Thursday, October 09, 2008
I Know Sarah Palin and I Don't Hate Her
Watching Sarah Palin over the past few weeks, and learning more about her right leaning ways - from her book banning to her church's pray-the-gay-away beliefs - I realize that I've known Sarah for much longer than I thought.
Here's a story for you:
A few days ago someone asked me if homophobia still exists. "Really? Are people really homophobic?" Were it not for the sincerely confounded expression on the person's face I would have thought this was an insane question. But this person (who is obviously straight) just couldn't fathom why anyone in the 21st century would care enough to make an issue out of someone's sexual orientation. Given this person's easy rapport with yours truly, it just seemed right for them to assume that gays always have it rosy with the rest of the world.
This got me to thinking about Sarah Palin and the YouTube video I posted a few days ago from the HRC about her anti-gay ways. And then it donned on me: I can't hate Sarah Palin, I've known her for most of my adult life.
My mom's sister-in-law is pretty fierce. She has a career in finance and is all about the power suits and the Midtown grind. She knows numbers and how to decorate a room and she never raises her voice. When I was a teenager, her house was my favorite place to be - and bless her heart - she loved hosting sleepovers for my brother and me and making us breakfast on Saturday mornings.
Until I came out of the closet.
For all of her Working Girl savvy, my aunt also believes that I can pray the gay away. And until I did, I was told that I was no longer welcome in her home. For sleepovers OR breakfast. Interestingly enough, she was the first person I came out to. That was the kind of rapport we had.
You would think my aunt was some kind of backwoods monster. But no, she's a smart woman of the world with an unflinching faith. She's not going to come and set my house on fire and she's not going to picket at my funeral, but she certainly believes I've made a terrible choice with my life.
I've seen her a few times at family gatherings, and while we keep a respectful distance from each other, she's charming, witty, and hell, she'll wink at you once or twice. Sound like anyone running for VP?
While I can't say I support her political views, I understand where Sarah Palin is coming from, and I don't think it's a place of malice. That said, she's more than entitled to be a lovely, religious zealot in the privacy of her own home and in the confines of her church, just like my aunt. But I wouldn't want either of them, for all their numbers savvy and smart pant suits, a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.