Mill’s Take On Sarah Palin
Upon reading The Subjection of Women by J.S. Mill, I made an instant connection to Sarah Palin in the Presidential elections of 2008 and 2012. I remember back in 2008 that a lot of people were concerned with Sarah Palin becoming the Vice President of the United States. A ton of people rejected her simply because she was a woman. I recall various Saturday Night Live Skits mocking Palin such as the one below.
In this Saturday Night Live skit, one can see the satirical comedy at Sarah Palin and Hilary Clinton when the actress says, “It’s time for a women to make it to the white house,” and the other women exlamins, “No! It’s mine!” SNL is mocking these two women on national television purely because they are females running for important political positions.
I also came across an article the today reporting that Sarah Palin lost the GOP support in the upcoming presidential election.
Why did Palin lose support to become the next President? Many would claim that since we never had a woman as President before, it’s not a good idea. Mill would have a problem with this reasoning for several reasons. He states that, “The preceding considerations are amply sufficient to show that custom, however universal it may be, affords in this case no presumption, and ought not to create any prejudice, in favour of the arrangements which place women in social and political subjection to men,” (660). He continues to explain how in history, people were born into there positions, specifically in politics. If a noble citizen had a son, that child would automatically have a political position. However, “…human beings are no longer born in their place in life, and chained down by an inexorable bond to the place they are born to, but are free to employ their faculties, and such favourable chances as offer, to achieve the lot which may appear most desirable,” (660). Mill’s ideas can be directly applied to Sarah Palin running for president in the 2012 elections. Although she was born a female and the United States never had a woman as president, she should still have a fair chance at the election.
J.S. Mill would also have a problem with denying Palin as a legitimate candidate for president based purely on tradition alone. The United States never had a female as president before, so how would there be any basis to say that the president should be a male. This custom, “…rests upon theory only; for there never has been trial made of any other: so that experience, in the sense in which it is vulgarly opposed to theory, cannot be pretended to have pronounced any verdict,” (654). It is undeniably unfair to conclude that Sarah Palin is not a valid candidate for president just because she is a woman.
Would you agree with Mill in his critique of Sarah Palin? Voice your opinion.