Thursday, September 25, 2008

Qualifications To Be Vice President

After receiving various emails from friends asking me to weigh in on whether I feel Sarah Palin is qualified to be Vice President of the United States, I took a quick peek at Wikipedia to see what the actual qualifications are. They are:

1. You must be a natural born US citizen.

2. You must be at least 35 years old.

3. You must have resided in the U.S. for the past 14 years.

There are no other legal barriers or guidelines.

These 3 criteria are not exactly open to debate; either Sarah Palin meets them or she doesn't. If she does, then legally she is qualified to run for the Presidency or Vice Presidency. If we are unhappy with these criteria, then perhaps we should change them; however, I don't know if we want to do that. Having these very loose guidelines allows inexperienced people to run but it also allows for a fresh point of view. If we institute too many requirements, we effectively limit our choices to career politicians.

The question of whether Palin is qualified to be VP is not really a question about her qualifications. It is a question about her beliefs. I don't agree with her beliefs, so I'm not going to vote for her. It's that simple. I refuse to participate in Palin bashing because she has openly stated what she stands for. It is the voters who are responsible for knowing what they stand for and voting in accordance with their beliefs, not simply choosing a candidate based on that candidate's personality or his or her portrayal in the media.

We are a nation where name recognition, financial backing and the ability to woo the media are much more important to winning an election than experience, knowledge or wisdom. We are a nation where movie stars, pop singers and wrestlers can and are elected to public office, why then is Sarah Palin being singled out as unqualified? Is it because she is a mother, because she is a fundamentalist, or simply because she is a woman who will make history if elected? Perhaps it's a little of all these things.

I would suggest that we move beyond discussing Sarah Palin's qualifications and focus on the candidates' voting records and what they stand for. We don't need to pull another woman down to feel superior. It isn't necessary and it distracts from the real issues. I applaud Sarah Palin's desire to break through the glass ceiling but I will not vote for her because I disagree with her, not because she is less qualified.

For the first time in my life, I intend to vote for the Green Party candidate. Her name is Cynthia McKinney. I've decided to vote for the candidate I like best regardless of her viability because this election year, I've learned that the Democratic party is too big to be responsive to me. I want to take steps towards correcting this situation by helping the Green Party take at least 5% of the vote and help legitimize it's goals. I think diversity in people as well as in political parties is a good thing. Perhaps some of you will feel like I am helping the Republicans win by voting Green. I have used the same argument in the past to convince others to join me in preventing the Republican party from winning but all that did was make the Democrats complacent. Once assured of my vote, they promptly sought to win the votes of centrists by pleasing them instead of me. My relationship with the Democratic party is over. I don't want to be in a relationship where I do all the vote giving and I get taken for granted in return. I understand why people feel that we have to choose between the two major parties; I believed that myself for many years but if we never change the way we vote, we'll keep getting the same results. This time I'm voting for long term change because that is change I can believe in.


Anonymous said...

this was an awesome blog Alice!

Chris Oliver said...

I guess I can't fault you for voting Green, since I did in 2000, but I disagree with your overly literal take on Palin's qualifications. Surely there are more ways to read the word "qualified" than just the legal definition.

If I hire someone to fix my car, I want to know that that person knows something about how cars work. If I ask them a question about how it works, I expect them to know the answer. I don't care how they know it (went to automechanic school, learned it from Dad, or taught themselves), but if they don't understand auto mechanics, then they're not qualified to work on my car. And if someone doesn't understand how the economy works, or the interrelations of different countries, then they aren't qualified to be the (potential) president.

Matt "Max" Van said...

I've always advocated voting "for" as opposed to "against" when it comes to candidates. I think it is better to vote for the candidate you support the most, as opposed to voting in such a way to try to prevent the candidate you most dislike from winning. It just so happens that this usually means I end up voting for some 3rd party candidate that has no hope of winning, but so be it. I'd rather that my vote count for something, rather than a meaningless number to add to the many.
For example, if I'm the only one who votes for a given candidate, doesn't that make my one vote more powerful? When they print up the results, wouldn't it make you curious to see who this candidate was that got 1% of the vote?
But, I have to say that I can't do a 'comedy' vote, like voting for Bozo the clown or Frank Moore. i have to actually support them.
Which is why it's so tough for methis cycle. I neither like, nor trust Obama. He lost me a year ago with his stance on pakistan. I would have been OK with McCain until he put in Palin as his Veep choice. I loathe the religious right, I loathe the whole notion of 'drill, baby, drill", and I loathe anti-intellectual suburban gestapo types, so yes, Palin really is why I wouldn't vote for the republicans, this cycle.
But, I also wouldn't vote for a Bob Barr (too hypocritical, too knee jerk right wing) Ron Paul (too close to religious right) or even Cynthia McKinney ( she's pretty right on about a lot of things, but her conspiracy theory leanings about 9/11 and Tupac Shakur kill me on her). So, for right now, i'm trying to decide between Gloria La Riva, Brian Moore, and not voting for president. Sucks, but there you have it.

Jenny Lens said...

When the Democrats rolled over and let Bushco get their way in Florida, I immediately registered as a Green. As a Jew, I was horrified so many voted for Bush (twice).

But the reality is most Jews have always voted Democratic. The fact that both the Dems and the Jews allowed Bushco to steal the 2000 (and then 2004) elections gave me just another reason to feel so alienated as a Jew and Dem.

I had no great expectations the Dems would realize they were losing progressives and work to keep us. Why should they care about us? We don't pay them millions of dollars. I'm sure most have read Obama and McCain have both been fed from the same trough, whether it's Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac or various coporations.

It's as if nothing has changed since the Chicago 7, the 1968 Dem convention. That was the last time young college students and other young people -- the ones whose future was being impacted the most by current politics -- actually took to the street.

I was a teen during the Vietnam War. The Democrats were the enemy then. We simply live in a one-party country. Two sides of the same coin.

I've known someone for about 20 years. She's very involved with the LA Greens. Talk about disorganized, lack of money and power and being shut out of the public eye. Instead of the "Unheard Music," it's the "Unheard Greens," progressives and liberals.

I wish people remembered and talk about the ONE reason the Vietnam War ended. Enough people took to the streets enough times AND it was broadcast on TV and radio. Finally the government, after taking their sweet time, turned the situation to turn it around to look heroic, and finally ended it.

(Nixon and Kissinger. Why is Kissinger still highly regarded? Why isn't he behind bars?)

But the government never ever stopped promoting, starting and participating in warfare and made sure the public would never have a voice again.

So what's the solution? Don't know. I think people are so medicated, whether via legal or illegal drugs, booze, food and all its addictive, sickening ingredients, TV and epidemic depression and the absolute stranglehold of agri-pharma-"military-industrial complex" multi-national conglomerate corporations doesn't make me very hopeful.

The first steps are to become as self-sufficient as possible. Stop using credit cards, grow your own food (I grow organic sprouts in my apt kitchen), sew, barter, bike, bus, recycle, stop buying things, stop buying water/tea/coffee/juices in land-filling bottles, buy food from local farmer's markets -- just stop being such a consumer.

Be a producer! Bottle your own, make your own. Go online for ideas, techniques and supplies. Most know thrift shops and online research are a must. When ordering online, try to get as much from as few suppliers as possible. Thank G-d for the UPS!

Ordering online doesn't only save money and give me more choices, but the cost of gas and car maintenance, time saved dealing with traffic, being able to buy at any hour, has been amazing. Sure I buy some things locally, but I've done my online research first.

Yes, most of Alice's readers are more aware than most. But how many of you eat out when you could make your own meals while supporting local farmers and/or local, small health food stores? How many buy mags or spend too much time in front of the TV? Buy books or go to the library? Impulse buying or shopping as entertainment? Dash out for one item or another, rather than planning as many errands as possible all at once?

Ok, back to work so I can afford to buy what I need and only what I need. And to prepare for the future, which is only going to get worse.

We all lost $2200 this week. No, it's $2200 per every man, woman and child. But we know the rich won't pay a dime toward the Wall Street bailout, but they will benefit from it.

$2200 is a conservative figure. Conservative? Remember what that used to mean?

Another reason I'm a Green is at least I can say, well, it's not my party. And I'll cry if I want to!

Anonymous said...

Nice blog entry, Alice. I would counter Chris Oliver's argument that there is more to being qualified than the legal requirements with the observation that if our nation's founders had felt it important to have a solid command of foreign policy or economics, etc., they would have written those qualifications into the Constitution.

What foreign policy experience did Bush/Reagan/Clinton have prior to taking office? That did not prevent those men from assuming the highest office in the land. But for some reason we view females through a different lens and that is precisely Alice's point.

Disclaimer: I am voting for Obama/Biden and not McCain/Palin.