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Thoughts on Palin

Although most people seem to think of me as a partisan supporter of the Democratic party, I’m really an independent. I don’t vote based on party affiliation but based on positions. In practice, particularly in presidential elections, I’ve generally voted against a candidate rather than for one. In practice, the Democratic candidates have been the lesser or the two evils and, for president, I’ve never been able to vote for the Republican candidate.

I’ve already blogged about McCain’s having lost my vote. And, indeed, he’s done nothing to change that. Just how the Log Cabin Republicans can endorse him based on his atrocious record on LGBT civil rights issues is beyond me. But, that’s not the point of this post. The point is Sarah Palin.

Until last week, I’d never heard of Sarah Palin. That’s probably true for most people in the country. This isn’t, on its own, a bad thing, but it does mean that some education is necessary. When I do that education, the report card I come up with doesn’t get a passing grade.

Her record on LGBT issues is as bad as McCain’s. It is possible that her religious views, which are rather extreme, would negatively impact the country.

Some have said that her family should be off limits and, in general I agree. However, when she is on record as supporting abstinence-only education and also has an unwed pregnant teenage daughter, I can’t help wondering if she should be asked, “So, how about that abstinence-only education? How is it working out for your family?” It is clear that abstinence-only education doesn’t work and her own family is part of the proof.

She is praised for carrying a Down’s Syndrome baby to term and for not having an abortion, but this praise may be misplaced. Though I can’t find the reference at the moment, I recall reading that the information wasn’t known until the fourth month, after an abortion would have been legal making it a moot point. I don’t mean to belittle her choices or her family’s difficulties. Raising any child with special needs is a challenge and those parents with such children deserve our support. But, let’s be clear that this has nothing to do with the debate about a woman’s right to control her own reproductive destiny.

As mayor of a small town, it was written that she, a “fiscal conservative,” oversaw the biggest expansion of city government in the town’s history and left the city in debt that didn’t exist when she took office.

On the positive side, it is remarkable that both our major parties have had women involved in presidential politics. Unfortunately, Ms. Palin, was selected as a political tool to reach out to the most regressive parts of our society and not because of any particular qualifications. If there was any truth to McCain’s claims about Obama’s lack of experience, he lost the right to use it with this choice. Palin is less experienced than Obama and has arguably been a less than capable leader.

The thought that this woman could become president if McCain dies is sobering. Though little is known about her yet, she seems to represent the worst of what the most regressive parts of our society want.

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