I don’t want to venture into politics on my blog. Really, I don’t. But I will say this – I am fascinated with this presidential race in a way that I’ve never been before.
I am about to reference Sarah Palin, but this is not at all a political blog entry. It’s actually a follow-up to this post, in which I talked about how hunting deer is such a part of the culture where I grew up that we had mandatory hunter’s safety class in school, and days off from school on the first day of deer hunting season, and how being raised around this (though never directly participating in it) causes me still to count the points on any buck’s antlers. Because, that’s just how they roll in rural Central PA.
Enter Marcy, who emailed me this comment (because she couldn’t post one for some reason – Hi, Marcy!):
I guess you think it is okay that Sarah Palin took her toddlers hunting and took photos with the poor bleeding buck? I totally understand shooting them down especially if they are eating your crops. Heck yes. But what is your opinion on hunting for sport now? Curious that is all.
Well, Marcy, I’m glad you asked! I had not seen the photo to which you referred, so I turned to the Internets and look what I found:
Apparently, people are all buggin’ about this photo, which is Sarah Palin (although without the beehive, it’s hard to confirm that it’s really her) and one of her kiddos posing beside her fresh kill. I guess the buzz is this: How could she POSE with her CHILD and a DEAD ANIMAL? Well, I will tell you. If you have ever hunted for sport, or lived around folks who do, like I did, this photo isn’t all that remarkable. In fact, it reminded me of one from my own youth, taken when I was probably around the same age as the child pictured above:
Yep, that’s right – that’s me on the left, with my li’l sis, and that’s a big ole dead deer — a doe — recently killed, strung up and freshly gutted by our dad. I don’t remember being summoned to pose for the shot but can only imagine: “Hey, girls! Come on over here – I want to take your picture next to my dead deer!” I vaguely remember standing there thinking, eeewwww, but complying. My sister remembers being told to move closer as he framed the shot, and being reluctant to do so, because, again – eeewwwww. But it wasn’t remarkable, because where I’m from, people hunt and kill deer and eat the meat and mount the antlers for display on walls, and swap hunting stories and pimp up their tree stands and hunting cabins, and go “spotting” for recreation (that’s when you hook up a spotlight in your pickup truck and drive around at night and shine the light into the fields to try and locate deer in advance of going hunting, and now you know what a redneck I really am).
My sister found another snapshot taken at the same time, and what’s that you say – you want to see a gratuitous photo of actual deer blood & guts? CAN DO! Check it out:
My sister said she likes this one because I appear to actually be engaged, asking my dad questions, while she’s standing about as far away as she can while trying to be interested in being that close to a bloody doe. Ironically, she married herself a HUNTER and has home-canned deer meat in her pantry. (Hi, Betsy! Thanks for the photos!)
My point is this: No matter what you think of Sarah Palin, and whether you think she’s qualified to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, and no matter how you feel about big game hunting, this isn’t the issue on which to hitch your cart. This is not a political thing, but cultural one – a parent is sharing her “sport” with her child. More than likely, that kid is thinking, wow, my mom’s awesome, I can’t wait until I can hunt, too! Seriously. You may think that’s morbid, and I may agree, but again – that isn’t the point here.
As with many things, it’s important to separate how you personally feel about the issue versus how you think others should feel. Would I hunt and ask my kids to pose with me and my fresh kill? No way. Do I understand how someone else could? Sure do.
OK, enough blood and guts for a Friday. On a less gamey note, do hop on over and read Marcy’s The Glamorous Life. She’s hilarious and her photos are awesome. And I bet she doesn’t write about bloody deer. She’s newly featured on my blogroll, too, so you can keep checking back on her.