In my local bookstore I recently discovered “Grace for President ,” the most fabulous and timely book for children, particularly little girls. The story is about Grace Campbell, an African American girl, about 8 years old, who is incredulous when she learns that America has never had a female president. “Where are the girls?” Grace asks when her teacher unfurls a poster of our nation’s past presidents. “Our country has never had a woman president,” her teacher answers. “I’d like to be president,” Grace announces to her class. Her enthusiastic teacher thinks that’s a “star spangled idea” and decides to host a school election. The race comes down to Grace versus Thomas Cobb, the popular, blue eyed, soccer team captain and spelling bee and science fair champ – a tough challenger.
As the book goes on, Grace makes campaign promises about beautifying the school and getting rid of the bullies. She follows through on her commitments and works after school to clean up the grounds. Thomas promises to give free tutoring and soccer lessons. It’s a tough race and with the electoral votes nearly tied, the election comes down to the three remaining votes from the state of Wyoming. It is there at the podium with the whole school watching, when Sam, a little boy representing Wyoming, earnestly announces that his state is voting for Grace Campbell for president because she’s the “best person for the job.” It’s a triumphant end with Grace narrowly beating the shoe-in, Thomas. But for all of the girl power, the book which was published last year, now feels bittersweet.
With Hillary Clinton out of the race, there will be no “girl president” any time soon, unless, in the tragic event that girl is Sarah Palin.
Not to beat a dead horse, but I am still completely flummoxed that there are those in this country who are still drinking the conservative Kool-Aid and believe that McCain’s female understudy could effectively lead our country during one of the most stressful and complicated times our country has ever seen. From our total economic collapse to Bin Laden still plotting evil in an Afghan cave, to our polar bears dying, the continued threat of terrorism, an energy crisis, and an Iranian nuclear weapon, this is clearly not the time for Joe Six Pack burping in the bleachers and his Hockey Mom wife to guide our nation. Am I crazy to think that Americans should want to hire the most brilliant, informed brain and skilled politician we can find who is insane enough to take on the toughest job on the planet?
While I’ve questioned McCain’s random and pandering political choice of veep from the beginning and knew Sarah Palin never represented me, in the past few days, she has really kicked it old school to represent the worst of America – the fear mongering, racist who paints a picture of her rival as a dangerous, unknown foreigner with the funky name. She is now using her charming folksiness to become the Republican Mean Girl sliming Obama as “someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”
Maybe Sarah has no choice but to carry on her unofficial role of desperate VP attack dog. But this is not the role model we want for our children. A few nights ago my friend Allison was reading “Grace for President” to her 4-year-old daughter Charlotte. She was not sure Charlotte really grasped the book because it is geared for older children. But when Charlotte rolled over and clutched her blanket as Allison was kissing her goodnight, Charlotte said “mommy, I’m going to be president one day.” Hopefully, America will have our first girl president before Charlotte grows up, but doggone it for the love of our country, let’s pray that girl is not Sarah Palin.