Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Palin speech thingy and another, entirely separate topic only tangentially related

Settle down there, Scaredy McSkyisfalling.

Yes, Sarah Palin gave a decent speech and she is clearly comfortable with public speaking (she did go to sportscasting school, after all). And yes, I would still hit it.

But the thing is: As was made clear in this speech, she will only appeal to the hard cultural right. As people learn more about her, moderates and independents (i.e., the 6-8% of voters who're gonna decide the election) will be aghast at her views on creationism in schools (for it!), sex education (against it!), banning books (for it!), Jews (against them!), the bridge to nowhere (for it! against it!), animals (against them!), global warming (for it!) and on and on. Hers is not a resume built to appeal to swing voters.

The main thing I took away from last night’s culture-wars-igniting speech is that I really can’t see how she’s gonna persuade any undecided voters. Her best (and only) hope is to increase turnout among the religious right -- people who wouldn’t have voted for Obama anyway.

Those were some really nice images of the Palin family, though. I’ll give her that.

And speaking of her family (Ed. note: That segue was money. Watch how the rest of this post has little-to-nothing to do with what you just read!), there’s something I’ve been meaning to write about, but I wanted to hear her speech first.

In case you haven’t heard, Sarah Palin recently had a child, Trig. And surely if you heard about that, you heard that Trig has Down’s Syndrome. And surely if heard about that too, then you must also have heard about how the Palins knew about this condition, but decided to have the child anyway.

If the boldface didn’t give it away, it’s this last part I’d like to draw attention to. I know we’re not supposed to talk about candidates’ families blah blah blah, but I’ve been hearing about this Down’s baby all over the place. And Palin herself even made a point of bringing it up last night:
“And in April, my husband Todd and I welcomed our littlest one into the world, a perfectly beautiful baby boy named Trig. From the inside, no family ever seems typical. That's how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other ... the same challenges and the same joys. Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. And children with special needs inspire a special love. To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.”
This is a woman so extremely pro-life that she opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest. (She would allow it only if the mother was sure to die if the pregnancy continued. What a saint.)

That’s why all the praise being heaped onto Sarah Palin by groups on the right for having the “courage” to birth her child grates. This extra dose of adulation for a woman whose decision, in her eyes, came down to this:
Have the baby, or murder an innocent, helpless human being deserving of full human rights (IHHBDFHR).
Hmmm. If that’s how she viewed it, it sounds like a pretty fucking easy choice. Why should she get further credit because the baby had Down’s? She gets no such credit for not killing the other four. But because Trig was handicapped, are you telling me that might’ve made her more willing to slaughter her IHHBDFHR?

And shouldn’t it be the opposite, anyway? If someone decides to kill an IHHBDFHR directly because they found out it was handicapped, doesn’t that make that person even more morally culpable? What, your baby isn’t “normal,” so for that reason alone you decide to kill it?

Pro-lifers who “decide” to have their child even after finding out it has some disability do not deserve additional honor or glory. Rather, it seems to me, those pro-lifers who decide to end their pregnancy upon receiving this news should be set aside for particularly harsh scorn and shame. That’s some big-time, literally life-or-death hypocrisy.

If, as the the statistics say in the above links, 80% of unborn babies diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome are aborted, and America is way less than 80% pro-life, that means that a shitload of pro-lifers are snuffing their IHHBDFHRs. That, I would think, should be where people’s attention is focused. Why don’t we hear more about this on FOX News?

Sarah Palin is pro-life. That’s fine. She thinks life begins at conception. Okay. She thinks all abortions are innocent-baby executions. Ergo she does not deserve any extra-special credit for giving birth to disabled Trig, a.k.a. not killing her child.

(For the record, this isn’t aimed at Sarah Palin. I think it’s great that she brought Trig up and drew attention to special-needs children. It’s aimed at those on the right telling me how noble she is and using this as an example.)


Faith said...

Ok I'm going to try to not make a huge essay out of this but to add to what you were saying, I hate that the McCain campaign and other conservatives are using Palin's children as political fodder. I also think it's HUGELY hypocritical because what they're really saying is: She's got a baby with Down's Syndrome and she made the choice (I'll come back to that in a minute) to have the child (and you've already adeptly pointed out that she should get no bonus points for that), and Bristol also made the right choice to have her baby even though she's not married and only 17 (and abstinence only sex education is clearly worthless), also her son is shipping out to Iraq and they're so proud of him, etc etc etc. But god forbid someone else wants to bring up her children because then they are off limits.

Take this quote from an article on about the announcement of Bristol's pregnancy and how the right is rallying around Palin:
"Before, they were excited about her, with the Down syndrome baby," conservative, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist said. "But now with this, they are over the moon. It reinforces the fact that this family lives its pro-life values."

The Republicans are all too happy (as illustrated so amply by Norquist) to use Palin's children to advance their agenda but they've spent the past week jumping all over "the media" from high places about their yellow journalism (I think they need to stop considering US Weekly "journalism") for writing stories about Palin's family. McCain has deliberately kept his family (specifically his sons who are also shipping out) out of the limelight. And I respect this decision. I also respect Barack Obama for saying that family is off-limits. But I have to wonder if the Republicans would have shown such restraint if the tables had been turned. What if Chelsea Clinton had gotten knocked up while Bill was in office? I can only presume, based on the Republican's stand on it now, that they would have maintained a respectable distance. Riiiiiight.

And now back to that whole "choice" thing. I'm not sure where McCain and Palin get the nerve to go around talking about how both mother and daughter made these choices when they think that every other woman in America should be denied this right to choice.

Ok sorry for hijacking your comments section.

Open Bar said...

Jeez, Faith, can I have the last hour of my life back?

But srsly, what happened to being anti-premarital sex, too? What kind of message are we sending to young girls? Go be a slut, don't use birth control, get knocked up by some redneck douchebag, and you too can be the daughter of the Vice President!