Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sarah Palin's baby Trig

Unless you have seen it first first-hand, as part of the press scrum or as a campaign staffer, it is almost impossible to imagine how grueling the process of running for national office is. Everybody gets exhausted. The candidates have to answer questions and offer views roughly 18 hours a day, and any misstatement on any topic can get them in trouble.

Yes, the race for the US presidency in 2008 is one of the toughest jobs in the world. The final stretch of the campaign? Challenging can't be the word for it. In Palin's case, it will be especially tough. Fallows explains, "If someone is campaigning for the presidency or vice presidency, there's an extra twist. That person has to have a line of argument to offer on any conceivable issue." Palin will have the steepest of learning curves. She needs lots of coaching, concerning every issue: from Iraq to China to the ins-and-outs of health insurance.

The final stretch of the race for the presidency sounds even harder than that other marvel of human existance: pulling off what mothers achieve in caring for an infant.

How is it, one wonders, that Sarah Palin has come to the conclusion that she can to do both?

Palin of course, is the mother of a baby named Trig born on 18 April 2008. As every mother knows, it is a tough job -- I think most would say it's more than a full-time job -- taking care of a newborn child. But in the case of Palin's child, Trig, there will be special challenges. Because Trig has Downs Syndrome it is likely little Trig will require some extra attention. It is not as if Palin has prior experience raising such a child.

Tell me, how can Palin do it? The most difficult stretch of the most grueling race on earth, plus the steep learning curve, plus having a newborn, plus addressing the special-needs requirements of Trig? How?

The answer, of course, is that compromises will be made. Today, Palin spoke before a campaign banner that read "Country First." But can Palin -- under the circumstances -- really put Country First? I have some female Jotman readers to thank for raising this question (see this post). Here is what these readers have said:

A female Jotman reader wrote:
Seeing her parade onto the stage with her family struck me as pathetic - who gets to raise that tiny baby? - I can't believe women will react sympathetically to her. Women just don't react well to a woman who sacrifices her family for her career. Bringing up children is hard enough but the challenges of handling a Downs syndrome child is something else again. I am dumbfounded.
Another woman commented:
Running around the country and promoting John McSames outdated, out of touch and unrealistic values and ideals does not speak well of her dedication to raising a special needs child. Isn't she still breast feeding this child?
And then this woman chimed in:
I am so glad someone else feels this way! While with some difficulty I can not comment on the choice to have a child with downs syndrome, I am apalled at this vice-presidential run choice. A child need as much time from both parents as possible during the early years!!! Beeing a commited working mom of two little ones I am beyong stupefied that someone can opt for the campaign trail and yet dream of espousing family values!!!
What do you think? Is Sarah Palin attempting to do too much? Is it ethical? Is Palin's family life and baby really any of our business?

Update: There are new allegations about the baby.


  1. OK, so she and her husband make this decision to bring this child with special needs into the world. First, why have a ambio, I mean one assumes to see if the fetus is alright, probably other reasons, but the choice is made to have the child. Now, a couple months later she decides her career is more important. Hey so much for the new christian values.

  2. I am totally in agreement; you could argue that it is "none of our business" if this woman were doing anything less than running for VP of the USA. With our country facing monumental hurdles in the coming decades, and with the possibility of a 72-year old in questionable health becoming our next president, suddenly the role of the VP becomes more important than ever. Since the McCain-Palin ticket is running on the "family values" platform, the question of how she is raising her children is a legitimate one. Since we now know that she has a minor daughter who is pregnant, her parenting skills may be put under the microscope.

  3. Neither McCain nor Palin is putting the needs of the country first. McCain cannot guarantee he will stay healthy. Palin let herself get swept away by party flattery and her ego, instead of thinking of the needs of her country and her family, It is frightening.

  4. I t is a sad day when the women of this country can speak disapprovingly against a woman of intelligence, strength, loyalty and compassion. Would you comment as you have if she were a man? All of those negatives are points that make her a strong candidate. Yes, she has children, so she is aware of the needs that a child requires and the importance of programs that allow our children to grow. That is good for those of us who have children. She has a child fighting for this country, so she is aware of how important it is to keep our children safe from the terrorists and bring our sons and daughters home safe. She has lived with concerns of not having health insurance, she so is aware of the necessity of affording health insurance. And last but not least you speak of her newest child, and his needs... that should give you the most hope in her candidacy. She will fight for those whose voice may not be as loud, that we the citizens who look to our government to keep us protected will not be forgotten because she is the face of you and of me, your neighbor, and your mother. She is the hope that is needed because somehow, somewhere this government has forgotten the little people. Have you taken a serious look at the possibility of who may be our president …. Have you looked and listened to those choices? It is a sad day when out of all the people in this country this is what we have to choose from….... Sarah Palin is someone who gives this election and this country some hope. For goodness sake bad parent she is not, but human she is and that is a good thing for all of us. sc


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