Friday, September 5, 2008

Personal Choices and Observations

I admit, I did not watch a single bit of the Democratic National Convention, however, I did watch a part of the Republican National Convention. Usually I tend to avoid politics, or assert my opinion online. Most of the discussions I do have are usually with friends, but mostly with Patrick. When Senator John McCain announced Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, my immediate thought and reaction was that he chose Ms. Palin because she was female. If you think about the strategy McCain initiated, such as waiting for Obama to announce his running mate, Senator Joe Bide, then yes, McCain laid it out very well. He chose a female Vice Presidential candidate to attempt to sway the blue collar middle class Americans and Hilary Clinton supporters who are both still undecided.

After Sarah Palin finished her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, I sat and thought about the presentation and execution of the speech. Personally, I think she is a fantastic orator, and that she comes across with non-complicated phrases, appealing to the majority of America. Her speech was clean, simple, and straight to the point. I enjoyed listening to her speak, but that does not mean I support her, nor does it mean that I agree with her simply because she is a woman and I am as well.

What is disturbing is watching the local media and national media report on women simply flocking to McCain, who may have been Hilary supporters, claiming they are now willing to vote for McCain-Palin. There is form, and then there is context. If you are a feminist of any sort, then congratulate Sarah Palin for "running" a household and holding a job down at the same time. Her social conservative values is perhaps the biggest point of turning me off to even think of voting for McCain and Palin. Palin is against having the option or choice in deciding whether a woman would consider an abortion or not. She wants to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which I hold very dear to my heart. Personally, I probably would not choose to have an abortion, but it is not to know that the government is not interfering in my personal choice. As a feminist, how can you possibly consider voting for these candidates? Second, she was chosen by Senator McCain to be his V.P. She is still subordinate to him. McCain isn't intimadated by Ms. Palin as she clearly demonstrates her submission to McCain. Maybe that's why Hilary was not considered to be V.P. because she simply did not see herself being ranked second any longer. (Clearly she has established herself away from Bill after the scandal, but perhaps not in the best of ways). Sarah Palin briefly acknowledged Geraldine Ferraro and Hilary Clinton as setting the way for women in politics. While I do not view Hilary as the most prominent female figure (since she stuck by her husband's side after his infidelity), I must say that she represents "feminism" (I will use this term loosely), more so than Palin.

Though I hold no personal grievance towards women who, in their own means are successful, choose to stay home and raise their children, I have to wonder, with Palin's social conservative views, how she can maintain the image of being a mother and Vice Presidential candidate. It isn't as though Palin only has to take care a single child, there are three children that need the proper attention, and one with down syndrome (which requires even more attention then usual). And if Palin is presented as being the answer to conservative women who are progressive in their rights, how is it possible to support a woman who is forcing someone to marry her teenage daughter? I am not saying that what the teenage boy did was right, but forcing two people into a marriage, when they are clearly not even ready to have a child into marriage? Single mothers dot the country, and there are many women who were able to just fine with the support of their loved ones. And what about forcing her pregnant daughter into the spotlight constantly? Just let the child be. We don't need another Jamie Lynne Spears fiasco. This also shows that the abstinence only sex education clearly did not work for Ms. Palin's daughter.

In general, I thought the speakers on Wednesday night were so-so. Huckabee was perhaps the best orator of the guest speakers. A theme I noticed at the Republican National Convention was experience. There is no doubt in my mind that John McCain has the political experience with foreign policy knowledge. And there is also no doubt in my mind that Governor Sarah Palin severely lacks experience on several levels. What just bothered me was how they kept touting how much experience McCain has over Obama, and that you want experience to guide you in a time of crisis. This is why McCain should be the next president, because he has the experience.

I'm sorry, but last I checked in 2000, the Republicans nominated a Governor from Texas who had no foreign policy experience, and who also, gave complete biasness to programs that were faith based. And his education program of "No Child Left Behind" should not be brought up to those who teach. So as the RNC erupted with chants of "zero" I found it highly amusing that these same exact people elected George W. Bush into office, electing him to be the presidential nominee in 2000, which John McCain also ran for. And in a time of crisis, it was Bush who led the country after 9/11, who, did the Republicans forget, did not ever serve in the armed forces. His record conveniently lost, or disappeared thanks to his good friend Alberto Gonzalez. So why not McCain? He had the experience? What happened there? Oh yes, it was because he was moderate, and that of course trumped every accomplishment he had ever done up until that point.

But perhaps, what bothered me most was the energy crisis and the search for black gold (a.k.a. oil). As I scoured facts, blogs, and information regarding offshore drilling, drilling in the Artic Wildlife National Refuge and harvesting oil shales, I kept shaking my head with this people who believe ignorantly that there would be some relief provided. As it stands from the Department of Energy, Americans consume roughly to 18 million gallons of oil per day, contradicting the CIA world fact book of 20 million gallons consumed. Conservative pundits believe that drilling for oil would alleviate gas prices at the pump, in a short amount of time. And they also tend to gravitate towards the higher number, instead of using the median. What people do not realize is that, even with oil apparent in certain areas, there is time consumed in constructing the facilities and hiring the proper people. There is a difference between was is estimated to be available versus how much oil is left over after going through the processing phase. And people also tend to forget how much energy is expended in order to process petroleum. Conservative pundits like to believe that, if we drill, explore shale, or construct off shore platforms that we will have oil readily available for the short term, and they also like to believe that our consumption habits will remain steady, which is does not. The United States consumes more oil per capita than most nations in the world, and we still have relatively lower prices per gallon, like Canada who happens to be one of the U.S. suppliers. Obviously, countries like Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. have cheaper prices because of the vast amount of oil supplies in their region. We have to think, even with these resources, say 15 billion, what will the actual economic reserve be after the production process? And we must calculate the consumption level, and consider if OPEC would try to some how neutralize the prices of oil if the U.S. began production again.

Anyway, I'm done talking. This is way too much politics for me to handle. But one last thing, do I believe that sexism still exists? Yes. And do I think that it's sexist to be critical of Sarah Palin's balancing of parenthood and politics? No. Joseph Biden was a single parent after his wife's death that injured his sons and he considered stepping down but was convinced otherwise. I have no problem or qualm with Sarah Palin being in office with five children, I just think it goes against many social conservative beliefs. But again, this is all just my opinion.

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