In the recent flurry of discussions about Sarah Palin, the arguments often concentrate on whether she is a good mother. She is a good mother because she raises her children while having a career. She is a bad mother because she took an airplane after going into labor. She is a good mother because she chose not to abort a Down's syndrome child. She is a bad mother because she chose not to abort a Down's syndrome child. She is a good mother because she supported her pregnant teenage daughter. She is a bad mother because she has a pregnant teenage daughter. And so on, and so forth. My only question is: who cares?
A person's parenting skills (or whether they are faithful to their spouses, as happened in Sanford's case) should not, in my opinion, be a part of the discussion on whether they are qualified to do their job. One can be an amazing parent and a horrible politician. One can be a cheating spouse and a wonderful governor (president, senator, professor, auto mechanic, etc.).
It's true that Palin kept trotting her family out for political reasons. But her family or whether she even has a family are not relevant to what she was like in her job or what she would have been like as a Vice-President. Whatever she did, we should not be buying into this silly idea that being a nice person and a good parent (spose, child, sibling) in and of itself qualifies anybody for any kind of a job.
As people might have guessed from my previous posts, I'm no fan of Sarah Palin. I'm happy she resigned and hopeful that we will never see her again on the political scene. But saying that she was a bad choice for a Vice-President because she is a bad mother is not a valid argument. Who cares about her personality, her family, and her hobbies? Her political agenda is all that matters.
The Nation's Paul Wachter recently published a great article on Sanford titled "Mr. Sanford's Wild Ride." Instead of harping on Sanford's affair, this journalist presents his readers with a brilliant resume of the governor's political views. It was incredibly refreshing to finally read about what Sanford is like in his capacity as a politician, instead of as a lover, a father, or a husband. I believe it's time for all of us to stop focusing so much on the politicians' personal lives and start looking more carefully at their political decisions and voting records.