When I first read of McCain's pick for vice president, I laughed. It's struck me as ironic that the Republican's would nominate a woman for vice president when the Democrats, self-proclaimed advocates for woman's rights, treated Hilary Clinton with such severity. I did some light reading on her. You would think that feminists would be thrilled at the prospect of a woman vice president. Instead, the articles I read dripped with vitriol. Apparently, her pro-life position means that she isn't truly representative of women. Aside from an obvious lack of experience on the international scene, her politics seemed to be in order. Pro-life, pro-family, an apparently average woman, just what the Republicans need to give Obama a run for his money... or at least make the American election a little more interesting.
Then I had a chat with my brother. He mentioned the fact that her teenage daughter was pregnant and she had a six-month old baby with Down's Syndrome. (She also has an older son and a 7 year old daughter.) I am loathe to say anything about the situation with her daughter, since not only do I not know the entire situation, the girl is 17 and even the best mother cannot prevent rebellion completely.
But, I did start thinking about her young baby.
He's six months.
He has Down's Syndrome.
I just have to ask: why isn't she at home? Isn't she pro-family?
More reading revealed that Palin has been a career politician since about 1992. (If Wiki is wrong, please send me the correct information.) In other words, she's never been a stay at home, at least not for any length of time. She's always had a career, mostly in politics.
How can she claim to be pro-family when she hasn't spent the proper amount of time looking after her own?
Some will ask: "Well, what is the proper amount of time and who are you to judge?" and so on.
The proper amount of time maybe debatable, but the minimum is certainly until they are in school. A career ought to come second to the needs of one's family.
About half of all the information a child will need for the rest of its life is collected before age five. This has huge implications for things like the environment we choose to place our children in and discipline. Only parents can truly parent their kids properly. Outside help and/or daycare is not a substitute for proper parenting. Nearly all early childhood research that I have looked at shows that children placed in daycare do not bond properly with their parents during the critical first five years of their life and as a direct result develop poor social skills, have disciplinary problems, are more inclined to inappropriate aggression. These things, like it or not, do affect them later on in life. In fact, I can honestly say that I haven't found a single work so far extolling the benefits of daycare for children. All are negative. (But, should anyone know of anything, by all means send it to me.)
This brings me to the fact Palin claims to be a devout Christian. Since I don't know her, I can't question the sincerity of her walk. However, I would certainly ask whether or not she has thought through some of the implications of being a Christian when it comes to raising one's family. We confess that "children are a gift of the LORD, and the fruit of the womb is a reward." (Psalm 127:3) If this is true, then as parents, both mothers and fathers, we ought to make our families a priority over a career. The Bible does give us certain directives on how we are to raise our children, especially as regards teaching them the things of God. (Deut.4: 9,10, Deut. 11: 19, Ps. 34:11, Pr. 1: 8, Pr 3:1) If at least one parent is not at home then someone else is teaching your children. You need a way to guarantee that the primary caregiver is teaching your kids what God would have them learn. Even if your kids are with your parents this may not be possible. Even if your parents are Christians, you may have differences in opinion over theology or more practical applications of the Christian walk. It definitely will not happen if your child is out in daycare or under the care of unbelievers.
I would also argue that if a woman cannot properly care for her family, which is relatively small, can we be assured that she will be competent in caring for the country? Scripture indicates that the ability to lead one's family well is a prerequisite for leadership in the church (see 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1). I think Christians can fairly extend this test of fitness to government as well. If you can't parent, can you properly govern? Should you govern? Perhaps your time is wiser spent dealing with your family problems first. Govern the country when your affairs are in order.
It must be noted that I do not take issue with women who must work in order to feed their families. I recognize that in a few cases, if both parents do not work, the family will not eat. However, not only are these cases relatively rare in this country (generally if both parents work, it is to sustain a lifestyle) it is definitely not the case for Sarah Palin.
It has bothered me to no end the uncritical support I see conservatives throwing Ms. Palin's way. Generally, people are over-joyed at her strong pro-life stance. Being pro-life is all well and good, but I am sorry to say it is not the only relevant issue. You cannot gloss over her many defects just because she champions a cause you feel strongly about. Yes, she is pro-life. But is she truly worthy of the title pro-family?
I would argue not.