Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Sarah Palin's very old habit: Using her children as political props

The video above is a tribute to Sarah Palin and her family, made by a loyal fan.

Sarah Palin is very fond of saying "Leave my children alone." And yet, she seems to place her children in the spotlight at any available opportunity, using them to gain sympathy, to add the cuteness factor to her political campaigns and also as poster children for various other campaigns.

In Going Rogue, we learn that she would take her children with her while campaigning for a seat on the Wasilla City Council:

"Track and Bristol were still tiny, so I went door-to-door asking for people's votes, pulling the kids through the snow on a sled."

By the time she ran for mayor of Wasilla, Willow had joined her brood.

"And when it was time to knock on every door in the city again, I pulled Track and Bristol in a little red wagon, and this time I toted Willow in a toddler backpack."

The children helped her again, when Sarah Palin ran for a second term.

In 2002, Sarah decided to run for lieutenant governor and Piper joined in the fun.

By December 2005, Sarah was campaigning for governor.

Here's an example of  one of Sarah Palin's TV-ads used during her run for Governor in 2006:

"Now here I was headed home from Valdez, still toting kids on campaign trails, except this time (with longer distances to cover) using a Jetta instead of a sled."

As an infant, Piper became the poster child for the Alaska Right to Life.

"Ahead, on my right, I saw the Alaska Right to Life (RTL) booth, where a poster caught my eye, taking my breath away. It featured the sweetest baby girl swathed in pink, pretend angel wings fastened to her soft shoulders.

"That's you, baby," I whispered to Piper, as I have every year since she smiled for the picture as an infant."

The campaign trail when Sarah Palin ran for vice president is very well documented. All her children played a role, but Track and Bristol were absent as the campaign progressed. Willow, Piper and Trig were there for the duration.

Piper had been the hardest working Palin child until Trig took center stage, proving to be a much more powerful image in reinforcing Sarah Palin's right to life, anti-abortion credentials. None of the high profile organizations for Down syndrome or special needs adopted Trig as their poster child and Sarah Palin has paid lip service to any campaigns to raise funds or awareness in the challenges the children and their parents face on a daily basis. No, Trig seems to be used to promote Sarah Palin alone. He worked very hard during the vice presidential campaign and again on the book tour. Piper still plays a large role in her mother's ambitions, but now she has to share the stage with Trig.

Bristol is the poster child for abstinence, with some pro-life thrown into the mix. Magazine spreads, ambassador for the Candies Foundation and now she's going to play herself on the ABC show "The Secret Life of the American Teenager". Tripp is the prop of choice for helping Bristol with her credentials.

Track has to play a more distant role as the military son, but the blue star and his name on a bracelet have been milked for all they're worth.

Sarah Palin doesn't seem to have found any specific use for Willow, apart from the statutory rape/Dave Letterman's fiasco.

This mixing of family and work would be OK if they were something like the Partridge Family, which is not the case here.

Sarah Palin is not the first or the only working mother in the world. Millions of women all over the world have to juggle their domestic and working lives every single day. She always had choices regarding childcare. In the earlier years, she could count on a large, close-knit extended family. More recently, she could have used her considerable wealth to provide the best childcare for the younger members of the Palin clan. The thing with Sarah Palin is that she doesn't have any boundaries between work and family, so her children play very prominent roles in her ambitious career in an obviously deliberate way.

How can Sarah expect the media to leave her children alone?

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