Monday, September 1, 2008
Palin as both Mom and VP: A Conflict?
I was reading the comments to fellow blogger Ruth Anne Adams' post of the photo of Sarah Palin juggling blackberry and baby, Costco wipes nearby(below). Ruth Anne lauded the "Costco Conservative's" multi-tasking expertise. It's a VP pick I heartily endorse--and that, in fact, energizes not only my excitement for the ticket, but the hopes and chances of the entire Republican party.
But the comments expressed severe reservations--objections, in fact--to Gov. Palin's willingness to run for Vice President while the mother of a Down Syndrome infant just four months old, her son Trig. It appeared the moms who wrote in, one with a DS child herself, felt the VP campaign and position conflicted too much with Palin's primary responsibility, mothering her baby.
While I honor those women who choose to make motherhood their primary time commitment, I respectfully disagree that Sarah Palin's vice presidency will automatically mean Trig gets short shrift. In fact, the photo that triggered the disparaging comments, from McCain daughter Meghan's blog, didn't show Gov. Palin with cell phone and blackberry and laptop--no, it was moments after the announcement of her candidacy and there she was--holding Trig snugly close to hear body, near a recognizable pack of Costco wipes. In the exciting moments immediately after addressing the nation, Sarah Palin's first instinct was to reach for her babe. She's no neglectful mom.
I recall with fondness and nostalgia the late puppeteer and educator Shari Lewis, (Hush Puppy, Lamb Chop) who I was honored to call a friend. She took my husband and myself on a tour of her home once, and proudly showed off her photos with her daughter's brownie troop. She was doing her national TV show at the time, as well as speaking and writing books, but she had been the one to organize and lead the troop. "It's always the busiest mom who you can count on to get things done," she commented.
I suspect Sarah Palin is one of those "busiest moms" who gets the most done. She's a physical fitness buff, and keeping in shape alone adds endurance and mental acuity. She raised her four older children successfully while climbing the political ladder in Alaska. And importantly, she has an egalitarian marriage, where her husband is comfortable staying available and nurturing--in his obviously macho way--as a complement to the kids' clearly involved mom. This is a lady who started her leadership through the PTA, through support of her children's educational welfare, not with the plan of a political career. I daresay that the officers of the PTA who I've known spend just as many hours dedicatd to the welfare of others as any Vice President does, only with less national recognition.
What I like about Sarah Palin is that she's direct and natural. She's as comfortable with that blackberry as she is holding Trig close to her heart. She's a lady who embraces opportunities and challenges just as she embraces her children, and that includes her son with Down Syndrome. While I cannot speak for parents of Down children, I know that each child requires special nurturing in his or her own way. With a dad on the scene and caring auxiliary help, which the Palins surely have--not to mention the devotion of siblings who clearly adore their baby brother--there's no reason why Trig cannot thrive. As Sarah Palin said the moment she gave birth and gazed at her new son four months ago: "He's perfect." And it's that attitude that treasures and expands on God's gifts that makes Sarah Palin so appealing as our next Vice President.