Many of us have been quietly observing the way in which media pundits and bloggers (even celebs like Matt Damon and Margaret Cho) have questioned the credentials of the Republican VP candidate, Sarah Palin. I’m a person who likes to give others the benefit of the doubt; when I’m teaching, I’m constantly asking my students to question their own beliefs, to play Devil’s Advocate, to spin the Rubik’s Cube around to find a new angle on the subject. Same with Palin: benefit of the doubt.
In the past couple days, however, I’ve learned several facts that worry me about our potential second-in-command, namely:
Palin obtained her U.S. passport in 2007. This fact means she ventured outside the United States for the first time only one year ago. I want a leader–a Vice President, nonetheless–who has more global experience than me. [source: New York Times]
Palin inquired about banning certain anti-religious books at the Wasila Public Library, and threatened to fire the librarian who disagreed with her. These actions seem to me outside the purview of an elected official, completely self-serving, and veer on abuse of power. [source: Time magazine]
Palin’s church promotes a “conversion therapy” camp for gays and lesbians to become straight. From this, I can’t say that Palin herself holds the same faulty view, but her past veto attempt against gay rights in Alaska lead me to assume she holds the same anti-gay views as her congregation. [source: CBS News]
This last point is the most troubling. One of my students in Ghana this summer asked me if I could ever live there. There were many things I admired about the country–its welcoming people, the developing economy, the potential for seriously making an impact with my skill set. However, the deal-breaker for me was that homosexuality is against the law in Ghana. This part of who I am–not the only part, of course, but an absolutely incontrovertible part of my identity–is illegal. I could never voluntarily choose to live where I’m not welcome. Not to mention a criminal.
Same goes for those who represent me. In the same way that I couldn’t live in a country that does not affirm me (in Massachusetts, the law validates my right to marry the person that I love), I can’t elect a person whose beliefs, at their core, invalidate so much of who I am.