September 06, 2008

Why I Can't Be Vice-President

And no, it's not just because I'm not old enough. I have only been out of the country once in my life. I've never been to Mexico or Canada--my passport has only one stamp, from England almost six years ago. I do know a few people who have travelled enough to possibly qualify--Hannah, Abby, Jen, and Sista Cool all have a quite a few stamps in the ol' passport.

Why do I bring this up? One of the attacks on Sarah Palin has been that she hasn't travelled enough, that she first got her passport and left the U.S. in 2007, to visit the Alaskan National Guard in Kuwait and Germany. So what? Not many of us have the resources and time to travel the world. Besides, she lived in Alaska, a place most people have pretty high on their travel lists. I think the media needs to wake up a bit--for Americans, travel has always been a bit of an elite proposition. We live in a big, fantastic country, but it's all one country. A person could visit all fifty states, an impressive feat, and apparently not have travelled enough. Perhaps this criticism stings because I haven't travelled nearly enough in my life. My chances aren't very high to travel around the world any more, unless Mr. Cool finally wins the lottery, and I would hate to think that if my latent political ambitions spring forth, I could be derided for not travelling enough.

Well, enough Election 2008 ranting for today. Check out this nice piece in Newsweek from a liberal woman who still likes Sarah Palin.


Matty said...

Sure international travel has always been an elite proposition... of course so has politics. I can speak fro experience when I say that traveling with young kids can be a nightmare so maybe that is the main reason for her homebody-ness.

That said, there is one group that has been known to travel extensively while never leaving the middle class. That would be the US military. Not that I am telling you to enlist or anything but it certainly does qualify a person for having been around the block.

mark said...

Well said about the military, they are certainly the most traveled individuals of the upper-lower-middle class. However, if military travel was what the media was worried about, her trips to Germany and Iraq would count.

If I were king of the world - as many of my coversations start - I would required a entire 6 months of living and travel in a foreign speaking country. This is because I beleive exposure to different cultures, ideas, art, different ways of doing things, food, and best of all - mass transit.

Would it be great if all our leaders had been exposed to different cultures - sure. It would also be great if the manager of the local wal-mart had actually been to mexico - so he'd know how awesome apple soda is and keep a better stock.

But should it disqualify a VP candidate? No, besides, if you added up the miles the Palin traveled to and from Alaska, Hawaii, and Idaho for college, the rest of contiguous 48, and all the time in bush planes around her backyard, I'd bet her total logs matches that other lady's netted miles. Just something to chew on...