Saturday, September 13, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I particularly remember one class session where we watched political ads for women candidates, including a woman who had run for Lieutenant Governor in Arkansas (and lost), Charlie Cole Chaffin. I will never forget this woman, dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt, posed with her hunting rifle and retriever, trying to balance the need to appear both tough and feminine at the same time. She seemed to have it down-this complicated female leader formula (her name is "Charlie" for goodness sakes!), and yet in the end, it didn't really matter.
Who knew that just 12 years after I took that class in college, we would have a presidential race like the one we have this year. For the first time, a woman and an African-American man were vying for a major party's Presidential nomination. And now we have Barak Obama running for President and Sarah Palin running as the Vice-Presidential candidate with John McCain. Wow!
In some ways this is really great. But it has also given me pause. As a woman who has been the first female pastor in both churches that I have served, I think I have some sense of the extra level of scrutiny that can be placed on women leaders at times. I, too, have been pregnant (twice) while being in a public leadership position, and people have questioned my ability to be both an effective pastor and a good mom. And I have even had people say rude, inappropriate and sexist/sexual things to me on occasion (in church of all places--aren't you shocked!) So while being a pastor doesn't really compare with being an elected political leader (but I do, ahem, have REAL responsibilities, too), I think I may understand some of what Gov. Palin has also experienced in her career. And I am excited that there is a woman on one of the presidential tickets!
But I think we need to ask ourselves: when it comes down to it, what matters more? If I can identify with the personal narrative of a candidate or if their policies are in line with my values? This is a tough one, but I hope that all Americans will take seriously the policy positions of both candidates and let that be our guide, rather than just deciding based on whose story is more like our own. I don't expect that all women will support Sarah Palin, just like I wouldn't expect all African-Americans to support Barak Obama, or all white men to support John McCain or Joe Biden just because they are also white men.
As Christians I think that our need to look at each of the candidates policy positions is even more crucial. Our faith should inform our political views because Christ calls us to seek justice and righteousness in this world. The Christian organization, Sojourners has a non-partisan voters resource called "Vote Your Values" that I thought was helpful in looking at political policies broadly and in a Christian context, that you might want to check out, too.
This is going to be an historic election no matter which way it goes and I am excited to be a part of it. I hope that everyone will take advantage of the freedom we have in this country to choose our political leaders, and think, pray and vote!
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
And because I just can't resist...here's one family photo: