My two cents on Sarah Palin and the GOP

Obama better win. There’s no way he can lose an election when Republicans are at their all-time low. There’s no use in looking at poll numbers, when it’s the Electoral College that elects the President anyway.

“Lots of ideas from Europe [Obama]’d like to see imported here.”
–Mike Huckabee at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, September 3, 2008 (link)

I read this in a New York Times article and it frankly bugged me. Mike Huckabee is so parochial and narrow-minded. I think the U.S. has a lot to learn from Europe, which has been far more successful in integrating sovereign countries’ economies and interlinking the European Union than has the states in America, which cannot even cooperate and agree on in the most basic of things. And their far-reaching advancements in health care, a human rights issue. But I digress.

I hope that Barack Obama will win the presidency. McCain’s not so bad, with his reasonable stances on abortion, gay rights and immigration (that is, before he flipflopped to morph into a more mainstream Republican). But the nuthouse Bible-eating Alaska governor he’s picked as his vice-presidential nominee has got to be the worst political move in recent years. She’s governed a state that’s smaller in population than the Los Angeles Unified School District, for less than two years. (The way some people put it, as “Palin governing the largest state in the Union” is like saying “Canadians govern the largest country in North America,” essentially bullshit.) And her state’s an exception to the problems the rest of the country faces. For her state government, it’s about deciding what to spend the annual surpluses on. For other states like California, it’s about trimming and budgeting, firing employees and slashing programs. Her experience is not suited for the vice-presidency, when the state she’s from is an exception and not the rule. And Palin would know little about the American economy. Alaska’s economy is basically 1/3 oil and 1/3 federal money, while America’s as a whole is far more diversified and complex.

She was once mayor of a town that is 7 times smaller than my hometown, a small suburb of L.A., and she got her first U.S. passport in the new millennium. I know 9-yr-old cousins who are more well-traveled than she. And what’s even more amazing is that she doesn’t support abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Even the most hardcore of pro-life advocates are unlikely to be this radical. And most Americans support abortion anyway. It’s these religious right-wing nuts that even McCain called “agents of intolerance” that he now has to pander to. I find it sad that McCain cannot explain his core beliefs the way he would like to, but has to sway the Republican establishment with ideas he uncomfortably calls his own.

Palin believes creationism should be taught in school, even though she has a Bachelors degree in journalism, not biology. She supports teaching abstinence-only curriculum in place of sex ed, while her high school daughter, still under her wings, is now impregnated, obviously unplanned (no 17-yr-old in her right mind would think “Geez, let’s see. I’m still living with my parents, have no secure job, not even a high school diploma, and I’m the governor’s daughter. Perfect time to bring new life into this world!”).

Republicans love talking about how gays are normalizing their lifestyle. What about the likes of the Palins, who are normalizing teenage pregnancy and presenting it as perfectly acceptable? Unbelievable. At least getting pregnant is a choice. If my sister, who’s in high school, got pregnant, you can be sure my parents would have disowned her. If I got a girl pregnant, even at age 19, I would be disowned. I think it’s appropriate for the media to follow the Palin family. When policies and issues you support don’t mirror what happens in your own family, it ought to be pointed out. It’s hypocrisy. And to think we should not judge Sarah Palin’s stances on important issues.

And it’s so easy for the Palins to use their daughter as a walking and breathing billboard for the “pro-life” cause (because she didn’t abort). Of course. Her daughter will receive 100% financial and family support when she has a child. She’s covered by health insurance, can give birth in a nice hospital, has a comfortable life, and a boyfriend who will marry her. Most teenagers who get pregnant are not so lucky. They are disowned, put further burdens on single working parents, have to rely on their ailing grandmas for support, or even seek abortion, realizing that there’s no way they can raise a child with so many obstacles in their lives. If my sister, god forbid, were to get pregnant, as soon as my parents found out, they would cut her off. She would be disowned, abandoned. There would no longer be contact with any family members, except maybe a compassionate aunt or cousin. She would receive no support from the family. To my family, it’s that “you break, you pay” policy. That if you make a mistake in your life, you have to accept the consequences as your own. I can understand why so many women seek abortions in this country. It’s not a simple picture as “pro-lifers” paint it. Some states force doctors giving abortions to tell their patients they’re destroying life that has “human rights.” I don’t know, but with that mentality, we ought to make miscarriage (a form of unintended abortion) a crime called manslaughter as well.

“What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.
–Sarah Palin at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, September 3, 2008 (link)

Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech yesterday angered me. It showed her depth as a person. All she did was rally her own kind, the gun-toting hillbillies and the corporate executives who fear taxes. She briefly skimmed the energy crisis but made no mention of the issue that hits home the hardest for most Americans, the economy. Maybe it’s because I’m Asian, so I care about the economy a lot more than I do social issues (Asians tend to care more about the economy and finance sector in politics). It only takes traveling outside the U.S. to see how poorly the U.S. economy is doing now. The Canadian dollar is higher than the American dollar now. Fewer are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border now because of U.S.’s stagnating economy. Even the Burmese kyat is rising against the U.S. dollar. Yet she did not even touch base on the subject. What’s even worse is that under Palin’s watch as Wasilla mayor, rape victims in Wasilla had to pay for their own rape kit tests (the Alaska Senate had to pass a law to force local government to pay for these tests because of Wasilla and a few other miscreant towns), even though Alaska has the highest rape rates per capita in the U.S.

What she did know how to do was throw daggers at Barack Obama and show off her so-called “executive experience.” I’ll admit, both Obama and Biden do not have executive experience, but they are far more qualified than she or McCain. Both Obama and Biden have doctorate degrees in law. What do McCain and Palin have? Paltry Bachelors degrees and McCain graduated at the bottom of his class (might I add it’s extremely funny how they put Sarah Palin up against Barack Obama, when they’re running for different offices. She should be compared to Joe Biden, who’s running for the same position she is).

C’mon now, McCain could have done better. Someone with a more wholesome resume (I would’ve liked to see Mitt Romney on the ticket, someone who’s both experienced and has a thorough education). I thought McCain would have chosen a more suitable candidate to add education and experience to his ticket. I have no idea why he decided to reach out to Republicans, when this election calls for reaching out to independents and conservative Dems. Maybe he listened to Karl Rove, the same man who started a rumor campaign in the 2000 South Carolina primary about McCain’s adopted Bangladeshi daughter (that she was the illegitimate daughter from McCain’s relations with a black woman) to allow Bush to win.

Finally, more Americans now agree that churches should not be breeding grounds for political indoctrination. Let the people decide. From

The worst part about her is support for creationism in public schools. It’s okay for you to have your own views on how this world came to be, as long as it doesn’t impinge on others’ views. Not everybody believes what the Bible describes. If we were to start teaching creationism, we might as well start teaching the Native American “creation myths” (I wonder why they are called ‘myths’) and the views of Islam and other religions in public schools as well, since those views are legitimate to respective groups as well. My life science textbook for my core Biology curriculum in college (Life: The Science of Biology, p. 16) puts it better than I do:

The power of science derives from the uncompromising objectivity and absolute dependence on evidence that comes from reproducible and quantifiable observations (sic). A religious or spiritual explanation of a natural phenomenon may be coherent and satisfying for a person or group holding that view, but is not testable, and therefore it is not science. To invoke a supernatural explanation (such as an “intelligent designer” with no known bounds) is to depart from the world of science.

Science describes the facts about how the world works, not how it “ought to be.”

Bottom line is, if you don’t want your kids to learn about evolution, send them to a private school that doesn’t teach it. It shouldn’t be up to public schools to teach students something the preacher from the pulpit should do. My parents never delved on the issue of how this world came to be, because it’s less important than what we can do to improve the society we live in.

I hope Americans will make the right choice come Election Day, and not be swayed by the superficial.

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