Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The VP Next Door

I'm still working through all my thoughts (and blogs) about Sarah Palin. One theme that keeps running through many of the articles is the how Palin's "normalcy" will appeal to the suburban mom.

Her daughter’s pregnancy highlights another part of Palin’s appeal. Her normalcy. Here’s a woman who has run a business, raised a family, who is sending a son off to Iraq, who has another son with a disability, and now has to help her teenage daughter face motherhood. These are experiences that millions of American moms have shared, can relate to and understand.

Sarah Palin is as accessible as Obama is exotic. Her life story is simultaneously exciting and mundane. All the way from Alaska, she comes to America as The Girl Next Door.

I may get into a bit of trouble for saying this, but I'm a suburban mom so here goes. It's one thing to relate to Sarah Palin's struggle as a mother and quite another to know that she could be struggling with them as Vice President of the United States. Normalcy is a good quality in a friend, but is it a desirable quality in a leader?

As a voter, I want to be reassured that Sarah Baracuda is sturdy and capable, ready to handle the demands of being vice president. I want to know that she's as confident in her decisions 3 AM as she would be at 3 PM . As a mother, I want to be reassured that Sarah Palin is sometimes stressed and feels inadequate and can't handle the demands of life. I want to know that at 3 AM she is the one who rocks baby Trig back to sleep, leaving her a bit incoherent and in need of a Diet Coke at 3PM.

Motherhood is a calling which can’t be ignored and worthy of respect just like the Vice Presidency. Sarah Palin risks disrespecting both. If she appears too confident as a leader, she risks appearing less normal as a mother. If she lets us know she struggles as a mother, she risks appearing less capable as a world leader.

It's a tough act and the election may hinge on how well Palin balances the role.

As mothers, we want to know that our leaders are confidently watching the world, so that we can peacefully rock our babies baby to sleep - just like the mom next door.

The old saying goes, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, but do we want the hand that rules the world to be rocking the cradle the night before?

Previous posts on Sarah Palin:
The audacity of home.
Worth a second look?
The NEA praises Palin

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