Did you know that in order to comply with federal anti-discrimination laws, most companies and organizations have hiring practice policies that forbid interviewers to ask a job applicant about their family? Whether they are married, or have children, or live alone, or have a pack of 87 rescue dogs and two prize llamas to support? Asking the question (and noting the answer) is the firmest, soundest base from which a disgruntled applicant (or, up to seven years later, disgruntled/rabble-rousing/dismissed employee) can make a case for discrimination in the workplace — and win. Unfortunately, that protection clearly doesn’t extend to those running for public office — and in the long run, the lack is a step backwards for civil liberties every single time.

Sarah Palin’s parenting decisions — from choosing to have children at all vs. late in life, to her choice of teaching vs. not teaching her kids about sex, to her nearly-grown daughter’s decision to have a child out of wedlock and how she may or may not have influenced that decision — are being scrutinized because they “may offer insight” into her professional ethics and her ability to lead effectively.

Bullshit. Parenting decisions offer insight into someone’s behind-closed-doors personal and family life — insight to which the scandal-scoping, privacy-demeaning eye of the media-gorged public has no right.

To the women — to the mothers who have been commenting on blogs and news stories, stating that her decisions are “poor” and “rash” and “uninformed” and don’t fit her to train a puppy let alone lead a country, shame on you. Sarah Palin has as much right to apply for this job as any of you have to send out resumes for your dream position. If you don’t like her politics, say so. If you disagree that her qualifications are appropriate, say so. But don’t you dare claim that her choices as a mother make her unfit to serve.

To those of you warm, caring, progressive-minded souls whom I know, like, and respect and yet whom I find spewing this vitriol today – and you know who you are – I am deeply ashamed of you.

To Clarify: My point is that how a person lives, individually, is not necessarily an accurate indicator of how they expect/want/advocate for every other person to live.  Thus the difference between having a personal life and being a political leader.  Judge the politics when vetting a political candidate, in the same way you vet the job qualifications of applicants when filling an open position.