Monday, September 1, 2008

Palin, Palin, Palin

As much as I've tried, the onslaught of Palin cannot be ignored today. With the lack of information about her from the rest of the U.S., to the "down the political rabbit hole" soap opera-ness that continues about her candidacy, I've been getting e-mail after e-mail about Palin, Palin and Palin. I was able to debrief with my family about Obama, and the amazing experience of being able to participate in the Democratic National Convention - of which more posts will be devoted to over the week - but for the most part, people want more info about Palin.

Celtic Diva had shared the news of Bristol's pregancy a few weeks ago - before we'd left for the Democratic Convention in any case. At the time, I was feeling bad for her because it would mean a few days of attention in the Alaskan news. One of my reaction's when Palin was chosen as the VP pick, just four very long days ago, was, "Holy crap, she's really going to put her daughter through that?"

The issues about the effectiveness of "abstinence only," the hypocrisy of the McCain campaign now shouting "families are none of your business," the lack of real vetting (or judgement) by the McCain in vetting Palin - I'm sure all of this will be done ad nauseum.

But the concern for me as an American and an Alaskan - and an Alaska Native woman - is Palin's extreme lack of credentials to be a VP or President, her lack of attention on anything to do with Alaska Native/American Indian issues, and the absence of any kind of plan or attention to Rural Alaska, not to mention the hostility she tends to show to Southeast Alaska - an entire region.

I was grateful to Grassroots Science for sending me a link to a site with Palin's take on issues. The Palin Web site is not available - it shoots directly to the McCain Web site (a little funny when you consider Biden's site is still up.) I have found that most Alaska politicians have a section on Alaska Native issues, or, like Mark Begich's site, instead mention the specific Alaska Native issues within others. Even Ted Stevens and Don Youn, whom I don't support, have sections on Alaska Native issues.

With nearly 20% of the population in Alaska being Alaska Native - and more than a few communities being almost entirely Alaska Native - this attention to the issues is more than just a small section of people you should look at - it's a large and neccessary section of people that are your constituents.


Despite the fact that we are here in great numbers, despite the fact that these issues are important, despite the fact that Palin's own children and husband are Alaska Native people themselves, Palin has completely ignored these issues. In all the research I've been doing, the only things I can find are convenient photo-ops and superficial appearances.

It is not just her stated issues that show her lack of interest in Alaska Native and American Indian issues - her brief governorship has been a practice in ignoring Alaska Native issues. As mayor of Wasilla, the Alaska Native issues were a much smaller voice, and easier to ignore. But as governor of some 100,000 Alaska Native people - roughly 1/6 to 1/5 of her constituents - she cannot continue to ignore the population.

I have seen so many interviews now with McCain spokesman who are asked very simple but direct questions about Palin and cannot answer them. "Is Sarah Palin the most qualified person McCain could have chosen?" "What foreign policy experience does Sarah Palin have?"

I am convinced that a talking point they are given by the McCain campaign is that if they are asked these kind of questions by newspeople who won't accept their dodge (which they are) is to then cry "I'm offended!" by their "attack on women?" Seriously, I've watched this happen four times now. It's insulting to women that to question Palin's qualifications is to demean women. I was glad, at least, that on Larry King a woman was there to put a stop to the McCain woman's "are you saying women can't be qualified" defense when she couldn't answer the question, "Is Palin the most qualified candidate?"

If you want to see what I'm talking about, check out one of these YouTube CNN clips - the question about her foreign policy experience starts about 3:15 in, and the McCain man just cannot, no matter what, answer the question, and after a failed attempt to put forward her "head of the Alaska National Gaurd" as a qualification, resorts to saying Campbell Brown shouldn't "belittle" Palin's decisions - unfortunately he was asked point blank to name one decision she made, and couldn't.

"Auntie Raven" sent me this column, a good look into what some Alaskan reactions have been to the Palin pick.


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