and blind superficiality are more rampant now than ever.