Mel was asking in her Friday roundup where everyone has been. After my posting frenzy in August (!), I know I've been kind of quiet myself lately -- here as well as in comments elsewhere. It's been a busy few weeks, getting back from vacation, covering for others who were still away; farewells & welcomes at the office (students & others leaving us, & their replacements arriving). Also, I've been joking to some people that first it was staying up late to watch the Olympics, then the Democrats, then the Republicans, & that this week will probably be my first decent night's sleep in nearly a month, lol.
Of course, being Canadian (albeit one with an American-born mother & lots of American relatives), I can't vote in the U.S. election... but U.S. politics has a huge impact on Canada, so we can't help but take an interest here. Plus, your election is infinitely more interesting than ours -- which was just called today for Oct. 14th. (I am sick of it already, lol.)
Speaking of the conventions, they're the subject of a lot of interesting posts I've been reading lately. I think my favourite was Io's, because it touched on a pet peeve of mine -- the elevation of the cult of mommyhood, to the detriment of those of us who have not been blessed with a family.
Even before I read her post, I had e-mailed myself a New York Times story about Sarah Palin that caught my attention (and raised my hackles) with the following paragraph:
“I admire her intelligence and I admire her integrity, but first and foremost she’s a mom, and she has an understanding of what being a mom is,” said Janet Kincaid, a grandmother and Republican who last summer opened her lakeside Wasilla home for a $20,000 Palin fund-raiser.
Forget the question of whether six years as a small-town mayor and not quite two years as governor is enough experience to assume the vice-presidency (&, by implication, the presidency) (let alone how well it stacks up against Barack Obama's political resume). She's not JUST a woman! She's a MOM!! -- that experience trumps everything else in some people's opinions. I guess that means politicians who don't have kids (whether they wanted them or not) had better pack up their marbles & go home, hmmm?
I have blogged about this before, long before convention season -- and I realize that most parents do this unthinkingly -- but so often when they talk about various aspects of parenthood, the implication is often made that if you don't have kids -- for whatever reason -- you're simply not as important or valued a member of society. Your personal time is not as valuable, your extended family demands are not as important, your reasons for leaving work early are considered less "legitimate" than similar requests made by parents.
We all tend to seek common ground with the people around us (that's why one of the first questions you'll likely be asked when meeting someone new is whether you have kids). And we all like to think of our political leaders as being "people like us."
Political candidates have long relied on their families to present a positive public image, to some extent... but the consideration of a self-proclaimed "hockey mom" for the second-highest office in the U.S.A. seems to be elevating the question to a whole new level. Does family status really matter in a political candidate? Should it? Are childless/free political candidates at a disadvantage?
I'm still mulling over these questions, but I'd love to hear what you think.