Monday, September 8, 2008

What's her motivation?

Political ramblings musings from an ex-drama major
(Very long post ahead!)

I am not very surprised that there are so many mommies out there with conflicting thoughts on Sarah Palin's decision to run for Vice President. She is pro-life. She's a woman with children. She did not choose to kill her unborn child when she was told he would be born with an extra chromosome. But she is also a working woman, shouldn't she be putting her family first? I have read many different opinions written about these concerns written by mostly mommy bloggers (I refuse to read any of the dribble coming from the MSM) and have refrained from weighing in with my own opinion until I gave myself the chance to reconcile it in my own mind.

So, since this is my blog, I get to share my opinion now and I hope that anyone reading this who does not share my opinion will give it the same open minded consideration with which I gave everyone else's.

My first reaction was "WHOO-HOO SHE'S PRO LIFE!!!". Which is true. She is the most pro life candidate on any ticket right now. But she is also a working woman and would I be contributing to taking her away from her family or subconsciously contributing to the feminist ideology that a woman can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan (so what if she has to have a nanny clean the pan, stock the refrigerator and raise her children while she does it)? This one is a struggle for me because I grew up in a working woman family. My mom worked, my grandmother worked, all my aunts worked. The only SAHM I knew lived down the street and everyone always wondered what in the world that woman did all day while her two kids were in school? Making the decision to care for the feeding, clothing, and education (both spiritual and physical) of my children at home was a slap in the face to the women in my family. But it was a decision I thought was right, so that meant that their decision must be wrong; because we women all know that we are looking for the right answer and things tend to be so black and white in our little worlds. ; )

Here is where the title of this post comes in. I have been guilty of assuming that all working moms were an insult to the vocation of motherhood. I think it was a strong reaction to the destruction that the feminist movement did in tearing down motherhood, but a pendulum that swings just as strongly to the opposite side is still just as far removed from moderation as the first movement. I was wrong. Motivation, or as our faith calls it, intention, makes all the difference between eternal damnation and a slap on the wrist should a bus drive over us before we have had a chance to confess our wrongdoing. Some working moms are doing it for the paycheck and not because they desperately need it in order to put food on the table; rather, these moms want to pick up the pretty clothes from the dry cleaner, put the freshly pedicured toes in the fancy shoes, and to put the new hand carved dining table in the ginormous formal dining room that no one ever sits in because the grownups are always off trying out the latest fancy restaurants (who has time to cook anymore?). It is pretty obvious that these woman are working to maintain a lifestyle that doesn't seem to be centered around the needs of their children.

But life is not always that black and white? Does Sarah Palin's choice make our choice invalid? Does supporting her decision negate mine?

Not all jobs are "just a job". We have been so conditioned to believe that all politicians are career politicians when they actually should be public servants. Think of the founding fathers. They were farmers, land speculators, merchants, doctors, scientists and even a college president. They believed in serving the community by formally separating themselves from the tyrannical rule of King George. It is this notion of "public servant" that is what makes Sarah Palin different than some power babe on the fast track to promotions and perks.

Let's look at her motivations or intentions... When her oldest child was in school, she joined the PTA, which this former public school teacher can tell you that the best way to make sure that your child does well in all of their school experiences. From there she ran for city council. Not the makings of a career politician, just a woman interested in her community. Her duties rarely took her away from her children during the time they were not in school with the exception of twice a month meetings most of which start in the evening. I've known some moms who are away from their kids more than that because of Bible Study, Familia, Scrapbook Circle or Stitch'N Pitch. Heck, I leave my kids with their father sometimes to go exercise, shop for groceries, or just get a cup of coffee! Again, does this sound like the makings of a career politician? Not to me. In fact, Sarah Palin's background was in journalism, not exactly one of the fast tracks to political life. She then ran for mayor, governor and well, you know the rest.

Some of these things happened while she had small children and for that some mommy bloggers are condemning her for putting the needs of her children last, for proving that a mother can be replaced in a child's life. That's true. A mother can be replaced in a child's life and sometimes God asks that of us. My grandmother was raised by her mother, but some of her younger siblings called a different woman "Mama". Little Peter Torres's father has had to replace the presence of his mother, Susan, who passed suddenly and tragically. I do believe that the best situation is one that allows both parents to be the primary care givers for their children and since most women are better suited to a nurturing role, then they would be the best ones to nurture and care for the youngest children, however this world is fallen and best case scenarios are sometimes few and far between. But notice, I said "MOST". There is a big difference between saying "the best place for most women is caring for their children at home" and saying "a woman's only place is in the home". To determine what kind of role God has for us in the world; sometimes we have to ask ourselves that question that some actors utter ad nauseum, "What's my motivation?"

I don't believe that Sarah Palin's intention was to be a career politician. I don't believe that her intention was to put her job ahead of her family. It's pretty hard to find a picture of her anywhere without them! I don't believe that Sarah Palin is motivated by the same self centered desires that some other women who have been in a similar position are.

But even if you do... even if you believe that Sarah Palin's story is a slap in the face of the vocation of motherhood. Even if you believe that voting for her is in some way contributing to taking her away from her children, I ask you to consider this:

The abortion issue.

The pro-choice liberals have banked their entire gruesome platform on the lie that an abortion does not kill a child, because they know that no one would agree to killing a child. It can't be a child, a baby, a person; it has to be a blob of tissue or a fetus. Their whole world comes crumbling down around them if it is a child, a baby, a person with rights. What if this is bigger than a working outside the home vs. working inside the home issue? What if he is calling Sarah and her family to make sacrifices for the sake of His Kingdom? What if God knows that this is the only way to crush the head of this ugly serpent? Could a pro-life man make this kind of impact? What if it has to be a woman?

If Rosie the Riveter hadn't gone to work, would we have won the war against The Nazi's? Ladies, the abortion issue is a war and it is being waged against the most innocent of God's children. Children like Trig Palin are being eradicated from the face of this earth in huge numbers. In 2002, 91-93% of all positive Down Syndrome diagnoses ended with a dead baby. If Sarah Palin's life, career, family and example helps eliminate that percentage, then she has my support!
"...we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and ... a servant's heart. I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States." ~ Sarah Palin


  1. This is a great post! I believe you are right, that "God knows this is the only way to crush the head of this ugly serpent", just as He knew that Mary would be the mother of Jesus.

  2. Great post, Charlotte. These are the words that I have been saying (yelling), in frustration, to the computer screen when I read articles where Palin is criticized for not being at home. Many women work for reasons that have nothing to do with necessity -- they want a big retirement account, they want power, or they just want to get away from those sticky little fingers all day long! I agree that Palin's motivation appears to be making a better America; I hope that she has the opportunity to do so! God bless her.

  3. Wonderfully written, Charlotte! I had the same concerns and thoughts and you expressed them so well here.

  4. Nicely done. I completely agree.

  5. I agree also. Very well put. I believe women can combine work and family life. Not everyone can but some can. I think Palin has done it beautifully. Pope John Paul II in his Letter to Women calls us all to be a part of our community. We need women in the workplace because of the unique qualities we bring.

  6. Wow, you are beautifully articulate. Thanks for a fabulous post. I support Mrs. Palin but didn't have the great words!

  7. I feel the same way you do. And in the end, even if you don't agree, it does boil down to abortion. I don't condemn other women for expressing doubts or concerns, we all identify, but there is no excuse for not voting for the McCain-Palin ticket. There is too much at stake. I understand voting for the no-chance-pro-life candidate when there is no viable alternative. You don't "throw away" your vote by sending a message, and, in fact, pro-lifers have been very effective at that, but this is NOT one of those instances. George Bush, is the same middling pro-life as John McCain and he gave us 2 good Supreme Court Justices, albeit with a bit of pressure. Senator McCain promises to do the same, and Sarah Palin is both an indicator and ensurer that this will happen.
    But one of my favorite parts of your post, Charlotte, was that you kept you comments open. Thank you so much for keeping your comments open. I have been very disappointed by the wonderful mommy bloggers who felt compelled to express their contrary opinion, but would not allow for anyone else's. I understand that it is their blog, their prerogative, and the fact that they didn't want to take time away from family by moderating argumentative comments. I still think that if you feel principalled enough to post an opinion, you should be brave enough to allow others to persuade you to see their point of view. Less than brave behaviour from some otherwise amazing ladies!

  8. You have written your thoughts well. I wish I could write so beautifully.

    I agree with you 100%. It's more something that I feel and less something that I could articulate. (If you know what I mean). I do feel for her family, and believe that they will all need our prayers if they win.

    She has a beautiful family, and the way she touts them, it's not like they're in her way. They are along with her, and she seems so proud of them and her very supportive husband. I keep saying that without her family's support, this would never work.

  9. They are along with her, and she seems so proud of them and her very supportive husband. I keep saying that without her family's support, this would never work.

    This is actually a point that I think you made better than I did. Some people keep saying "she is a mother of five and should be at home with them". Well, technically, she is mother with only three still at home (Trak is off to the military next week and Bristol is going to be married soon), her husband is a co-caregiver as he should be, AND she takes those children with her. I think this motion that "a woman's place is in the home" is only a visceral reaction to the feminist notion that a woman's life is wasted in the home. Really what we should be saying is "children should be raised by their parents in an environment of faith and love"... who are we to say how a couple prayerfully chooses to follow God's will in accomplishing that?

    And regarding the other third party, totally pro-life campaigns out there... God Bless them but they don't stand a chance. I truly believe that there is no way a man can make an impact in the war against abortion like a woman can. The old guard feminists have made this a woman's fight and it is up to us new generation women to stand strong against them!

  10. A wonderful post. No drama - just a lot of good thinking! I expect the left to hate her, but it is the nonsense coming from the right that is particularly painful. The same moral purists would have found it morally impossible for God to call St. Joan of Arc to be a soldier. It HAS to be a woman for this kind of witness right now. You are absolutely correct.

    What God wants, he wants, and the gifts he gives to each are wide and various, so I think we need to leave individual consciences to judge prudently how it is best to live out a vocation.

    A lot of it is jealousy too, and a bit of envy. They see a strong, happy, effective, attractive woman and are a little insecure about their denim jumpers, Birkenstocks, and the seemingly quieter witness of a life spent at home. But, girlfriends - it's ALL GOOD. God needs all types to make a world that serves all types. Nature, and the supernatural that builds upon it, admits variation.

    Our daughters will be a lot happier if we learn and accept this, and really free to grow into what God intends them to be.

    Thanks, Charlotte!

  11. Well said.

    I think in general the best place for an infant is with his mother... wherever she is. That ay or may not be the home. Sarah Palin seems to agree. She has a swing and a travel crib in her offices and carries the baby in a sling. (Piper seems to have been a regular presence in her mother's office as well.) She even seems to be committed to nursing him. And he seems to be lucky enough to have plenty of other arms to hold him in those times when she can't: loving big sisters and a nurturing father. What a lucky little boy! Just look at all the pictures of him and his family. You can tell he is well loved, probably spoiled rotten. Certainly he doesn't seem neglected.

    I loved watching her acceptance speech with her family in the background. The visual sign of her children gathered around her is exactly what this country needs. Changing the laws in necessary but the real way to end abortion is to change hearts. We have to convince those mothers whose children are diagnosed with Downs and other issues that they can and should keep and treasure those children. We have to support young women when they are faced with pregnancy out of wedlock and convince them that they can be mothers. Sarah Palin doesn't just tell people to do these things, she leads the way by doing them. God bless her and her family.

  12. Perfectly expressed! I agree with you %100 ~ and have been saddened at the self righteousness that has masqueraded as Christian womanhood in some of the vitriolic comments I have seen posted in response to this well-reasoned perspective. We are praying for Sarah and her beautiful family, but especially praying for our country!

  13. She even seems to be committed to nursing him.

    Good point Melanie! And nursing a child with Down Syndrome is even more difficult! They often time don't have the musculature and coordination to do it well but he sure looks like he's thriving to me!

  14. This IS a great post! Tracy at Pinewood Castle has a post today on her views too.

    I read your blog, but do not comment here very often, so I hope it's ok to leave my 2 sense.

    I personally know some women who are mothers but have that drive inside them and they give into the drive and feel they need/have to work outside the home. They still love their children. Even though I do disagree with that for myself, I do have to give Palin credit for having that drive and still remaining pro-life, keeping her babies and having more! If she can do it, more power to her. How many women (including the women I mentioned above) go for their careers and only have 1 or 2 children and maybe the 3rd and then they are done? All the working women I know do. SO what a great example Palin is for that type of woman. She is having her cake and eating it so to speak.

    I'm not calling Palin a saint, but didn't St Elizabeth Ann Seton work? Didn't St Gianna work? If the saints can do it, surley a woman who is not a saint can.

    Thanks Charlotte, this was a great post!

  15. Thank you for posting so eloquently on what is, for many, a heated and passionate issue. I think you've brought some clarity to the debate, which is desparately needed.

  16. Excellent post, Charlotte! It saddens me to see women attacking a wife and mother, one who is valiantly struggling to balance the needs of hearth and home with a call to improving the lives of those around her. Many women have no difficulty whatsoever pursuing this "ministry" or that "ministry," justifying the time they spend away from home as doing "God's will." Sarah Palin is not parenting alone, she is part of a team. By all accounts, theirs is a functional family, not perfect, but seemingly loving and cooperative. These people have been living in the limelight for quite awhile already. There has to be a great deal of mutual trust in a family that is willing to subject itself to the microscope of public scrutiny. How well would the rest of us hold up?

    The Palins are challenging the status, pro-family, pro-marriage. Note: the parents are supporting the MARRIAGE of the two new parents...this really irks the single-mom brigade.

    I say, God bless her and her family! I'll be praying for them...

  17. Terrific post, Charlotte. Thank you!!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!