Which comes first, mother or vice president?

Senator John McCain’s decision to make Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin his running mate in the 2008 presidential election has had the public in an uproar, demanding answers as to who she is and what she is all about. It is in the public interest to know everything about her, from her stance on the issues to her personal life.

It is also true that the invasion of privacy is the price that comes with being a public figure whether that is good or bad. Nevertheless, the question that many people are asking is, should Palin’s personal issues have an effect on the Republican campaign? Moreover, if John McCain wins the presidential election, would her issues affect her job as Vice President or even President of the United States?

Our country is divided on these questions. Everyone from students to other politicians debate whether her issues should weigh in when it comes to her run for vice president. The truth is, unless the issues of a political figure form a conflict of interest with the position, change their credibility status as an authority, or are a detriment to their job, it should not have an effect.

Palin’s personal life will not taint her credibility as a potential leader of this country; however, her family situation could have a damaging effect on her campaign for vice president.

Many people are outraged that a conservative like Palin could have a 17-year-old, unwed daughter who is getting ready to welcome a baby into this world in the next few months. Why? Who says conservatives or politicians are exempt from the trials and tribulations of raising teenagers? Not to mention parents are almost never the only factors in the decision making process of a teenager. Having an unwed pregnant daughter has no bearing on her loyalty as a conservative.

But as a future grandmother, with an inexperienced teenage mom as her daughter, wouldn’t it be natural for her to want to be there and help her daughter out? That, coupled with raising her other children, the newest member having Down syndrome, could cause a problem when it comes to sacrificing for the sake of the country.

I want to be clear when I say that this is in no way saying that women cannot be a parent and be successful. Plenty of women in history have done it and done it well. In Palin’s situation, not only will she be juggling her career and children, she also must balance the extra needs and patience that comes with raising a child with Down syndrome and the needs that comes with co-running a whole country.

Although it is a blessing to have children no matter how society judges them, having a baby with special needs can severely influence a parent’s life. Certain choices must be made. The little freedom a parent had further diminishes. Children with Down syndrome are more vulnerable to infection and childhood diseases, making the difficult job of parenting that much harder. With all the duties that come with the presidential office, we have to wonder, when it comes down to it, which she will choose: her country or her child? Both decisions could be damaging and her choice may affect her role as vice president or even president.

If Senator McCain wins the election, would Palin be fit to become vice president or president if something should happen to him? She may be capable enough to help lead the country.

However, can the American people depend on her to give her full attention to the nation? More importantly, did she accept McCain’s offer because she can do the job, or was it just too big an opportunity to pass up? If that is the case, can we trust her to make the right decisions?