McCain & The Working Mom.

What drew my attention was not the first-term, 44-year-old Alaska governor who was standing at the podium proudly accepting the invitation to join a presidential ticket. My eyes were instead focused on a woman in the crowd.

 

Dressed in a navy blue T-shirt bearing an American flag, the woman had, just moments earlier, been politely listening to GOP nominee John McCain explain why he made his particular choice of a running mate. Before revealing the name of his VP, Sarah Palin, McCain talked about how his announcement would “shake up Washington.” It wasn’t until he mentioned that it was the week of the 88th anniversary of women’s suffrage when it dawned upon the woman in the flag T-shirt -- who’d likely been standing in the Dayton, Ohio crowd for hours -- that the vice presidential nominee was not a guy. The spectator’s mouth fell open. Her eyes widened. She looked at the man standing next to her as though she couldn’t believe what she’d just heard. It couldn’t be a woman. Could it?

 

A few minutes later, a mother of five – who gave birth to a baby with Down Syndrome in April, whose eldest son is being deployed to Iraq in September and who was celebrating her 20th wedding anniversary on this day – stepped in front of her first national audience. With a nod to Senator Hillary Clinton’s 18 million primary votes and the 18 million “cracks in the glass ceiling” created by her failed presidential bid, Palin said, “. . . [I]t turns out, the women of America aren’t finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.”

 

It was stunning news to try to absorb as viewers watched Palin, her children and her husband on stage, particularly coming on the heels of the previous evening’s historic speech given by Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama as he accepted his party’s nod on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

slpemmer
08.29.08

Why should we judge a women who wants to return to work. It doesn't mean she isn't a good mom and that she isn't caring for her special needs son. Why not support her decisions instead of judging them. This is a great day for women and our country and instead of focusing on that you're turning this into a negative and that's really sad.

lalakimmers
08.29.08

What a whirlwind today - reading that a woman like myself is in the political mix running with McCain. Then to read to lack of support because she 'chose' not to take full advantage of FMLA even though she is entitled to it with a 4 month old. If you love what you do - and can make a difference - and are passionate about change why not go for it! Families are important and I'm sure she has great backup and network to be this courageous. Not voting for a candidate because you believe that her actions and choice had makes a statement on the presidential nominees image of working women is your choice.

elle
08.29.08

I have grown children, the youngest of whom is in college. I am also an elected official in the democratic party. I can tell you that, for women with political ambition, the "old boys club" was near impossible to buck during the past couple of decades, when one would have thought that discrimination of that sort might have been considered passe. I have had cigar smoke blown in my face, suggestions that I sit on someone's lap,rather than run for office, and doors slammed on me, even when I was running a political campaign, and it was my candidate being discussed. Things are changing, but it is still a battle for women in politics. Although Sarah Palin is from the other party, I wish her well, admire her tenacity, and do not question how she is going to take care of her children.To do so is insulting, and completely unsupportive. Successful women need other women to be supportive, and not critical. I am sure that Governor Palin has all of her ducks in a row, and that she has the support of the other women and family members in her life. Congratulations to her...and the best of everything!

gsavage
08.29.08

The whole "in awe" thing and wanting to know "how she does it" sounds to me like we think we've found some person who defies the laws of physics and we want to find out how we can do that too. The fact is, you don't. You make choices. Like going back to work after two days. That's what you do to get the promotion. It's important not to jump too far ahead - what we need are policies and practices that help real moms one step and one decision at a time, not identity politics. This is how we got Clarence Thomas.

DebraCondren
08.29.08

Earlier today, I just read that her fifth child was born in April. Counted the months on my fingers. Said to my own (young adult) kids, "Her baby is only 4 month's old? How can she raise him/her--esp. a high needs baby--and run for V.P." Then, after reading this post and comments, saw that she returned to work 2 days after that baby was born. Huh? And this is McCain's ideal working woman/mom? Couldn't agree more. What sort of mixed messages does this "choice" send?

nholles
08.29.08

Here here, Nuttmeg!

Ballon
08.29.08

I could not agree more. FMLA was a huge step for working women in our country - I was able to personally benefit from FMLA following the birth of my two children and I was grateful for those who fought for such needed legislation. For someone who espouses "family values", why not take the FMLA you are entitled to rather than returning to work, especially with a high needs newborn. My goodness, returning to work after TWO DAYS, and someone thought that was a GOOD thing? The umbilical cord is still attached to the baby!

nuttmegg
08.29.08

I have always been an independent and voted all over the ballot. This nomination evoked a reaction that surprised me. There is so much to like about this woman and her accomplishment, even if you disagree with her politics.

But, this woman went back to work 2 days after her baby was born. She is the kind of working mom that keeps the US in the same category as Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and Lesotho. Maybe it was the commitment she showed to her work that got her this fantastic promotion. So that is what you think of working women McCain? We are paid less, being passed over for promotions, facing discrimination the workplace because when we decided to have babies, some of us actually take our disability and/or FMLA leave (those that have it). For more moms to become leaders, we should show our commitment by return to work immediately huh?

I know who I am NOT voting for. (and I sooooo would like to see someone pumping or breastfeeding in the white house.)

gsavage
08.29.08

Is it more important who you are or what you will do for the country?