Random thoughts, ideas and pictures of a multi-tasking, yarn-addicted Lady Lawyer

Yes... I really DO have 5 kids

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Why I support Palin

Unlike some out there in the blogging universe who choose to only "publish" their own point of view and therefore disregard and dismiss the view of others, I am happy to allow dissent from my opinions. I'll even answer the comment posted below on the "Hear me Roar" post by Beth.

First of all, the comment seems to belittle my education and state that I must at least have gotten through law school and have some sort of education so I'll address the presumption that somehow only stupid people are supporting Governor Palin's VP candidacy first. I graduated from Miss Porter's School in Farmington, CT in 1982 -- you may have heard of it since it's ranked as one of the best schools in the country and was attended by Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and also by other notable authors, artists, educators, businesswomen and leaders for more than 150 years. I was not in the top two of my graduating class, but my grades and SAT scores, along with a vigorous extracurricular, athletic and community service schedule were more than sufficient to get me into pretty much any college I wanted to attend.

Much of my senior year in high school was not the experience I wanted though. In late October of 1981, I suffered a devastating knee injury to my left knee -- long before replacement surgery was possible and very early in the days of arthroscopic surgery. The vast majority of my senior year was spent in a hip-to-toe plaster cast along with two very painful surgeries -- one in late October and one in late January of 1982 a few days before my 18th birthday. Miss Porter's had something called a Long Winter Weekend each year so I was able to come home to PA for my 18th birthday. While driving me back to school on Feb. 6, 1982, my late father explained to me that we didn't qualify for financial aid at the college I really wanted to attend and that I couldn't go there because my mother had taken a significant sum in their divorce settlement and was not required to help pay for my college education (actually, she was under PA law at the time, but I didn't know that then). The injury to my knee was severe enough to limit any ability to attend college on sports scholarships -- 27 years later I still limp occasionally and a new injury to my right knee eight weeks ago has wreaked havoc on my life.

So I chose Temple University and started in the Winter semester of 1983. My late father was a bit chauvinistic and didn't think women could become lawyers so he thought journalism would be a good major for me. I started and did very well academically and met a man who would become my first husband (for a very short time). Like many 19 year olds in the early 1980s, I wasn't all that careful about birth control and became pregnant. I dropped out of college and had my oldest daughter 2 days after my 20th birthday. The marriage had no foundations so of course we tried to have another baby to salvage the marriage and when I was pregnant with my 2nd child, I returned to college to major in history. #2 was born one week before finals and I took those finals while fighting pneumonia that I had come down with postpartum. I pulled a 3.67 GPA that semester by the way. The ex and I were emotionally over by the time the Fall semester started in 1987 -- living in the same house, but that was it. I met my now DH that semester in an organic chemistry class. Ex and I officially separated before #2 was a year old and DH and I married in October of 1988.

I got pregnant again in January of 1989 and gave birth to #3, 19 years ago today. I had finished college pretty much minutes before he was born because I had AP credit from going to such a good high school and because I went to class in the summers so as to finish my degree in three years. I graduated cum laude by the way. #3 came a little early so I couldn't go immediately to law school since he needed additional care that only a mom could give him (and a dad -- DH and I have ALWAYS done equal parenting duties). In the meantime, DH finished college and started teaching at a wonderful private Catholic academy an hour from our house. Great school, VERY low salary. In the break period from my education (which I was paying for as was my husband), my younger sister gave birth to a baby with a fatal birth defect who only lived 16 days -- those days rocked my world and still do to this day. Meghan would have been 16 this past May.

I started law school in the Fall of 1992 with the weight of the world on my shoulders. My Meghan was gone, my husband and I were worried about finances, middle class families don't GET financial aid (because the definition of "middle class" is a joke -- one Senator Obama buys into hook, line and sinker) and my father's health was starting to fail. My ex husband would pop in occasionally to upset our family structure and my late mother-in-law suffered from health concerns that added more stress. I still did well in law school and we worked through the problems one by one; always struggling financially and dealing with problems that might have crushed other people emotionally -- there were some close calls, believe me. DH adopted the older two kids so the ex was now fully out of the picture, we stabilized my dad's health for the time and we learned to take time just for the 2 of us: there was NO extra money so we had "coffee dates" on our back patio every night.

I was lucky enough to be accepted into my law school's clinical program as a 2nd year student (not the norm) and also to get a lot of real world experience as a certified legal intern prior to graduation. I opened a firm with a friend when we graduated, but she wanted to make more money and joined a larger firm and I continued as a solo. For a very brief time in 2000, I worked for a mid-size firm myself, but then #4 came along and I went back to solo practice because being a mom was my first priority. The balance is possible -- especially with a supportive husband -- but I wanted to be there as much for our "extra blessing" as I had been and remained for the older three kids. My little guy went to the office on days I wasn't in court and was a familiar little figure in the courthouse as I filed documents and pleadings. On days where I was in court, he would be with my mother (until my sister's new baby was born and she just couldn't help ME out because Ryan was too big to lift -- funny, Julie will be 7 on Tuesday and she isn't too big for my mother to watch, but I digress) and then with the babysitter that we still use for our 2 year old. My children do not go to day care -- they are in a home-like environment.

Over the past decade or so, I have been belittled because I am a woman in the practice of criminal defense. Sometimes that derision is subtle and sometimes it is not so subtle. I have won major cases, I have balanced a family with my career, I volunteer on boards and politically and with the bar association and in my kids' schools. I have been a band parent, head cheerleading parent, head of my sons' summer swim team, I run my own small business (because sometimes the management of a law firm is more time consuming than the practice of law). I have done more fundraising for diverse groups than I can even count and frequently knit and crochet for charitable causes. I have an amazing husband who is a partner in every sense of the word. I have five children who are either self-sufficient, are becoming that way, are growing into independent little people or are just plain cute (that's the 2 year old). I am very comfortable in my own brand of feminism which I doubt meets the "rules" set forth by those who claim the term as their own.

What has Obama run? What legislation has he authored since he hit the U.S. Senate? What "change" does he offer for MY family? Let's see... I'm self-employed so I already pay double Social Security. College tuition assistance....? $4000 per year (for which we probably won't qualify) is a drop in the bucket when you are paying two college tuitions at the same time and my boys attend state universities and pay their fair share too. No solutions, only vague promises, on energy. No solutions, only vague promises, on the economy. I am not a racist, but if that man wasn't an African-American, he would not be at the top of a major party ticket. He's a cultural phenomenon -- and one which I believe was long overdue as much as I do about the gender gap -- but he has no substance or solutions. He is yet another in a long line of empty liberal suits -- long on rhetoric, short on reality.

The comment below also assumes that I voted for John Kerry in 2004. I didn't. It was the hardest vote I ever cast in my life, but I voted for Bush (the 2nd time around). Why? It's simple really..... because John Kerry was an empty liberal suit with no clue of what it means to be an average American who lives day to day. Like Kerry, Obama's values are not my values. For example, I would never, EVER expose my two younger children to a spiritual environment where racism and hatred and anti-patriotic sentiments might be spewed at any moment by a so-called man of God. I do not believe in denying an infant born during a partial-birth abortion medical treatment because letting that baby live is in opposition to the mother's choice to terminate the pregnancy.

Did I like the idea of Hillary on the top of the Dem ticket? Yep. Would have absolutely voted for her too. But Hillary doesn't represent my ideas or my political philosophy or my beliefs. She did offer concrete solutions to national problems though. The gender would have probably tipped the scale for me in her direction because I have concerns about a 72 year old president too. But the comment below about McCain "very likely could die in office within minutes of being elected" thus leaving us with a working mom who has run a state show JUST how much the McCain people have a stronger idea about what the middle class of this country really wants.

So why am I supporting Sarah Palin? That's easy. She's me -- with some different viewpoints although I share more with her than with the TOP of the other ticket. She's run a town and a state and a family. Is her gender a HUGE issue for me? Of course it is, but then there is a whole generation of Younger Baby Boomer women like myself who didn't have the opportunity to burn our bras yet still started our careers when women were automatically considered less than equally-stationed men. Once again, I am absolutely a feminist... with a small "f" rather than a large one. Palin epitomizes my generation and my personal life in many ways.

So to "Beth" below and to anyone else who thinks to demean me or call Palin's supporters "stupid" or want to refer to her ability to govern and manage her family as "inexperienced," I suggest you look to the TOP of your ticket and ask yourself what qualifications a 47 year old first term senator out of the Chicago Machine has to offer and what sort of "experience" he has.

And by the way... because my own life has taken twists and turns and not always been handed to me on a silver platter, I am going out of the country myself for the first time in three weeks when my husband and I take a three day trip to Canada for our 20th anniversary. That's all the time we GET to take because he's a teacher and I run my own business and our summers are dedicated to our 7 year old's swimming season.

Could I walk into the Oval Office and run this country tomorrow morning? You bet I could -- because NO ONE is truly experienced when it comes to that particular job and it's a matter of listening to one's advisors and applying that information to the facts and circumstances of a particular situation. Why do I support Sarah Palin? Because, if she needs to, I believe that she can process that information and make a better decision than any of the other three candidates on the two major party tickets.

She is woman.... hear her ROAR!