Monday, September 1, 2008

Grandma Palin Has Some Explaining To Do

John McCain's VP pick, Governor Sarah Palin, has a pregnant, seventeen-year-old daughter.

Since this story broke, the conservatorati has attempted to blunt legitimate policy inquiries by calling this storyline "sordid," "lurid," and "unseemly." My witty retort: why?

If anything, the specifics of how this happened have major ramifications for every teen and pre-teen in America.

Let's start with abstinence-only education, which John McCain favors. In an Eagle Forum questionnaire, Governor Palin was asked the following question:

Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?

Her reply? "Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support."

Is this the approach Governor Palin took with her own daughter? To say nothing "explicit?" If so, it's pretty clear that Governor Palin's personal AND state policy is ridiculously flawed, isn't it? (Seriously, is Governor Palin one of those mothers who handed her daughter a health book and religious pamphlet when her daughter asked her questions about sex? Did she tell her masturbation would make her blind? We don't know. And, yet, Republicans will take the leap of faith that she can tell the American people "the truth" should she become president?!?

And, of course, we can't ask her daughter questions that would probably reveal she knew about contraception from her friends and television but didn't get any from Planned Parenthood or at the drug store because she was afraid of how it would affect her right-wing Republican Governor mother should someone engage in a "unseemly smear campaign" about how little Palin doesn't practice what her own mother preaches to the citizenship of Alaska, not just her own family.

That would be very telling, indeed. But we can't ask these questions because politicians badger the media for badgering the families of politicians. Normally, I would say, "No doubt. Leave that subject alone."

But Governor Palin didn't. She could have issued a simple statement saying, "My daughter is pregnant. Respect her privacy. We will have no further comment." Instead, she kowtowed to conservatives by playing up that (a) her daughter is making a "life affirming" decision to not have an abortion; and (b) her daughter is doing the morally responsible (a/k/a "politically expedient") thing by getting married.

My point is that politicians who want us to "respect their families' privacy" don't get to open the door for their own purposes and then shut it at their leisure. And, unlike generally irrelevant questions about family members, such as, "Governor Bush, how many times have your kids been arrested," "President Bush, how many times have your girls been drunk in public," or "President Clinton, how many times have you cheated on your wife," questions around this incident have actual policy repercussions. We have a living, breathing case study on teenage pregnancy right in front of us, and, at a minimum, we should be entitled to ask Governor Palin how her daughter's pregnancy has influenced her thinking on abstinence-only education.

Since these crazy kids have no chance of making it (with the teenage shotgun wedding success rate being surprisingly low), we should probably also be able to ask Governor Palin her thoughts about reinstituting "fault-based" requirements for divorce, which is being pushed by many evangelical Republicans.

And how many times in the past few years have we heard evangelical Republicans advocate the use of shame in teenage pregnancy and divorce as a tool to decrease the incidence of both? (I will have some surprising comments on this in an upcoming post).

Yet, here we have Mom and teen, in a loving public embrace of support and warmth, almost bordering on excitement over teenage pregnancy. YIPPEEE!!!

The hypocrisy is staggering, folks, until you realize that many evangelical Republicans only want to condemn people who aren't them or who don't look like them.

At least Senator Obama told fathers in the African-American community to take their parental roles seriously.

Who will be the first evangelical to call out Sarah Palin for not shaking her finger publicly at her daughter and sending a message of condemnation over this immoral conduct? I'm waiting.


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6 comments:

Wilson46201 said...

I've heard that Dick Cheney has already volunteered to carry the shotgun for the wedding!

Russell said...

It's funny that James Dobson has come to Palin's defense. As the head of "Focus on the Family" I think that maybe he needs to suggest that Palin indeed focus on her family instead of trying to run the country. Fix things at home before you try to fix things in the country.

PerfectMomentProject said...

Isn't this just the perfect example of how ignorance ain't necessarily bliss? But I guess Bristol will still be able to tell her child that yes, you too can become president.

True Conservative said...

But Governor Palin didn't. She could have issued a simple statement saying, "My daughter is pregnant. Respect her privacy. We will have no further comment." Instead, she kowtowed to conservatives by playing up that (a) her daughter is making a "life affirming" decision to not have an abortion; and (b) her daughter is doing the morally responsible (a/k/a "politically expedient") thing by getting married.

That is not what she said. In fact, she said things like she is going to have to grow up fast and it is going to affect her life more than she knows.

There is enough to challenge each side on their policies without resorting to mistating what they say. Let the people make their own conclusions and quote people do not paraphrase them with what you feel is their true motives.

iPOPA said...

Saying her daughter will have to "grow up fast" is public condemnation?!?

Anonymous said...

It is almost 11pm..shouldn't that 4 month old be at home in bed and not at a political convention being toted around like a stage prop.