Tuesday, September 02, 2008

what I don't want to be when I grow up...

...A daughter of the Republican party.

I'm not talking about Bristol, either, though it pains me that the one thing NOT being considered is what her own desires and goals for her life might be. That doesn't mean I think she should consider aborting; but it does mean that her parents' assurances that she will marry the father of her baby shortcuts around the complicated issues of what her (and his) wishes might be, and any pragmatic issues attending a shotgun teen wedding. (blog post in the making, why all the discourse on Palin as mother pisses me off)

No, I'm talking about how I saw two other daughters paraded in public just now--silently, not even allowed their own voice--as props for establishing the beyond-divine goodness of the wife of the candidate for President. I'm very unsure how this is relevant to the Presidential race, unless it is a strategy for proving that by-association-John-is-holier-than-Barack. It's a great thing to rescue a baby from neglect and statistically probable death; believe me, I admire that with a fervor that is more than theoretical. And I'm willing to grant that there's nothing trumped up about this story of Cindy McCain snatching these children from the final embrace of the Grim Reaper. But is the quid-pro-quo getting dragged out onto a national stage to be the poster child for someone else's upstanding moral character? The final straw was waiting for this girl to speak, and at the end, HER story was READ by her father, whom she continued to gaze up at adoringly, rather reminiscent of the adoring gazes Cindy mutely gives John while standing at his side on stage. Appropriate, I guess, for a story in which she stars purely as a passive object from start to finish--helpless baby grown up into powerless pawn. Why do I suddenly feel like I am at a CofC devo listening to the mediated testimony of a girl to a mixed audience? There are no scriptures preventing the public speaking of a female at a political convention that I know of, (unless, well, we want to consider the RNC a de facto ekklesia?) Why am I subjected to yet another image of pliant American feminity as the ideal?

But maybe I'm just steaming because the woman who did address the RNC just prior to the daughter debacle kept referring over and over to her "fellow man." Or maybe that's just knowing your audience.

9 comments:

JTB said...

Laura Hays' thoughts on Palin here

Marti Stanley's here

martistanley said...

I'm with you. I wanted to sit through every night of both conventions, see what had to be said, make sure I had an open mind and educate myself both by listening to speeches and through internet research. YET, I could not take listening to what was being said tonight. Too many things just "bugged" me. I had to go take a shower to rinse off all the hatred I heard concerning the "other party". Now I am catching up on blog posts and enjoying myself!

And they are being used as props. Did you catch Cindy instructing the kids to wave to the audience when Fred Thompson was speaking? Unfortunately families in political situations are often used as props. But I don't think McCain can prove to be holier than Obama. After all, wasn't Cindy the mistress in his first marriage?

Anonymous said...

On the question of children being used as props at the Republican Convention:

Doesn't Sen. Obama have two small children? Hasn't he effectively been running for President for the past 18 months, schlepping those kids around with him? Didn't he allow them to pose for people or US Weekly? Michelle Obama also paraded her children on stage after she gave a speech that was all about the Obama all-American family? Is that using children like props? Does that make him less of a father or effective President?

"Too many things just "bugged" me. I had to go take a shower to rinse off all the hatred I heard concerning the "other party". Now I am catching up on blog posts and enjoying myself!"

Perhaps I missed the love-fest that was the Democratic Convention, but almost every Democratic Speaker lambasted Bush or McCain, talking about the "other party" in vitriolic terms. Again, what is the difference? Is it that you just don't like McCain supporters

JTB said...

first of all, though anonymous comments are allowed on this blog, I have a pretty low opinion of blog anonymity--too often it proves to indicate a desire to speak with impunity rather than responsibility.

actually, I think that the Obama daughters were not on the campaign trail with Barack and Michelle, but cared for by their grandmother--I can't remember the speaker but someone made the point that Michelle would not have joined Barack on the campaign were it not for knowing that their kids were being cared for by her. The first I ever saw of them was at the convention, and while they certainly appeared on stage with their parents (at least three times that I saw), no one made them the center of discourse. The Obama daughters have not been absent, but neither have they been paraded around. I'm sure it's hard to find a middle ground between denying your children the excitement of participating and protecting them from the overzealous media scrutiny--but I do feel that the stuff I heard last night paid insufficient attention to the matter of how that sort of storytelling involving the adopted girls might affect them, short or long-term. In addition, as I stated in the post, the manner in which it was done was grating on me, particularly because I am so very tired of seeing women standing silently by, even when it's their own stories being told. When the nomination of Palin is being touted as a quasi-feminist move, it was particularly galling to see how in these instances women's voices were muted or carefully calibrated to not upset the status quo.

Perhaps successive events at the RNC will make me feel better. I am planning to tune in again and see.

R-Liz said...

To be fair, I'm not sure there was a definite transition from the Devotional part of the convention to the Announcement part of the convention. That's probably why McCain spoke in place of his daughter.

JTB said...

in the interest of accuracy, it wasn't McCain who spoke for Bridget; John wasn't there that I saw, and Cindy and Bridget were in the audience. It was a friend of the McCains who adopted the other of the two babies she brought to the States.

R-Liz said...

Guess I should do my homework before I try to make a joke.

In all seriousness, I think many of us who have been subject to blatant and encouraged sexism for years and years suffer PTSD (not just Post, but Peri, too) when we see a man speak in place of/for a woman, even if intentions are sincere and not-supposed-to-be-usurping.

Perhaps that's why I was initially intrigued and kind of excited at the announcement of Sarah Palin as the VP nominee for McCain. ("At last!" my soul said quietly.) Since the initial announcement my excitement has cooled, and now I'm pensively waiting for more time and opportunities to get to know Palin a little better...

JTB said...

Yes, I think the Peri-TSD is just about right.

I really want to be excited about Palin...even if it would make the race more difficult for Obama, and if I could feel she were a good candidate who represented women well, I would be. So far what I've heard isn't encouraging, and I am not talking about the musings of liberal pundits either...I mean, what I've heard from her. She seems to be presenting herself in a deliberately non-threatening way, as if to say reassuringly, I may be breaking the glass ceiling and all, but I'm still really just a "hockey mom." It puts my back up, not least because of the creepy parallels I can identify in my own situation.

R-Liz said...

Yes, I understand what you mean, and it's been the words/statements of Palin herself that have caused my excitement to cooled. She seems vastly under-nuanced.