Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska is now the Republican candidate for Vice-president. This news made the women I know — pro-life, fiscally conservative, desperate to have a good female role model in politics for our daughters — extremely happy and proud. When the announcement came I gathered my older daughters around the small kitchen television set and explained to them that this woman with five children, with a loving husband and strong commitment to her family had a very good chance at becoming our next Vice-president. I told them that this was history in the making and I encouraged them to watch her and learn that it is possible to be an uncompromising, tough politician and still be motherly, feminine and approachable.
It did not take long for the criticism to start pouring in from the Democratic Party. That is to be expected; they must have been as shocked as the rest of the country at Senator McCain’s brilliance in choice and timing. The talking heads were quick to point out Palin’s lack of experience in foreign policy and youth as drawbacks. Perhaps their time would have been better spent reading their own candidate’s resume and slinking off to a corner to ponder the irony of it all.
There has been a great deal of discussion about her lack of foreign policy experience in comparison to Senator Biden, the other candidate for Vice President. True, he does have more policy experience. It doesn’t mean he’ll get it right should the need arise. I have had a driver’s license for over 20 years and a lot of experience driving. This doesn’t mean I’m qualified to drive a cab in a busy, confusing city. There is no guarantee that I would get anyone, anywhere in a timely manner. Biden might have a lot of years under his belt but it doesn’t mean he’ll get us to the right place.
I saw a few criticisms on blogs and websites saying that a woman should be home raising her children. The fact is that God has given some woman extraordinary talents and skills to be used. There are women who are called to serve in a more visible way. To change the world not merely one diaper at a time but one country at a time. Our faith is blessed with many examples of holy women who have simultaneously raised families and worked. Venerable Marie-Zelie Martin, mother of Saint Therese of Lisieux and Saint Gianna Molla leap to mind.
Sarah Palin has been an elected official for 13 years. She has accomplished a great deal for the city she governed and for the great state of Alaska. She cut taxes, routed out corruption and started a process which will result in a natural gas pipeline being built in her state, benefiting the entire country.
She did a lot of this while pregnant. Speaking as a woman who has also been pregnant most of the last 13 years I can honestly say that some days my biggest accomplishment is watching my feet swell. After her brilliant speech accepting the job as a running mate to Senator McCain, Palin, her family and the McCains were interviewed by People Magazine for the upcoming issue. The interviewer was asked to wait a few minutes while the governor changed a diaper and located her breast pump. This is obviously a woman of boundless energy and a great ability to organize her time. Mothers all over the country can relate to this and we smile. We are perfectly willing to wait a few minutes for the sound bite, speech or appearance while a mom changes a diaper, bandages a boo-boo or looks over a beautiful picture. These are the things that unite us as women.
Governor Palin, while raising a beautiful family, has been called upon by God to use her great skills and talents to benefit not just the community in which she lives but the entire nation. This is a woman who when facing the diagnosis of a Down Syndrome child chose life and love and did not consider the criticism that might come her way from the radical feminists who worship at the abortion altar and believe any child that is not physically perfect is not worth having.
Governor Palin is a true feminist that the women of this country can be proud of, that we can point out to our daughters and say you can serve in office or run a corporation or work out of your home and still make your family and its values a priority. You can have a career and serve God, do his work and remain a feminine, charming woman. You do not need to compromise.