John McCain and other Republicans are defending his choice for the vice presidency against charges that she is totally unqualified. Mrs. Palin herself vouched for her extensive foreign policy credentials, saying she has lived next door to Russia for years. As she told ABC News, "They're our next-door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."
I was explaining this to Patty. “I don’t understand how people can call her unqualified,” I said. “Look how she answered her critics on the foreign policy issue.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” said Patty. “People are so quick to ignore the importance of experience like that. And her thinking opens up all kinds of possibilities. Take you, for instance. You lived in Detroit for a couple of years when you were growing up. That’s just a stone’s throw from Canada. I’m sure you’re qualified to be vice president too.”
“I don’t know about that,” I began modestly. “It’s just Canada. They all spend their winter vacations in Florida anyway. But what about that trip we took to Houston in 1974 to watch the Super Bowl? We were practically in Mexico.”
“A weekend might not be long enough to become an expert,” said Patty. “But think about this. The hospital is only ten minutes from our door, and we’ve lived here for over twenty years. Maybe I should set up shop as a cardiologist. I’m probably qualified to deliver babies and perform appendectomies, too.”
“What makes you think that?” I asked. “You’re not qualified to practice medicine. That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of!”
“Just following her logic,” Patty said. “We’re only a few miles from the university as well. You can actually hear the chapel bells when the wind is blowing this way. That should be all I need to edit an economics journal. Or give a lecture on Elizabethan drama. Or to head up a biochemistry research lab.”
“Come on, Patty,” I said. “Quit joking about stuff like that. You’re talking about important jobs where you really have to know what you’re doing--doctors and economists and biochemists and literary scholars and what not.”
“Right,” she said. “Whereas, if she and McCain are elected, and anything should happen to him--God forbid--, she has her finger on the nuclear red button, and the fate of the world is in her hands. She’s in charge of dealing with Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and every other nation in the world. No doubt living across the Bering Strait from Russia has more than prepared her. I imagine she has a grand global strategy all worked out.”
“There’s probably not much chance she’ll be placed in that position,” I said hesitantly.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Patty responded. “Eight vice-presidents have stepped in so far when the president died, and Gerald Ford took over when Nixon resigned. That’s 9 out of 43. When you consider that McCain, if elected, will be the oldest man ever to take the office, has a history of melanoma and a medical record 1,200 pages long, you’ve got to consider the odds that she’ll replace him are pretty good.”
“Ouch,” I said. “I’m developing a headache just thinking about it.”
Patty whipped out a pen and tore a piece of paper from a notebook. “Here,” she said, “let me prescribe something for that.”
She handed me the note. In capital letters she had printed “VOTE.”
© Tony Russell, 2008