Yes, Bristol Palin is a Valid Political News Story2 September, 2008
Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama has, to his credit, refused to answer questions about the unplanned pregnancy of BristolPalin. I disagree with his stand, though.
A President’s (or Presidential candidate’s) family should, in most circumstances, be off limits. Same goes for the family of the Vice President (candidate). In most circumstances.
What circumstances would make it acceptable for the press to delve deeply into the personal peccadilloes of the candidate’s family? If the misbehaviour sheds light on the decision making abilities and/or judgement of the candidate. I see three ways in which the behaviour of Sarah Palin’s daughter make me question whether Briton’s mother should be within a 72-year-old heartbeat of the Presidency of the most powerful nation on earth.
1. Education: Sarah Palin’s public statements, and policy statements during her run for the governorship of Alaska, show her to be pro-ignorance:
- Will you support the right of parents to opt out their children from curricula, books, classes, or surveys, which parents consider privacy-invading or offensive to their religion or conscience?Why or why not?
- SP: Yes. Parents should have the ultimate control over what their children are taught.
- 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?
- SP: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support. (HT Phayngula for the quotes)
She is anti-education. The ‘opt-out’ has become a right-wing conservative mantra, allowing parents to pull their children out of any class which might teach something that the parents do not want their children to know about. Evolution, sex education (the real stuff, not the abstinence-only kind), math (apparently set theory and the trinity are not compatible), history (we are not, and never were, a Christian nation), psychology, and even particular books in English class (Catcher in the Rye, Romeo and Juliet, To Kill a Mockingbird, to name just a few). She strongly supports abstinence-until-marriage and abstinence-only sex education, despite numerous studies which show that it actually increases the pregnancy rate without affecting the sexual activity rates.
Her willful ignorance, and support of ignorance, show that her approach to reality is faith-based. Facts do not matter, only her belief system (which, apparently, is so weak that a few facts pose an intolerable danger) does.
Bristol Palin’s pregnancy is merely a manifestation of the faith-based ignorance of Sarah Palin.
2. Governing Ability: Some weeks back, during an interview with Barack Obama, his children decided that they wanted to ask some questions. Many right-wing religious leaders and bloggers went ballistic: “If he can’t rule his own house, how does he expect to rule the country?”
Sarah Palin belongs to a rather conservative church. In the same way that Dick Cheney is rather unpleasant – that is, very. Her church subscribes to the idea that God rules man, man rules woman and child. Well, apparently, she and her husband don’t do a very good job ‘ruling’ their own house. How else would her 17-year-old minor daughter end up a little bit preggers?
The idea that ‘ruling’ your house, or ‘ruling’ the country, is acceptable the problem here. Families are not dictatorships (or, well, happy families aren’t). They are social constructs which must allow for give and take, and growth of the individual within that construct. Running a house is like running a government — budget, facilities management, income and expenses, personality conflicts, setting priorities — and balancing all of these different jobs requires give-and-take, not authoritarianism.
For the past thirty some odd years, we have been, in the United States, under the sway of authoritarians. People like Reagan and the Bushes (and to a certain extent Clinton (especially after Gingrich took over)) have attempted to rule the country rather than governing the country. The results? Massive debt, rich getting richer, poor getting poorer, middle class stagnation, cost of education going up, health care availability dropping, deregulation, environmental degradation. All rammed down our throats by people who want to rule the country rather than govern it.
Sarah Palin, if she ascended to the Presidency, would fit right into the mould of authoritarianist ruler, not a governor. She cannot govern her own family because she and her husband tried to rule her own family. It does not work.
3. Blatant Hypocrisy: Sarah Palin has gushed about how happy she is that her daughter has chosen to have the baby. McAin’t has echoed this. Neither has noticed the blatant ironic hypocrisy: she has the right, under our current laws (based upon Roe v. Wade) to make that choice.
Sarah Palin is strongly against abortion in any way or form. She is pro-uterine-slavery. Unabashedly. She wants to deny women throughout America the right to make the choice her daughter made. She wants to overturn Roe v. Wadeand remove that decision from her daughter (or anyone’s daughter) and place it in the hands of the state.
I remember feeling very uncomfortable about the treatment of Amy Carter back in the late seventies. I remember the flack that Ron Reagan got because he disagreed with Saint Ronald. I remember Limbaugh (and many others) stating that the Clintons are bad because Chelsea is ugly. I remember McAin’t making jokes about Chelsea in a very public arena. The attacks on Amy and Chelsea were absolutely uncalled for — there was no attempt to connect the girls to the policies of the administrations. Ron Reagan’s may have been valid, but no one discussed what he actually said; they only discussed the disagreement.
Bristol Palin’s pregnancy, in and of itself, should be left alone. The only way that this is a valid news story, or a valid political story, is in the way that it focuses the nation’s attention on the dangerous and hypocritical policies of her mother, the candidate. Briton Palin’s pregnancy focuses attention on her mother’s pro-ignorance approach to education: opting out and abstinence only. Her pregnancy focuses attention on her mother’s lack of ability as a leader, as an inspirational leader, and as a governor of the family — ruling a family (or a state, or a nation) does not work, but governing does. Her pregnancy also focuses attention on the anti-choice stand of her mother — her mother who praised her daughter’s choice while, at the same time, working to deny that choice for all Americans. A mother who contributes to her daughter’s unwed pregnancy, cannot work with her family, and is blatantly hypocritical is not what we need as a Vice President and possibly President. She would make Bush II look good.
Two Hour Later Addendum: On CNN, a quote from McAin’t regarding the vetting process for Palin: “The vetting process was complete and thorough and I am happy with the results.” Thus bringing into question McAin’t’s decision making process.
Five Hour Later Addendum: Thank you, Poodles. I have no idea why I screwed up the name.
Posted in 2008 election, abstinence-only education, Authoritarianism, Church and State, education?, family, George W. Bush, god, hypocrisy, idiots, McCain, Palin, Politics, rant, religion, Religious Abuse, sex, sexually transmitted disease |