I can think of a lot of women that are wonderful role models for kids and, yes, I’d even call them heroes. Women like Rosa Parks who stood (or, rather, sat) against racial inequality, Eleanor Roosevelt who reminded us that women could be leaders too, and Rear Admiral Grace Hopper who not only gave us the computers we use everyday but also the term “bug” to mean a glitch in a computer system. These are women I’d be happy to have my children look up to and try to emulate. Former Alaskan Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, though? Not so much.
Of course, there are those who feel the opposite, those who do think that Palin — whose domestic proximity to Russia apparently counts as foreign policy experience (“Our next door neighbors are foreign countries”) — is indeed worthy of inclusion in such a list. Katharine DeBrecht, author of the “Help! Mom!” series of children’s political books, is one of them. In fact, she went ahead and made Palin into a heroine in her latest book, Help! Mom! Radicals Are Ruining My Country!
In the book, “Governor Sarah” tries to help two boys with their struggling swingset business, telling them “I am trying to let all Americans know that these radicals are killing the American Dream and I want to stop them from hurting people that produce products and provide jobs.” That evening, the boys see a news report spreading the rumor that Palin’s mother is an alien and that she feeds her children dog food. The boys are discouraged and wonder if such unfair treatment would discourage people from running for office.
The author wanted to include the Palin character in order to teach a lesson. “In this internet age,” says DeBrecht, “we need to let our kids know that it is wrong to spread rumors and lies. Unfortunately, many so-called journalists have basically told children that this is permissible as long as you disagree with someone’s opinions.” While that is an important lesson to teach kids, I’m not sure it’s worth making Palin into a hero to do it. If, however, you already see Palin as a hero-figure, then this might just be the perfect book to share with your kids.
Update — if this isn’t enough conservatism for your kids, you can get them this book too!
Photo: US Army