Barack Obama said that the candidates' families are off limits to the press. I agree almost completely. I say "almost," however, because I do believe that people who make foolish decisions regarding their home lives are likely to do the same at their place of work.
I think Sarah Palin's decision to run for the VP seat at this time in the life of her family was unacceptable. The Palins have two special-needs children: an infant with Down Syndrome and a pregnant teenage daughter. Neither of these children need or deserve any media attention, and that's where I agree with Obama. However, it is the action of the Palins themselves that is bringing on the media attention in the first place. The children need their parents' full attention at this time, and they also need some privacy from the rest of the world. How could any parent intentionally place their children's special needs into the spotlight of the media? How is that good parenting?
This was a poor, thoughtless decision that appears to be only for political gain. This decision alone trumps any other reason for why I would never consider Sarah Palin to be qualified for the VP role.
While I'm no political expert, I've been a parent of a special-needs child far longer than the Palins. Reasonable parents, especially those with almost two decades of parenting under their belts (the Palins' oldest child is 19), should at least have a notion that parenting special kids involves entering an entirely different, uncharted world. Therefore, reasonable parents should be able to determine that no other major life-changing decisions are made till things at home become stable. Trust me, the Palins have several years ahead of them till the word 'stable' would be an appropriate descriptor for their home environment. That's just a comment on the situations life has handed to them. It's not even considering the hell they are inflicting upon their children for thrusting them into the media spotlight.
All parents of special kids make sacrifices which change their future plans. I normally don't like to speak in such absolute terms like "all," but based on my experiences and knowing numerous other families in similar situations, I believe I'm simply reporting the facts. All of the special-needs families I know have made major changes in their lives to accommodate their children. Some change their jobs, or they choose not to take a new job in order to keep their children's lives stable. Other families decide not to have additional children, thus severely changing the face of any family's future plans. But I simply don't hear about families ignoring their children's needs, let alone exploiting them, for their own personal gain. Normally the behavior is completely the opposite.
If the Palins are unable to make these sorts of decisions in a reasonable way at home, then how can Governor Palin be trusted to make reasonable decisions as a VP?
I'm already hearing supporters of the McCalin/Palin campaign saying that any comment against Palin is a comment against women. Bullshit. My argument has nothing to do with differences between the sexes. It has everything to do with being good parents and making reasonable decisions to support children. Period.
Again, I'm no political expert, but I am a parent of a special-needs child. And I am also a voter.