Lipstick Politics

CNN aired a very though provoking segment on today's "This American Morning". The segment was in response to blogs and critics debating on Sarah Palin's credentials and whether she was fit for the No.2 spot. Sure, why not? As Obama says, why should she be treated any differently? After all, everyone has seen how when a candidate announces his/her run , the whole world starts analysing his/her voting record, foriegn policy experience and so on.

But the strange thing is how Sarah Palin has come under attack about her ability to perform her VP duties while also being a mother to her five children. Why isn't anyone questioning if Obama, for instance, can perform his duties as a president while also parenting two young kids , now 10 and 7? Why should the rules be any different for a woman? So maybe she is nursing now, but how is this different from any other job that women have held? I personally find this accusation that she is somehow less qualified solely because she has an infant sexist.

But this also reminded me of a conversation I had with some friends some weeks ago. Three of us, one fresh from India, were walking around in Penn's Landing. For those of you who don't know , Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love has a beautiful bridge connecting Pennsylvania and NJ with parks, docks and entertainment et al. It is like the Newport of Cincinnati. Anyway, as we were walking around, we saw two gay guys go at it. The scandalized friend started wondering out loud about homosexuality in general. As I recounted the lives and marriages of some of my gay friends, I pointed how many gay men were positive role models, adopting kids from countries like China, India and Guatemala and being doting fathers. It was at this point that the one could not take the concept of a child being raised in a two father home, and that it was somehow more acceptable if a child was raised by two mothers.

I for one, completely disagree. A child , boy or a girl requires both role models - a male and a female in a household. The concept that somehow one parent is more important to a child's upbringing than the other is intrinsically flawed.I was raised in a two parent household, and like any other family , we have our share of flaws. But at 25, I thank God for both of them. While my mom gave me my emotional stability, values, ability to love and societal interaction standards, my Dad gave me the faith - he taught me to never stop dreaming. He taught me how to be an eternal optimist, and he gave me unshakeable spritual strength that has seen me through tough times. In summary, both male and female role models are pivotal in shaping a child's view of the world.

Now, while it is tempting, I am not going to discuss how our culture influences these gender stereotypes , leading to such notions that a woman's primary role is somehow within the family as a mother or a wife, no matter if she is a heartbeat away from the US presidency/vice-presidency, whereas a man is judged solely based on his political career.

Sarah Palin gets judged based on her hairdo, the length of her skirts, her beauty pageants, her children's pregnancies,and her Downs syndrome infant. Now, don't get me wrong, the question about how she will balance her life and work is a legitimate question for a concerned citizen. But why isn't anyone asking her husband what his role will be when/if the family makes the transition from Alaska into the Beltway?

After all, this question has been posed to Michelle Obama multiple times over the past year or two, and here is what she had to say "I think it's a unit that raises a child. As far as I'm concerned in this couple, Barack is the person who has the skill, the inclination, the desire, the ability, to be in politics. I have no desire. So that's a good thing, in my view, since someone has to be focusing on the kids -- and that's me. But it could easily be him. There's no reason why the nurturing has to come from Mom -- it just has to be there.. And if Mom is president, that's cool, as long as Dad or someone is going to their baseball games, is listening to their stories and their issues. There's got to be someone in a kid's life who makes them feel central....

..And if Barack is fortunate enough to serve this country as president, we will be honored. But it will be a hard transition for those little girls. They'll be going on 11 and 8. They'll be leaving the only home that they've known. Some one's got to be the steward of that transition. And it can't be the President of the United States. It will be me.( Courtesy : LHJ)"

So what is Todd Palin's take on how he will support Sarah Palin and her family as she transitions into her job ? Isn't it high time America asked that question?
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