It’s probably premature for any of us to comment on why Sarah Palin has made the announcement she has. She has been on my mind. I’ve had a constant thought born of a kind of kindred relationship I’ve imagined we’d have if we ever had a chance to meet. I don’t have hero worship or strange stalking syndrome – I’ve never written her a letter or tried to crash an event she was at. I was asked to be a “warm up” speaker at one of her Florida campaign stops and it was an honor to be asked, and frankly, I rocked that little speech of mine. But I didn’t rush the stage on her.
It has scared me, what she’s gone through. It’s been disgusting and disquieting to watch – horrifying really. It’s been a puzzle to me how she has been so vilified. How her family has been so freely ripped at. There has been no shame nor outcry. Women have been silent. Parents have been silent. In many ways, both those groups should have been at her defense at the first shot but instead they have enabled a start to what could be the beginning of heinous actions by anyone else now.
When I ran for office I sat down with my husband and my children and made it very clear that there was a strong possibility that people would say things about me that weren’t true or took liberty with the truth. I gave them responses they would need if a friend at school said something to them so they would be prepared and made sure they were ok. I told my husband he would have to keep his “Man Thing” in check and let me handle the barbs if they came. And they did. One opponent started a whisper campaign that I was once a “pole dancer” (and when we made it public he lost because of it – sweet justice) and negative ads came out that distorted my physical appearance. My family was ok. It was about me and while they didn’t like it, they understood.
If ever, for one minute, I thought that these negative campaign strategies would turn to them – I would never have run. I would never put my children in a position to be publically humiliated, ridiculed or made the butt of jokes. What parent would? How selfish would anyone who bears and rears children be if they thought that was ok and asked them to “suck it up”. You don’t ask a teenager to suck up a joke that is intended to humiliate them in front a world audience. Who would ask a spouse to sit back when some man on tv calls you a slut? Slut – an unbelievably ugly word.
Sarah Palin, and any candidate, male or female, is prepared to take the shots. We know it comes with the territory. We know what we have to tell our families to prepare for them. What Sarah Palin and every other candidate who has run for office never thought they would have ask their families is to take the shots themselves. It never occured to me that it would ever be ok – those things that the Palin family have endured. The deafening silence from women and parents and other politicians have now made that inconcievable possibilty a reality. Because if it was ok to do this to Sarah Palin, then its ok to do it to anyone else.
So if, and I mean IF, Sarah Palin’s decision to leave her office was in some way designed to take her family out of the filth that has been laid at her feet, then I support her decision. No parent or spouse could ask those they love to do it – if they really love them. There wasn’t any heat in any kitchen. This was a sewer that a back hoe dumped her and her family into with cheering throngs lining the perimeter salivating as though they were early Romans watching the slaughter of Christians. I only wonder what took her so long.