Following the selection of running mate Governor Sarah Palin by Senator John McCain, the GOP faithful have taken to filibustering any discussion about the surprise on their presidential ticket. Little discussion, if any, will be broached if they can help it. It appears to some that the person of Sarah Palin supersedes the office of the vice presidency and has meant the reduction of worth of the latter. Fortunately, the St. Paul Xcel Energy Center is neither the center of the universe nor the sole forum for the next two months.

Religion consists of caution, hope, humility, confession, repentance and redemption, among many other things. Showmanship strips religious worship of all its redeeming features. Vanity will not do. The quality of worship is often measured by the privacy surrounding it. Family values and social etiquette are born of religious sensibilities. Neither is a newcomer to our world. In the nondenominational U.S. public forum, being responsible is promoted regularly. Indirectly, this is a measure of our collective morality, i.e. religiosity.

Prominently being a hockey mom means having to give up a professional career for the mommy track. Doing a good job as a parent is instilling one’s values in and protecting the child from various vulnerabilities. Clearly, in the case of her oldest daughter, Palin has not done her primary job as well as she claims to have done her second career.

Further, exposing her daughter and the supposed father of the unborn child, as she and the Republican Party have, is a second dose of failure. It is utterly irresponsible to the nation of kids glued to the TV listening to the convention. Who is the celebrity now? Are we to believe that it is OK not to give sex education to kids in school because we could accelerate, facilitate or condone their sexuality, while it is OK to parade around an underage pregnant girl for the world to see and accept? What is unkind or judgmental about stepping back and saying, “That’s not the way to go!”Harsh” and “gentle” do not mix, especially during an election cycle, not this time at least.

So the question arises, what does the term “conservative” mean to Palin and her party? Does it stand for loosely, outwardly or truly religious? In religion, shame and guilt are legitimate tools of personal and social redress. How can one be a religious conservative without subscribing to them? As a matter of political convenience, the McPalin Show would have the rest of us overlook this faux pas. But do we have to put up with it for the sake of being politically correct?

oreover, going through a pregnancy with a Down syndrome child or an out-of-wedlock conception are not choices to a conservative or religious people. To them there are no other choices. Anything else is a sin and a crime. It is murder. So why glorify a non-choice? In fact, becoming pregnant as such is also a non-choice. That is why Palin does not support sex education. But now there has been a slip-up. Her management of the latter situation gives a clue to the nature of Palin’s ostentatious conservatism.

Biologically, proliferation of children is possible. It is the desire to be a parent morally, socially, educationally, economically and spiritually (to some), not just passing along DNA to a new generation, that drives birth control among many modern day married adults. Having it all is not easy. Does Sarah Palin know that? If so, what sacrifices did she make once her career-track button got pushed? With one test case, she has raised serious questions as to her parenting skill and her insight regarding the scope of responsibilities. Isn’t this an area where conservatives seem to think they have a thing or two to teach the rest of the country?

Finally, it is surprising that the Republicans, while panning the convention delegates with TV cameras, repeatedly showed beautiful female faces for more than a passing moment. This is an old advertising trick. I wonder where the conservative or the religious values get tucked away whenever being business-minded or expeditious becomes the goal. What’s with this “hot babe” routine? During the Democratic primaries Hillary Clinton could hardly invoke her femaleness to catch a break.

After a week of the Sarah Palin Show, I have concluded that despite reservations, I also face a non-choice: Drive a hybrid car and support a hybrid ticket behind a hybrid-raced leader!

Shafi A. Khaled is a Bangladeshi-American economist and father of a current Georgetown student and a Georgetown alumnus.

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