Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dream on...

If Sarah Palin has managed to “have it all,” then bully for her. But this mom doesn't think mothers should have to work that hard. (Palin in People magazine: "What I've had to do, though, is in the middle of the night, put down the BlackBerries and pick up the breast pump. Do a couple of things different and still get it all done.") When it was 2:00 a.m. and I wasn't nursing my daughter, I just wanted to sleep! I thought Super Moms went out with the 80s!

Mommy Wars and the Super Mom debate just distract from the real issue: Parental care of young children is a full-time job like any other, and it's time that society recognizes that. A single or married parent who chooses “in-home employment" should receive a livable wage with full benefits (health insurance, pension, etc.) until the last child reaches age ten or so.

Real choice begins with financial independence. When a person has children, they should also have a realistic option of full-time in-home, part-time in-home, or full-time out-of-home employment, depending on their interests and skills, without risk of financial dependence on a spouse or partner. Parental care of young children is a job like any other and should be treated as such with parent-friendly policies that make real choice possible.

In an age when more than 5-8 years in the same job is considered a long time, job market reentry after care of young children is not necessarily the employment handicap it once was. Consider it a mid-life career change and help parents plan accordingly as most of us voluntarily or involuntarily do already, with mixed success. Parenting is hard work. Why not make it a little easier with job pay for stay-at-home parents? It can be done if we as a society have the will to do it.

I know…not in my lifetime. But perhaps in my daughter’s.

Wake up, America!

Normally during an election, I have fairly strong opinions about the candidates I like and the ones I don’t, but resign myself to accept the ones I don’t if they win the election. That’s just the “downside” of democracy.

But this election, I’m very worried. I feel we have a chance to turn things around so I’m positive about that. But I truly wonder if we, as a country, can afford an Obama loss. There are so many pressing problems…national debt, trade imbalance, inadequate or no health care, poor quality schools, a never-ending war…you know the list…that can no longer be ignored or mismanaged. If we get another Republican president, especially a narcissistic opportunist like McCain or a hard-line ideologue like Palin, for another 4-8 years, I really don’t know how we can survive it. At best, we’d have an executive-congressional stalemate, and, at worst, more of the same if Republicans win back the House and Senate.

Our international standing in this era of globalization is shot: the rest of the world (even non-terrorists!) hates us and our national economy is such a mess that other countries will soon refuse to finance our debt any longer. I know it’s political heresy to say so, but the U.S. is neither the world’s moral compass nor economic powerhouse it once was. I’m not saying that all is lost and that we’re “nothing,” but we’ve just got to start looking sharp, demanding more of our leaders, and getting our house in order, or everything will be lost. I feel such despair when people don’t seem to understand or care about the big picture and just vote for an entrenched icon who promises more of the same and a former beauty queen who looks and sounds good on TV. It makes me weep.

Wake up, America!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Is Palin a feminist?

Depends on your definition of feminism, I guess. If you define it as "working for a wonderful world for women," Palin is a disastrous specimen. If you define it as "equal opportunities for women," do I dare say we've entered a post-feminist world where I as a feminist and "vagina American" (to quote Samantha Bee) and Obama supporter have the opportunity to reject a female presidential candidate and vice presidential nominee, guilt-free of gender considerations? Not bad, I guess.

Who is John McCain?

First he bashes the Republican Party. Then he peddles warmed-over Bush. Now he’s fanning conservative fanaticism.

With apologies to Shrek, I suggest he’s an onion. His POW story may make you cry, but as you peel back the layers, there’s nothing at the core. All his campaign has given us are desperate acts of a determined cynic who will do anything to be president.