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Monday, September 1, 2008

I'm More Conservative By the Day- Sarah Palin, Bristol Palin and teen pregnancy

I'm more conservative by the day,
or so it appears.

I have been mulling over the news that Sarah Palin's
17 year old daughter is pregnant for a few hours now
and my reactions surprise even me.

I was not horrified that the girl is pregnant.

Obviously, it is not ideal by any means.
She is just a child herself
and, because she is choosing to get married and keep the baby,
her childhood is coming to a screeching halt.

She will never know the adventure of going away to college,
or getting her own place to live, alone.
In going from her parents' home to a marriage and motherhood,
she is losing a very valuable opportunity to get to know herself,
her own likes and dislikes, opinions and values.

But, she's pregnant.

And frankly, I don't blame Sarah Palin or her husband either.

Ultimately, teenagers are going to do what they are going to do.

I mean, I truly hope that they tried to teach her good values and morals.
I think they probably failed her if they only taught her the
"abstinence until marriage" rhetoric.
You can teach it, but you sure as shit better be teaching them about birth control
and protecting themselves right along with it.
Because as much as we would like to think kids are going to make 
every decision based on OUR values and what we teach them,
they will ultimately go their own way.

But no, these are not the things that are really bothering me.

What is bothering me is that she JUST THREW HER DAUGHTER UNDER THE FREAKING BUS.

She knew her daughter was pregnant.
She had to know that this would be an issue in this campaign.
She had to know that her young daughter was going to get
DRAGGED THROUGH THE MUD for the next few months.

In my mind, her desire to be Vice President has trumped her desire
to protect her daughter,
to shield her,
to be there for her during her pregnancy 
and afterwards.

I cannot think of another time when a young girl would need her mother
as badly as this.
And I cannot imagine how I would feel, as Bristol Palin,  to have the whole nation talking about me,
and my choices, and my values, and my mistakes-
and to know that my mother allowed it to be so.

ETA: Please follow along in the comments section, there is quite a lively discussion going on there!


melissa said...

I haven't caught up on the day's news yet as we were out at the lake, but I am wondering, do we know whether or not mom and daughter talked about it and daughter said, "go ahead, mom, go for it"? Just wondering. The media reports what the media reports and it isn't always as it appears.

Leeann said...

I have little doubt that the family talked about it. I can't imagine they wouldn't have. But I can't imagine that a 17 year old child, and make no mistake, a 17 year old is still very much a child!, could possibly wrap her mind around what it would be like to have an entire Nation discussing her pregnancy, her sex life, her contraception use and/or lack thereof etc etc.

Coming from a small area in Alaska, the talk and politics would have been on a much smaller scale. It is far different to be raked over the coals, nationwide, on all the TV stations, newspapers etc. I just don't know that she could have grasped that at 17.

Ginaagain said...

I completely agree with you Leeann.

Lori - The Simple Life at Home said...

I don't know. I don't see it this way. Yes, it's got to be awful to have everyone talking about you. But the thing is - they were anyway. It seems (and you've probably heard this already) that rumors were spreading that Sarah's (cuz we're on a first name basis now!) new baby was actually Bristol's and that they had covered it up. So there was no doubt that the poor girl was getting talked about one way or the other. And how long do you think she would be able to hide the pregnancy? I say it's better to deal with thing out in the open, get it over with and move on.

Imagine how that girl felt up on the podium with mom, knowing that she held that secret? Imagine the fear that she would have continued to feel throughout her pregnancy, terrified that someone would find out. I think it's better to get it out there and let people buzz about it for a few days and move on.

Manager Mom said...

Wow... your post totally made me think differently. I'd had all of the same thoughts as the upfront section...but I had been thinking mostly, "gee, wonder if McCain knew about this before he offered her the gig?"

But you're right. How could you do that knowing your daughter's life will be splashed everywhere? She would have HAD to discuss it with her daughter before saying yes, wouldn't you think?

nicrogers said...

I think that no matter what, it would have been talked about. On a smaller scale if she was not running for a national office but still, she is a public figure and so there would have been talk.

I agree that at 17, she is very young but a child? I mean, I know she is not completely grown up. I know she has a lot of maturing to do still. But she is old enough to make adult choices so she needs to take responsibility for them-which is exactly what she is doing.

Also, I do not think Bristol would have wanted her mother to give up the chance of a lifetime to spare her from public ridicule.

Also, who is to say they are ashamed about it? It could be Bristol wanted to get pregnant. Wanted to get married. Many young women do that every day. It is very common.

Just 30 years ago or so, getting married at 17 was not uncommon. Maybe in Alaska, people do get married a little younger. Who knows? Maybe Bristol had no plans to go to college.

I think that the family appears to be close and will support Bristol. I think it is horrible to assume that Sarah doesn't care about her daughter, or cares more about her own career. Her daughter would still be pregnant and her mother would still be in a very public position whether she accepted the invitation to run for VP or not.

I also seriously wonder whether you would feel the same way if it were the father running for office and not the mother.

Leeann said...

Okay, let me make some comments to the comments, agree with some things and disagree with others.

My point was not that the pregnancy should be hidden. I don't have a huge problem with the girl being pregnant. Unfortunately, it is relatively mainstream these days.

I will step right up to the plate and boldly admit that in some cases, I am sexist. Yes, I am. And this is one of them. She has a special needs four month old baby at home and I can roll with her husband being the lead parent and taking care of Trig while she is campaigning and potentially becoming VP. No reason why he can't be the primary parent.

But, when it comes to a teenage girl, a pregnancy, a wedding to be planned and held, a new familiy needing support- she is going to be completely unavailable for all of that. And there are moments in a girl's life that she wants her mama there.

Being in the political eye in a small town in Alaska and having your kid's sexual decisions discussed there is very different, IMO, than opening it up to the entire nation for headline news. And I'm not talking about shame. How often do we bloggers or email loopies get our feelings hurt over things that are said about us, or misinterpreted. Yet this seventeen year old girl is going to be dealing with this on a NATIONAL scale.

Of course it wouldn't be my choice that the mother give up her dreams. I have no problem with women being successful and achieving their dreams- I think that is a very good thing. But, there seems to be a lot going on in their family right now and honestly, there are times when family should come first. In my opinion, this is one.

Question: Given that she is several months along, why is this just coming out now? I almost think it would have been less of an issue if it had been announced as "This is Sarah Palin, her husband, kid a, b, c, d. Trig has Down Syndrome. Bristol is engaged to be married to her long time boyfriend and they will be welcoming their first child on {date}. Why the secrecy?

nicrogers said...

I dont think it is secrecy. I think it really and truly is none of our business and too much is being made of it. As Obama said, family should be off limits and this is a non issue. I actually have to say on this issue(and I am sure others) I actually agree with him!

Also, we women like to think we are the only ones capable of taking care of our children, planning weddings, etc. But fathers are able to do these things too. There is no reason why her husband cant be the one taking care of domestic issues and why it cant be done well. There are many families that have no mother in the house. Or families where Dad is "Mr. Mom". I actually know two families that are set up this way and the men are way more domestic than their wives. And proud of it!

Sarah R said...

Even though my decision to NOT have children was somewhat forced upon me (by circumstances and by the actions/inactions of my spouse), it's hearing/reading about situations like this that make me feel more grateful than regretful that I never had children. :)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you, Leeann. I think it is extremely selfish that she is throwing her daughter under the bus, as she must have known this publicity would occur. Sexist or not, I think you have a responsibility to do what is best for your family and I don't see how she is going to be able to take care of 5 children, one pregnant and one very young with special needs, while helping to run the country. My other problem is this -- while I applaud McCain for wanting a woman vp - even if it may be sort of a stunt in this case - is she really the best he could do?? A woman with very little experience, an unimpressive resume, and an awful lot of personal issues. I think there were probably a lot of other amazing women who would have been a better choice. He is just pandering to the base -- that wouldn't have voted for Obama anyway. ugh.

Ginaagain said...

You all have very interesting points. I think my basic take-away from all of this is that Sarah Palin is not someone "just like me." She has not dealt with the challenges life has given her at all like I would have. She is either much stronger than I am, which would be a very good quality in the person who is second in command, or she has a very different value system than I do and is putting her career ahead of her family.

None of this has changed my initial opinion about her though. I do not think she has enough experience to be in the position of VP. I think her small town/small state experience is a good start but is just not enough to assure me that she is ready to be second in command. If the worst were to happen and she became president I believe she would have trouble commanding respect from the more experienced politicians in Washington and the World.

melissa said...

I guess we will agree to disagree.

We wouldn't be having half of these discussions if Sarah Palin were a man. And I have a problem with that.

Also, keep in mind that Sarah Palin has more experience running a government than the Democratic ticket combined.