Sarah Palin scares me.
Not because she shoots guns or talks tough to good ol' boys or wants more money for her state.
Palin scares me because she could become president of the United States and not only is she unqualified, unprepared and uninformed, she makes it clear that while she's free to make choices about her life, she plans to deny me mine.
I am speaking, largely, about her personal decisions and her public pronouncements on pregnancy, teen pregnancy prevention and legal abortion and her dogged determination to shove her choices down the rest of our throats.
By the time you read this, we may know more about Palin's positions on contraception and sex education, but here's what we know now, and what I'd like to ask her.
Palin said, "the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support."
So where do you think kids should learn about sex? In the backseat of their boyfriend's car? At home? If it's at home, could you share with us the guidance you give your kids about sex? And why, if it didn't work for your daughter Bristol, you think it will work for the rest of us?
Palin has also said that "abstinence only" is her idea of contraception.
Surely, you will look into the efficacy of this method before foisting it on Americans as policy. Have you read the research on how ineffective abstinence-only education is? Consider this tale from Oklahoma.
Some years ago in a small-town high school outside Tulsa, the abstinence-only program failed so miserably it resulted in an outbreak of gonorrhea among teens. School officials had to call in Planned Parenthood to help teach the kids how they'd gotten the venereal disease in the first place and how they could avoid it in the future.
Palin said her decision to carry a Down syndrome fetus to term was guided by her Christian faith and her conviction to "choose life," no matter the circumstances.
Good for you, Ms. Palin " I admire your devotion, and I'm proud to live in a country where you are free to make that choice. But don't I get my choice, too? Don't my children and everyone else's have the right to make their own deeply personal and religious decisions as you and yours do?
Before you were nominated, you boastfully said you didn't know what the vice president does. I hope by now you are racing up the learning curve and realize that our national leaders preside over a country where people of different faiths and convictions must co-exist.
Consider how Geraldine Ferraro, who paved the way for you as the first woman V.P. on a major party ticket, handled questions like these.
Ferraro, a Catholic, was and is clear that she would not make the choice of abortion for herself or her family. But she had enough respect for the rest of us to let us make our own choices and opposed any move that would deny us those rights. Your opponent, Joe Biden, handles the moral dilemma the same way.
Why won't you?
Fleischaker is a former associate editor of the Oklahoma Gazette.