Last night when I got home I went on the New York Times' website and watched Obama's speech (I had missed it while out). Now, I'll admit to being a sucker for these things, but I was very much in tears. It makes me proud to be an American in a very big way to see how far this nation has grown in a relatively short time. There's still a lot of growing to do, but this is a wonderful moment in our nation's history.
I was a little bit annoyed to see that the headlines this morning were focused on Sarah Palin as McCain's VP pick. For one thing, I was really hoping he would pick Romney because that would have made it a cakewalk for Obama. But he proved that he isn't entirely demented (or at least his staff isn't) in avoiding that. He did, however, entirely undercut the crux of his argument against Obama by picking Palin, who fairly clearly has less political experience than he does (and all of it in Alaska - you know, not a state where that much happens). Still, in two short years in the Alaska governor's seat, Palin has managed, to quote a Kids In The Hall sketch, "to abuse her very limited power" when trying to get someone to fire her ex-brother-in-law for personal reasons, and then firing the person who wouldn't do it. Coming off eight years of Vice President Dick "No-Ethics" Cheney, I hope people are wary of someone who has demonstrated such questionable ethics in such a short period of time.
Since overall the choice of Palin seems to undercut a lot of McCain's campaign up until now, I can't help but interpret the move as a ploy for the votes of dissatisfied Hillary supporters. I hope those who are still wary of throwing their lot in with Obama can tell the diffference between Hillary Clinton, a truly accomplished woman, and an anti-abortion rights, anti-equal pay, ethically challenged newcomer who was competing in beauty contests when Barack Obama was organizing on behalf of poor, working families in Chicago, and when Hillary Clinton was campaigning for children's rights. It isn't too hard from where I sit, but eight years of President Bush have left me very much doubting the capacity of the American electorate to make good decisions at the ballot.
As a person who truly does support the cause of women's rights, I think every man and woman ought to be a little offended that McCain chose a female running mate for what appears to be her youth, general good looks, and maybe also because she is more vocally against abortion rights than McCain and a member of the NRA. In other words, substantially for superficial reasons. Leave it to the Republican Party to make their first female VP choice come off as vaguely sexist.
I can't help but think that Palin's inexperience will become very obvious now that she is catapulted from a very small stage to a very big one, but she is charming and well-spoken. I hope Obama will involve Hillary (and Bill) as much as he can in his campaign because I think she is probably in a better position than anyone to point out Palin's lack of accomplishments as a politician, and remind people what a qualified female politician looks like. Luckily, Barack Obama has already proven himself capable of prevailing in a tough and close campaign, and Biden ought to be able to talk circles around Palin. Fingers crossed.