Thank you SNL and Time’s Nancy Gibbs


During the Democratic primaries, I was one of those 18 Million people who voted for Hillary. After learning more about Obama and his wife, and Joe Biden, I am still on the course to elect Obama. Even days after John McCain announced Sara Palin as his pick for the V.P., I kept repeating to myself: “stay the course, stay with Obama”. But, recently, there has been talk about who Obama really is for not picking Hillary.

Now, after watching the SNL skit with Amy Poehler who played Hillary and Tina Fay who played Sarah, I am really pissed. Amy and the writers nailed it by having the Hillary character say what we’ve all been thinking. Hillary worked so hard and then out of blue comes a woman, that NO one knows and did little work, who is now one seat away from the White House. Isn’t it crazy to think the amount of energy, time and sexist crap Hillary put up with for the last 18 months, and now she has to watch a female possibly become the next Vice President? What happened, Obama? I can understand that you had no idea McCain would pull one out of left field. But still… you could have been the one.

I am still on the course with Obama, but deep down inside, I am thinking and feeling exactly what Nancy Gibbs of Time Magazine is. Check out her editorial from Thursday, September 4, 2008.

“Can Palin Escape the Parent Trap?”, By Nancy Gibbs

Almost overnight, Sarah Palin replaced Hillary Clinton as the screen on which we project our doubts and hopes about women and success. In noisy public forums, everyone seemed suddenly certain of beliefs they used to reject: of course a woman can manage five kids and the vice leadership of the free world, said conservative defenders previously known for asserting a woman’s need to submit to her husband. Of course she has no business putting her family through this, said liberal opponents better known for insisting women should submit to no one.

But in quieter places, such as my inbox and my subconscious, there has been nothing like that kind of certainty. Instead, it has been the conversation that never ends — the one about how we juggle and who we judge — and I don’t think I know any woman, working or not, who feels she has gotten it exactly right. I do know we share a deep revulsion at having choices made for us and values thrust upon us, which is why Palin has our instincts tied up in such intricate knots.
We are accustomed, after centuries of experience, to ambitious fathers whose parental failures are glossed over and swept under the rug by devoted wives and complicit courtiers; we only learn about the train wrecks of famous families when we read the memoirs. When a man at the height of his powers announces he will be Spending More Time with His Family, it translates as: he messed up big-time, didn’t have what it takes.

But now we are presented with the unfolding complexity of an ambitious woman, one prepared to be Spending Less Time with Her Family, to play by the boys’ rules, to break the glass ceiling Clinton softened for her. I couldn’t help thinking as I watched Palin’s debut that she was the most macho candidate we’ve seen in years, the point guard turned sportscaster aiming her M-16, shooting her moose, taking on the good-old boys. And yes, balancing BlackBerry and breast pump, with a beautiful family that includes a son heading to Iraq, a pregnant teenage daughter and a 4-month-old with special needs. She’s willing to put Country First. Should she be punished for doing something we reward men for doing?

Just to complicate the picture a little more: the week before the Republicans gave us Sarah Palin, the Democrats offered up Joe Biden as a man who could feel my pain; who, after his wife and daughter’s fatal car accident, had to be talked out of giving up his Senate seat because he wanted to be at his sons’ side; who, if voters know nothing else about him, know that he takes the train home to Delaware every night and has never missed a soccer game.

So I come back to the moment when John McCain invited Palin to become the first woman on a Republican ticket. Together they could make history, perhaps make the world a better place. I have to wonder: Did she know her daughter would become a late-night punch line? However unconditionally supportive, did she tell Bristol she’d have to stay backstage or hold her baby brother in pictures in a way that hid her own baby until a media strategy had been set for telling the public her most private secrets? Ordinarily, such revelations are choreographed well in advance — only this time, there was no advance. The pregnancy was something of an open secret in Alaska, where respect for privacy and small-town sympathy may have allowed a governor to imagine that the impact would be minimal. But America isn’t Alaska, and the national stage is no small town. McCain may have given her a chance that women have been waiting for years. But he has also been through this before, faced the kind of scrutiny for which nothing can really prepare you. Did he warn her about what lay ahead?

We don’t really know Sarah Palin and can’t possibly know what calculations and compromises she has made. We do know one thing, however: She was given very little time to make this choice. Every working mother lives a life of what-ifs and should-Is, birthdays missed for the important meeting and meetings missed because a child was sick. Yes, many men face these choices too, but it’s mainly the women in my life whom I hear agonize over them, applauding friends who make the hard climb but also those who walk away. We still don’t have many role models, because both professional success and successful parenting take so much time and heart and sweat and sleepless nights. So it’s hard to watch an accomplished woman walk the tightrope under lights this bright and with stakes this high; we don’t want it to look too easy, but we don’t want to see her fall.

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