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Talk to Me (Us All) About Palin: Open Thread

I very sincerely, without judgment, and with an open mind, would like to know why you support Sarah Palin. So I thought this blog, which has the potential to reach many people who have differing political views, would be the best place to ask.

Because, really, I don’t much care what pundits say, and I am tired of sitting around trying to put thoughts in other people’s minds when those people are so different from me I can’t help but admit I’m shooting in the dark.

So I ask you: If you’re a Palin supporter, or if you have insight into why folks support Palin, please leave a comment and let me, and all of us, know why. I may ask you questions, but I will not argue against you, and I ask everyone who participates to do the same. There will be nothing but respect, here.

(Just in case, I’ll throw out there now that I’ll moderate comments with a heavy hand if it becomes necessary. But I know y’all will play nice.)

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Carrie

let me preface this by saying that I do. not. support. Sarah. Palin. ahem.

but. I think some conservative voters like her stance on abortion. They like that she's a born-again Christian, and will bring those kinds of “values” to the White House. Some look at her record in Alaska and call her a reformer, so they think that she will bring change (and she's not “establishment” since she hasn't been on the national political scene.) She's “just like you and me” – folksy, down-home, gun-toting. etc.

If you lurk in the McCain/Palin support groups on Ravelry, you will hear more. But be warned – the political groups on Rav are all very, very heated right now.

blondechicken

I'm not a fan, but my mom is. She thinks that Palin is well-spoken and clearly reflects my mom's stances on, well, just about everything.
I think what my mom means is, she's well-spoken, FOR A WOMAN politician. She is completely tuned out from anything aboyt Hilary and Nancy Pelosi, so Palin seems incredibly impressively “together”.

LisaB

From my few years of living in the US during the Bush Jr. reelection we asked a similiar question of our friends and co-workers, trying to understand why they would reelect him. We discovered a lot of people who were single-issue voters. The stance on abortion, for some, was more important than anything else – including the fact that his cuts to the space program directly resulted in the collapse of the industry they worked in.

Amy J.

Gah. Do not even get me. started. Anyway, I think Carrie hit most of the major points about Sarah Palin's appeal. The social conservatives like her because of her stance on abortion and religious background. Others like her because she is perceived as being 'folksy' and 'just like us'. My MOM, who usually votes democratic, gave me this nugget straight from Palin's talking points–she thinks that Palin will 'shake things up' in good ol' boy Washington. I guess some people see her as 'together' (the whole being Governor while raising five kids bit) and well spoken, but if you've seen one of the three paltry interviews she's given, I'm not sure where people get THAT impression from (she may be well-spoken from a teleprompter, but 'off the cuff' on actual, substantive issues? I don't think so).

For some reason, over the past 10 years, it's been some sort of prerequisite for people to 'want to have a beer' with you in order to be U.S. president–I'd rather have someone who was smarter than me, more patient, and better spoken. I don't think *I* would be a good president–and while Sarah Palin has more experience in public service and executive experience than I do, I don't think what experience she DOES have qualifies her to be a potential president of the U.S. (and John McCain ain't looking so hot lately). Oh boy, I'd better stop while I'm ahead, eh? :)

gleek

good luck getting sarah palin supporters to comment here. dooce recently asked for palin supporters to come forward and no one would!

kpwerker

Huh! I wonder why? I really don't want to start a kerfuffle over here. I
wonder if there's somewhere to ask where people will answer? Going to a
McCain/Palin forum isn't what I want, since I really just want to put down
arms and chat with someone who thinks differently from me. Pipe dream?

Dawn

I think online is difficult. It's way too easy for things to escalate.

I've had some interesting conversations with other mothers that I know are more of the republican ilk. They seem to fall into 2 camps. For some it's not at all about Palin and they wish people would focus on McCain. They just don't want to talk about her. Others are very into her social stances on abortion or special needs kids or what her perceived family values are. I've not had anyone tell me they support her for really anything to do with her political or governmental background. Purely personal. Interesting no?

Amie

I don't think I can add anything new to the conversation other than to be another head-nodder on the single-issue stance (abortion) as well as the whole silly thought that she'd “shake things up.” She's been very handled by the GOP, working those talking points and sticking to a very boiled-down list of topics. Then again, it's not like we'd actually get to hear what those points are because she lets the press in to take pretty pictures, but then ushers them out the moment she begins to speak to whoever she's meeting with. It's just SO STRANGE.

I'm just looking forward to the debates. If you've peeked in on some of the major conservative columns/blogs, you'll see that there are those amongst that crowd who are having second-thoughts and some are even heavy-handed with their criticism. Check out this blog entry on ABC News for more of that ( http://blogs.abcnews.com/theworldnewser/2008/09).

If she gets elected and is a stone's throw from the Presidency, I just want to be assured that there is still room left in Canada for me and the fiance. But I'm confident in my candidate that I won't be house-hunting anytime soon.

Peri

For me, it's easy.
I am not a supporter of Palin. Nor McCain. Nor Obama. and I don't even know who his runing mate is, heh.

I'm a registered democrat, and have been since I was able to register to vote. However, I have seriously been debating which 3rd party candidate I will be voting for. It's not a waste of a vote in my mind, if I can justify why I am voting the way I am. I just wish more people thought the same way…. if you don't like the big two options, then vote for another option. (Also, it's not like you vote for the VeeP anyway, you vote for the head honcho.)

Amie

I disagree. You're voting for both. And as old as McCain is, it's very important to consider that his running mate is not prepared to be next in line to run our country. So yes, you're voting for both.

kristi

A neighbor said to me, the day after Palin's first big interview, that she thought Palin was very knowledgeable about the oil industry and that it was so nice to hear a woman talking about something besides childcare or “women's issues”. It was an unsolicited comment; she genuinely liked her. That and just a general sense of her being “a breath of fresh air”.

kpwerker

Single-issue voting terrifies me. It's the most civically irresponsible form of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Most of the registered Republicans I'm close to are family members* who navigate politics solely on their perception of a party's approach to Israel.

(*Jews are famously left-leaning, in general. Though I must admit I lean more to the left than most of my other relatives, too. :)

kpwerker

I agree that people should vote for the ticket they truly support. But I'm with Amie on the VP issue. Presidents die in office. Truman hadn't been elected President when he ended up with the responsibility of ending the second World War. He admitted at the time that he was in over his head, but—whether you agree with what he did in office or not—he dove in with integrity and responsibility and strong leadership. Nothing about Palin makes me think she'd do that; in the absence of any evidence besides ill-answered interview questions and reports of underhanded politics and dogmatism, I think we'd meet a sudden President whose top agenda would be to destroy natural resources, institute creationism as preferred science in classrooms, and stare at the sky wondering which direction to gaze toward to find Russia from Washington.

Ok. So, yeah. Since no Palin supporters showed up, I sorta let my opinions fly outta the bag there.

Cecily

I think she just simply has some charisma. Because we are capable of doing whatever we need to in our minds to justify our reaction to charisma, I think it's that little bit of charisma that takes people who share her political affiliation from simply agreeing with her to thinking she's got something special. And I can't help feeling the need to mention that “good ol' girl from the west” bravado she sports owes a lot to former Texas gov. Ann Richards…

I am not a one-issue voter myself, but I ALWAYS vote with the Supreme Court in mind…

Annette

All this is very interesting. I obviously have nothing to add, but it's very informative to me – esp to be able to read things in a place where things aren't totally overheated.
The strongest feeling you get from a European point of view when looking at US politics from afar is that you're absolutely clueless. We're all more or less members of the same (Western) civilization. we can communicate in the same language, the US has an enormous cultural influence through movies, TV-series, books and the Internet, so you would suppose you would be able to understand. But you don't.
However, I sometimes think this difficulty to understand is just as great between US citizens of different opinions. Right or wrong?

Amie

And I applaud those opinions. ;-) You know, perhaps your listenership is more liberal – I use that word loosely – than conservative – again, used more loosely considering all the shades of grey that fall in between – and that's why you're getting only those opinions. Who knows.

And as far as Palin's knowledge, or lack there of, we'll get our next crack at that Oct. 2. Don't expect any more lengthy interviews from her as her numbers are dropping the more often she speaks; her handlers are using all this time to cram international affairs into her head – and hopefully erasing the “I can see Russia from my coastline” type of comments.

knitgrrl

Metafilter, my home-away-from-home online, had an EPIC thread on this. Longest one in site history, which is saying something… 5400+ comments at last count:

http://www.metafilter.com/74487/Sarah-Palin-as-

There's a lot of single issue voters in there, for sure, and since Mefi slants very liberal most of the time, I think a lot of people were having the same reaction I did, which was “Wait, WHAT? You're picking an untested one-term governor with pretty much no real experience”? coupled with the anger of what I call the “interchangeable va***a” — HEY HILLARY SUPPORTERS, LOOKEE! WE GOT A GIRL, TOO!

Had he picked a woman with a heck of a lot more experience (Maine senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe come to mind), I would've had a realllllly hard time sticking to my Democratic guns. And I say this as someone who got into a fistfight with my best friend's brother over the Reagan/Carter election………when I was FIVE.

I have to say I'm pretty frightened McCain might win. After watching his debate performance the other night, even more so. He just cannot control his temper, can he? And as much as it amused me to see Obama doing the “can you believe this guy?” looks in his direction, that turns off a lot of independent voters — remember Al Gore's sigh during his debate with W?

kpwerker

I wish I could find out. I've really only started talking about politics in the last few weeks after years of keeping my mouth almost entirely shut online, and I hope that isn't driving away readers who disagree with what I say, but it might be. I guess only time will tell.

kpwerker

That's a tough question. I think to a certain extent you might be right, but even more liberal Americans can be liberal in a specifically American way that doesn't mesh with European perspectives. My perception is that the status quo in the US is so qualitatively different than it is overseas, and to a more muddied extent in Canada, and so it's hard to compare the nature of differing opinions within the US to those between the US and other countries.

Amie

Shannon, did you see McCain's interview on “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos? You could see McCain on the edge of his seat again, having a hard time controlling his temper (I'm referencing the last 5 minutes or so when George was putting some tougher questions to him about his Vp choice, his refusal to look at Obama during the debates, and his VP's apparent verbal diarrhea on her stance with Pakistan). The man simply doesn't like to be questioned about things he believes are set-in-stone ideas.

As far as Obama's looks towards McCain, I say there wasn't enough of them. But then again, I equated those to the same “what are you talking about?” looks that Katie Couric gave Palin in her interview, and I can't say I've heard a stitch online about those.

If anyone is looking for it – not sure it's been YouTube'ed yet – check out ABC News.com for the full 21 min. video clip from McCain “This Week” interview.

crowingram

I'm absolutely behind you on the Supreme Court issue. I've watched over my adult life as the court has gone more and more staunchly conservative. I thank my lucky stars that Clinton was able to get a couple of justices in during his administration, but with all of the discussion of Roe v. Wade over the last few months, it makes my skin crawl to realize that only those two of the nine justices were appointed by a Democratic President. Chief Justice Roberts and Alito were W's, H.W. has two, Reagan still has two, and Ford has one. Can you imagine who McCain or, heaven forbid, Palin might appoint? And how horribly long might we have to live with that abomination?

Vashtirama

This year for the 1st time I designed a few political-theme things and then chickened out before uploading them to Flickr/wherever. Can't decide! I've never been inspired to crochet something in reference to a political campaign before! And it's possible that I'm in the political minority within the larger crocheting public. Or not, hopefully.

Vashtirama

For what it's worth, I finally put my finger on who Sarah Palin has been reminding me of for some reason, and it's someone I might have seen a lot more of here in my neck of the woods than people outside of FL: Katherine Harris. Is it me?

kpwerker

I totally hear you, Vashti. Despite being occasionally fascinated by
politics (and often opinionated) I kept my mouth shut about it online for
years, precisely because it's irrelevant to my work in crochet and I didn't
want to alienate anyone. I just got tired of not writing about things I'm
interested in and decided to throw caution to the wind. I'm perfectly happy
to work with and respect people I don't agree with, and I've decided to
assume people are just like me at least about that.

julie

I suspect that Republicans close to me vote exclusively with their guns.

Debbie

I will be voting for McCain/Sarah Palin because of her stance on abortion. I like Sarah because she comes across as a down-to-earth politician and simplifies politics for me. I love that she shares my faith, although that's not why I will vote for that ticket.

I understand why single issue voting scares most people. However, as a Bible believing Christian who believes that life begins at conception, it is my duty to vote for someone who will protect that life. I believe that I will answer to my God one day for my actions. I care more for what He says than what those around me may say.

Does that make me wacky or an irresponsible American voter? In most circles I know the answer is yes. But I'm not seeking their approval.

Debbie

The reason you may not see too many McCain/Palin supporters here is because of the tone already taken. I know y'all may not see it, but it's there. This election has brought out the worst in all of us, I fear. So many of us are very passionate about why we love/dislike those on the tickets and our passion comes out very heated. I know that in my conservative circles it seems as if the left can join in and we can have rational discussions, but I know that can't happen.

I wasn't even going to respond as I follow many of the blogs here because, outside the politics, I love hearing about your lives, what you've designed, what you've created. But seeing how some are so ugly towards me (those who support McCain/Palin), I've had to sadly stay away. I'm not saying the right is any different, they're not by any stretch.

It's why I hate this time. Up until a few months ago, I couldn't see why I would stop reading some of the blogs I do. Now I wonder if I'll ever be able to read them again without remembering how they feel about me.

As I stated below, I don't care what others think, I just don't find it enjoyable reading someone's blog knowing that they got so ugly about me (McCain/Palin supporters) just a month ago.

knitgrrl

My question to you, Debbie — and it's with all respect for your beliefs, even though I don't share them — is this: what about the large (too large!) number of men, women and children who have been killed as a direct result of a war that was entered under false pretenses? You've got quite a few commandments bashed over the head there. * Shall not lie (weapons of mass destruction? where?)* Shall not kill (goes without saying, and especially civilian casualties)* Shall not covet/steal (I'm thinking oil, as in “we'll make them pay for the war once their oil production is up and running again, and we'll give the contracts to our political friends”)…it's shameful. I count 4 commandments flouted 110% by the Bush administration. One can only imagine what Jesus would say about waterboarding. Oh wait. Sure you can: ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' Isn't voting for McCain/Palin just asking for a continuation of policies that are in direct contradiction to your beliefs, too? Weighing your single issue of choice against all of the above, which comes out on top? Also, contrary to popular belief, overturning Roe v. Wade is not going to end abortion. It will turn its regulation back over to the states. Wouldn't it make more sense to vote for someone who is going to make an effort to help the people in our country who are here now, and suffering now, than to vote for something which cannot actually happen unless Roe v. Wade is overturned *and* all 50 states also decide to ban abortion, too? I really do respect your right to believe as you do. That's the liberal… Read more »

kpwerker

Thank you so much for sharing, Debbie. I truly, truly appreciate it. I wish
you won't stop reading blogs because of political disagreements, and I hope
the things I've written and will write about politics will stay on the
proper side of the line in keeping about the issues and stances and
presentation and not about snarking supporters of those things.

It can be very easy to fall into a hole of forgetting that people disagree
with you when it's so natural to surround oneself with people who agree. I
was naïve to think my own blog might be treated as a commons for
disagreement—of course my own opinions pepper everything here, and I was
hoping people would just automatically feel comfortable disagreeing.

So thank you, again, for your comments. I maintain my desire for respectful
discussion and disagreement here, and I hope you'll be back—if not to talk
politics (who could blame you for sitting that out!), then at least to talk
everyday life.

Debbie

:) I know this is not something that we will agree on.

I am not to make judgments on whether or not a war is just. I do not know what's going on behind the scenes. In the Bible that I adhere to Paul says the government has the power to bear the sword. We need to honor that government and Paul said that was said when Nero was in charge.

My priorities are that I need to make sure someone is in office who will protect the lives of babies born alive after a failed abortion.

Debbie

Kim, I'm not going anywhere. I respect you from the time that I've been following you. Although I don't agree with you politically, I really, really like you (or what I see of you online ;) ).

I'm really not much of a debater and it took me this long just to pipe in. I know what I stand for and why, but I don't like arguing about it. It just brings out an ugly side of me I don't want to see. :)

knitgrrl

I know, Debbie, I know! But again — not to belabor the point — I am really happy to see we can agree to disagree.

Factcheck.org has something to say about the failed abortion ads (and they also say Obama's comeback was off-base) — this is a nonpartisan site funded by the Annenberg foundation:

http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_al

(yes, if you're a nonpartisan group you might want to title your posts in a little less inflammatory way…)

As for a war's “justness” (wait, is that even a word or did I just totally Buffy it?), I think it's not only our right but our *responsibility* to question our government on something as major as a war. Our country was founded on the principle of government by and FOR the people.

What benefit have we as a country derived from this war? We've spent billions, lost thousands of lives on both sides and for what? I'm not advocating the extreme position here — such as refusing to pay taxes while the government uses our money to wage war — I just want them to be held accountable for their actions. Just as you would like to see politicians held accountable for the actions you find objectionable!

Thanks again for responding.

Debbie

I'm coming from a totally different position, however, being a Christian. And I'm coming from a different position than a lot of Christians out there, as well. My savior is my God, not my government. I live here because that's where God put me. I will honor my government, regardless of who is in that presidential seat. But, again, my vote is on the issue of abortion. And, again, I really don't expect many of you to understand and how can I make you understand my heart? I am not one to say, “YOU MUST ALL CONVERT TO MY RELIGION!!!! (although, of course, I'd love that :) ), but that's not my way. My “religion” is not that, a religion, it's a way of life. I have to simply smile when I see people give me quotes from a Bible I know that they do not read or understand. That would be like me quoting Planned Parenthood, or whatever, to you. I did not post here to make you understand my views. I know most of you are wholeheartedly passionate about the views you hold and I am not thinking that my one little, squeaky voice can attempt to change your minds. Do I wish you all thought like I do? Sure. Just like you wish you could get me out of my “religious, brainwashed ways” and help me to see the light, the glorious light. :) If Obama becomes president and pulls out of this war, I will have to honor him in that decision. I don't have to agree with him, but I will honor him. I'm really not a political person. I don't follow things as closely as others think I should. This is what I want from my country: A safe place where I can freely… Read more »

knitgrrl

You might be surprised to know, Debbie, that not only have I read the Bible, but my specialization in both undergrad and graduate school was the conversion of the northeastern Germanic tribes to Christianity. So maybe you and I have a little more in common than you think! ;)

I also believe in homeschooling, if only because our (my boyfriend and I) experience with both the public and private schooling options were not what we'd like to see for our future children. And we both went to some of the best schools in our area! I've read, on homeschooling websites and elsewhere, references to Obama's book that seem to indicate he's ok with homeschooling, too.

I'm about to leave for a 4-day work trip and really should be packing, but thanks again for talking with me (us)! I'll check in again if I have internet where I'm going.

blondechicken

Shannon, I can see where you're coming from (question the government! It's what democracy is all about!), but the Bible again and again tells us to honor the government. Now, for some Christians, that means NOT to question. Period.
For me (and lots of other Christians!), that means to be as educated and civic-minded as possible because, in a democracy, the government is created by ME and other voters (ie. not ordained directly by God). Because of that, some Christians become one-issue voters, because they believe it is part of our responsibility to help God's will be done by electing a government that, well, agrees with what we read in the Bible.
This mixture of doing God's will and voting for the good of the country is a tenuous line Christians walk, so please remember that most Christians do take this civic (and Christian) duty VERY seriously. However, since it's a difficult balance and no one party (or candidate) can possibly agree with everything our faith holds dear, I fear that many of my fellow Christians let religious leaders decide what the issues are that matter (and thus, ignore other issues, such as loss of life in war, etc).
I might be a one-issue voter and my issue is: human dignity. Caring for the poor and feeding the hungry. Which is why I'm a Christian Democrat. :)

And this is WAY more than I've ever written about politics! I wasn't going to say anything, but I think it's good to hear from ALL all sides & not just the two political sides, but also how religion affects voting, since that seems to be a big part of Palin's appeal.

Hope I didn't go too off topic here!

knitgrrl

That's been the reason I've kept my knitting blog separate from my other online work since the publication of my first book. It's not just theoretical — my publisher told me a certain conservative catalog refused to stock my book because of my then-online-store's products, products I didn't even create! (And we're not talking anything that would get you arrested in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas or Virginia, either).

I was a triple-major (poli sci/history/German) in school — politics has always fascinated me. Yes, I'm on the liberal side of the spectrum, but it doesn't mean I don't respect the other side's right to have their opinions, too.

If you take the publisher example above to its logical conclusion, the catalog people had nothing to say about the actual content of my book, they had a problem with who I chose to associate with online. That's sort of scary, if you ask me. I don't boycott Ravelry because it has pro-McCain/Palin groups, you know?

(Thanks for hosting this thread, Kim. Super-interesting!)

knitgrrl

Wow, blondechicken. That's an interesting perspective. Thanks for it. I live in a neighborhood inside Cleveland (Ohio) proper that is super-mega-Irish-Catholic. All the policemen, all the firemen, all the city workers who have to live in the city — they're here. So, as you might expect, there are a LOT of Catholic churches and schools, not to mention several monastic communities (mostly female) within walking distance.

What I always find fascinating each election is their different perspectives re: how to make a political statement. The church down the street puts up a cemetery of fake stones commemorating abortion deaths. The nuns a few blocks away stand outside all day with anti-war signs, signs that read “Vote for justice” and similar (what you might view as liberal) sentiments. So even within their single, Roman Catholic community (which is a bit more monolithic than the many, many Christian denominations out there), there are a wide range of views. I respect that.

It seems to me, having met many of the sisters who are not cloistered, whether at the coffee shop or the post office or wherever, that they do a LOT of work for what you term your one issue…they're super active in caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, helping those in need. I REALLY respect that.

Heck, nuns are even blogging about social issues:

http://anunslife.org/2008/09/25/prelude-to-pove

:)

kpwerker

You have so *not* gone off topic. Thank you so much for sharing!

blondechicken

Yay! So glad it was coherent! I fear sometimes that the complexities of being a Christian and a voter are lost in the loud, simplified election cycle. I, for one, struggle with the burden of being both a feminist and a Christian (pro-life? pro-choice? Who's choice should it be? Should it even be a choice if it truly is taking a human life?) and I know many voters (on both sides) just want an easy answer.
My husband's a Political Science major and ardently believes everyone should understand EVERYthing about the political process and really listen to both sides of EVERY argument, but that can be pretty exhausting. :)
At the end of the day I just hope that everyone continues to work for what they hold dear, whoever the Pres is (and even if we're working towards opposite ends)!

*end of hippie love fest*

Marikka

You know, I had an awesome conversation on presidential politics with a friend last night and he pointed out the one thing I always tend to forget when big elections come around: who are the undecided? He grew up in a conservative farm community and I spent many summers in Mormon country, so we can see the division on issues and we can respect while disagreeing (not necessarily understanding), but I realized last night that how people remain undecided seems to be more of an issue. We keep hearing about how polarized the country is politically, but if this election will rest on the shoulders of the undecided, what issue will make them decide? Or are they looking for the man or woman most likely to be their friend? Or are they looking for the right charm or smile? I just desperately want to know who these people are so I can understand how their decisions will be made.

But I guess, as a Californian, there's a part of me that has given up on the presidential worry, and I've hunkered down with the worry about equal rights. Californians decided against same-sex marriage before, and now I just worry that we haven't changed enough in the eight years since Proposition 22. I remember being in college at the time and ashamed of my state, and I hate being ashamed of my state.

julie

Thanks, Debbie. You have helped me understand a little more how religion, and single issue voting, has played such an interactive role in the election process. While I am not defined by a single religion, or issue, I could stand on my own beliefs as the reason for the way I vote and it wouldn't be any more important than the beliefs of others.

I just hope more people feel the way I do this time around.

Debbie

Understood. :)

Dawn

Wow, this has gotten really interesting since last I checked in. This is the type of discussion I love to read. I find it absolutely engrossing to hear not only what people think, but the reasoning behind it. If only there could be a bit more agree to disagree in the world! Comment from this peanut gallery: 1) Regarding Annette's musing about how we don't “get it”…I get this a lot from foreign residing friends and I've come to think it has to do more with our scale than anything else. We're so vast both geographically and numerically. Our national ID as rugged individualists does nothing to create a common perspective from which we can collectively “get it”. 2) I'm glad you've stuck with it Debbie. I've found your comments very illuminating. I would also encourage you to not stop your blog reading. For myself I will say that just because I'm free with expressing my opinions, doesn't mean I'm making a statement about yours or trying to drive anyone away. My husband and I would have some major problems was that the case! ;) I think we grow as people by embracing differing opinions and striving to understand each other. My blog is merely a reflection of who I am and what I'm going through. 3) Shannon, you are a font of fascinating linkage. How do you find the time? 4) Our kids are in a public charter school with a classical curriculum. They're young yet, but these past few years have seen us working through much of ancient history, through the rise of Christianity, Islam and Judaism and into the Middle Ages. The Bible is a significant document we've taken a good deal of time with. It's served to remind me that if there is one document that… Read more »

Amie

Don't you think choosing not to read someone's blog because they disagree with you politically is, in a sense, shutting yourself off? I choose to read columnists of both parties and find interesting points of view on both sides of the fence – and many places in between – no matter what flavor the writer brings to the table. It helps to understand what the other side is thinking, feeling. I don't think there are any successful politicians who only surround themselves with “Yes” men/women, McCain and Obama included.

I also believe taking someone's opinion about the party you support as a personal jab isn't necessarily the best way to handle it. I choose not to get offended when someone makes liberal jokes when I've labeled myself just that; if I let it bother me, it owns me, has control over me. I choose not to let it.

Then again, I don't post stalk or peek into the Conservative Rav groups wondering what they're saying about my party affiliation. It doesn't bother me that others have differing opinions. I'm secure in my own not to worry about it.

I know I'll still read someone's blog, column, or continue to maintain someone's friendship – if it's someone I know personally – even if their fundamental beliefs are different than my own (Mary Jane Hall couldn't be any further opposite from me in every fiber of her being and I value her friendship, her calm approach to life regardless of politics and religious affiliations). That's how we learn and grow as people. I feel the moment you've chosen not to listen to the other side, you've lost the chance to understand and relate on some level.

Amie

“For myself I will say that just because I'm free with expressing my opinions, doesn't mean I'm making a statement about yours or trying to drive anyone away.”

And here lies the statement I was having trouble articulating earlier, to which my response is an astounding, “YES!” And thank you for articulating that.

kristi

okay, forgive me for opening a can of worms maybe, but this thread has me thinking, “How did abortion rights become the single issue for single-issue voters?” When did it happen, what were the dynamics? Roe v. Wade was decided in 72-73. It wasn't a leading issue (and certainly not an election winning issue) until much more recently. Anyone know the history or dynamics of this?

Annette

I hope you didn't think I meant that Americans are clueless – I was talking about how you feel when you look at US politics from a European point of view!

However, this discussion has helped me make a little progress on the road to understanding.
The role of religion is so much more important in the US than here, and the contributions to this thread have made me more capable to understand how it affects people's standpoints.
Soooo interesting!

And I think Dawn is right about the scale. Europeans tend to think about the United States as a country – which it is, of course. But it's a huge one!

Melissa

Okay… I didn't want to get involved, but I will. For me, the distaste towards Sarah Palin is more personal, even, than political. YES, I always consider who could land on the Supreme Court. YES, abortion can be a single-issue vote for me. However, I think that Palin is a total hypocrite, and THAT is what I have such a problem with. Here's why: She puts herself out on this motherhood and apple pie platform. But, she's a woman who concealed her pregnancy from everyone (including her own children and parents) until the seventh month, knowing that she would have a special-needs child, and then returned to work three days after his birth. Everyone has his/her priorities. I get that (and I respect it… my values aren't for everyone and that's fine). But, if you are going to go back to work with a three-day-old baby at home, then don't claim to be a supermom and don't attempt to make yourself relatable as a working mother. I am a working mother, and the value that is most important to me is my work/life balance. It's cliche, I know, but it's the truth of my life. I would like to have government leaders who are sensitive to things like the Family and Medical Leave Act. I want them to approve MORE benefits and MORE flexibility for working parents. I have a hard time believing that someone who was okay with returning to work three days after having a baby is really going to be sympathetic to the working mom who needs more leave time. Further, I don't want this to be interpreted to mean that I don't think that women can do great things or have powerful jobs. I was a Hillary supporter and I think she would have been fabulous… Read more »

kristi

Or, that after her water broke in Texas, she chose to fly home to Alaska to have the baby! Knowing that you are at risk of complication due to maternal age, that your fifth baby, a month premature, could come quickly, and that you are carrying a child you know may require special attention at birth… I can't think of any woman I know who would decide the right thing is to hop on an 8+ hour plane trip instead of high-tailing it to the nearest appropriate hospital. Thank goodness all went well, but if that's the sort of “maverick” decision she makes for herself and her own child, I worry.

knitgrrl

It's funny, because I've always taken the position that women should make their own decisions about their healthcare, their bodies, etc…….and then I read about something like this and I have to almost rethink my position!

For someone who has all the access to information in the world (compared to, say, a teenage girl in denial about her pregnancy, or someone without any real healthcare options, like a migrant farmworker), Palin sure as heck made a reckless decision there. And WHY? Was it really so important to attend that conference in Texas? Even if you've already had several children and think you know all there is to know — things happen. Prudent, reasonable people prepare for the worst case scenario. If she's willing to take those kinds of risks in her personal life, what kind of risks will she find acceptable in making decisions that affect the country?

I agree with Melissa. You can't have it “all.” I think anyone who grew up when (most of) us did figured that out at some point and made our choices accordingly. I don't think anyone should be able to dictate WHAT you have to do — i.e. you HAVE to stay home and have children, you HAVE to go to work at a big fancy corporate job — but I'd like to see someone in the running for such a high office display a little more common sense than most.

I want someone who considers all the options and chooses the one least likely to end badly if there isn't one “best” option. Is that asking so much?

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