These are family values?

We hear a lot about family values from the republican conservative base. As noted in so many other entries here, usually the condemnations and demands for personal responsibility are for others not themselves.

The pregnancy of Ms. Palin’s daughter has thrust her belief system into the forefront. While her daughter’s pregnancy should certainly be a private family matter, when it is being used as a political point to showcase their righteous religious ideology, it is another matter. I pity that poor child and question Ms. Palin’s value system when she would choose to expose her daughter to such public scrutiny.

Ms. Palin’s stance on abortion is particularly abhorrent and, in the case of girls in their teens, child abuse. She believes that abortion should only be considered when the life of the mother is at stake. She is adamantly opposed to it in cases of rape or incest saying it is not the fault of the “innocent life”. Her definition of innocent life, of course, does not include the rape victim. She has said that if her daughter were raped or the victim of incest she would insist that she bear the child (it would apparently not be her daughter’s decision). Sarah Palin puts the health and welfare of her daughters, as well as millions of other women, at risk with her personal religious doctrine.

Rape is a particularly violent and vicious act. It creates physical, mental, and emotional trauma in its victims and strips them of dignity, security, and the ability to trust. When a parent or family member insists that a rape victim carry through a pregnancy, it compounds the trauma and perpetuates the violence. It tells the rape victim that she can no longer be secure; that her safety and her mental, physical and emotional health are unimportant. It tells her that violence against her is okay. It tells her that her welfare is insignificant compared to that of a zygote, embryo or fetus. It tells her that religious doctrine is more important than her life. It tells her that she cannot trust those who are supposed to love her. And, in the case of a child of a politican, it tells her that politics trumps her wellbeing as well.

By all accounts, Ms. Palin is a popular governor in Alaska, despite some issues regarding honesty and abuse of power. She would appear to be a woman who believes in equality for women, but she does not. She does not support the most fundamental of personal freedoms that all of us should have – personal autonomy over our own bodies and the right to make our own decisions regarding that body. She is being celebrated, not for her abilities so much as for her appearance, her fundamentalist religious beliefs, and her relatively shallow knowledge base and career. She claims to be a feminist, but her type of feminism is the kind that denigrates women and places their welfare at risk where health and economic security are concerned.

So, Senator McCain is further pandering to conservative “family values” voters with his choice. This type of value system inculcates abuse of the most fundamental and irredeemable kind. Ms. Palin’s abortion stance alone makes her particularly repugnant to me (regardless the many other issues on which I am sure to disagree). Even Senator McCain, who has a wife and daughters, does not carry the abortion issue so far.

His pander is unfortunate and shows his desperation. His choice is a hit with religious fundamentalists and those who fear women and want to keep them subservient and powerless. Dems and those who do not support this agenda need to be very concerned since the conservative base is numerous and now quite energized by this woman after their own hearts.