Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Palin (d)effect

The battle for the American precidency may be on between Obama and McCain, but the one who seems to be generating all the heat (and not necessarily the good kind) is Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate, brought into the race for the sole purpose of drawing in the female vote which the Republicans seem to be keen to latch onto, especially since Hillary wasn't the nominee from the Democrats camp. Startegically, this may turn out to be a smart move, but the logic could also be a double-edged sword, one that could easily cut the Republicans as much as they intend it to hurt the Democrats.

The very idea that women would automatically vote for Palin because she's a woman, should be, quite frankly, an insult to all American women. Firstly, not all of them believe in what she believes. Next, women who supported Hillary Clinton during the primaries obviously supported her not just because she was a woman (but I'm not so naive to know that the fact that she was a woman did have a major effect), but because of the plans and policies laid out by the Senator from the Big Apple.

Sarah Palin doesn't believe in the right for a woman to choose in case of a pregnancy. Now, being against abortion itself cannot be held against anyone, but the problem with the current Alaskan governor is that she is against abortion even if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest (or both). This is truly shocking and extremely disturbing, even for a someone (me, a guy) sitting in Bangalore, so I wonder why Americans (men and women) would support her, unless one considers the obvious implication.

Palin is a creationist and like several creationists, is hell bent on having intelligent design (a euphemism for teaching creation science i.e. origin of humans as per the Bible) taught in school. Now whether the version presented in the Bible (or any 'holy' book) is true or not can be debated later (and my views are pretty clear about this one, as most of you already know), but the fact that religion now could enter the portals of a school is not only disturbing, but it's also unconstitutional, going against the very meaning of "separation of church and state", which is an integral part and the underlying principle of the secular foundation of the American nation (and constitution).

Sarah Barracuda, as she's called because of her intensity, is also someone who hasn't supported the equal pay bill, which basically calls for women to be paid the same as men for equal amount of work done (this bill, I'm given to understand was, however, passed in July of this year). This might come as an absolute shocker to most readers that the United States, the lone superpower in the world today, has a women at the doorstep of the vice presidents office, who is discriminatory towards women! The concept of equal pay for equal work may seem to be something that we attribute to common sense without any opposition, but then again, this is America we're talking about, where common sense seems to be as rare as a four leaved clover!

When it comes to foreign policy, this is where I was tickled pink by Palin's reply (when asked what foreign affairs experience does she have). The reply was to the effect that she was the governor of Alaska, and that the north-eastern part of Russia is very close to Alaska! If you're wondering "is that it?", you're right, that's it, according to Palin. This kind of logic isn't used even by our lame Indian politicians. And also, I'm guessing she calls herself a hockey mom (ice hockey) because she can see Canada from her backyard!

An article from the Associated Press (AP) dated September 13 of this year has excerpts of comments made by a few women from diverse backgrounds who support her. "We liked her based on her freshness" was one comment. Fair enough, but is that enough of a qualification to want to vote for a VP? Adolf Hitler was an excellent orator, and mesmerised Germans with his speeches about the 'German pride' and the 'German volk' during the 30s, and got to power without any real opposition from the German volk, but look where he led them!

Another comment was, "I really think she represents the true American woman." Really? American women are against abortion even in the case of rape/incest? Does that mean the rape and incest are now unofficially (or worse, officially) accepted? They're opposed to equal pay for equal work? Do American women readily (or really) buy into the bullshit that being the governor of a state that is close to Russia automatically makes her an expert in foreign affairs? Or for that matter do they agree with Palin on any of the other issues I've listed above? This looks more and more like a campaign by a female member of the Ku Klux Klan and not a member of the Republican party (I know many of you who follow American politics would ask "what's the difference again?").

For someone who famously asked "what is it that a vice president actually does?", she sure has come a long way since she had a 15 minute conversation with a 72 year old, brain dead man, after which it was announced to the world that she would be his nominee for the VP. Sarah Palin may now be positioning herself for the Republican presidential nominee in 2012 (assuming this election doesn't go their way), but one thing is for sure: the Palin effect shows a large defect in the American thought process.

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