Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ever notice...

Ever notice how when the 17-year-old child of a Democrat has a child out of wedlock, it is a degradation of our morals and ethics and represents a failure of the parent to teach self control and how important it is to obey God's law, but when the 17-year-old child of a Republican has a child out of wedlock, it is an entirely different reaction.

"It reinforces the fact that this family lives its pro-life values." —Grover Norquist

"Fortunately, Bristol is following her mother and father's example of choosing life in the midst of a difficult situation." —Tony Perkins

"This is the pro-life choice. The fact that people will criticize her for this shows the astounding extent to which the secular critics of the pro-life movement just don't get it. Those who criticize the Palin family don't understand that we don't see babies as a punishment but as a blessing." —Richard Land

"[The Palins] should be commended once again for not just talking about their pro-life and pro-family values, but living them out even in the midst of trying circumstances." —James Dobson

The kicker from the CNN article: "Some evangelicals gathered in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, for the Republican convention speculated that the news would pose more of a problem for Democrats than for the GOP ticket."

Um... Excuse me? Bristol Palin gets pregnant, and it poses a problem for the Democrats? For the record, I couldn't care less that Bristol Palin is pregnant. I don't see her decision not to abort as some wonderful thing; it was her choice, more power to her, and I hope the child grows up in a loving family who is able to care for it. I certainly am not going to be any more or less likely to vote for McCain/Palin because of this news, and anyone who is swayed one way or another because of it is pretty superficial and short-sighted.

But what I can't help but boggle at is the unmitigated gall of those who hold such a blatant double standard of right and wrong, those who are trying to spin this news item as a positive thing. A 17-year-old girl was having sex out of wedlock and accidentally got pregnant. Forget for a second who she is and imagine that we're talking about the daughter of a woman living in the ghetto on welfare. Republicans point to her as an example of how immoral Democrats are, how immoral welfare recipients are, and if she's not white, even (among the racist of them) how immoral her particular race is.

Where have the Republicans been until now? Why have I never before heard them call babies of 17-year-old unmarried girls "blessings?" (Oh, I've heard plenty of other names they've used for them, though.) Why is it that I've heard so much criticism of the lifestyles and choices that lead to this situation, but now, such criticism is verboten? Why is it that the Democrats—you know, the people who are usually the ones who want to realistically address the problem of teenage sex and the consequences thereof—the ones that are going to have a problem with this?

And, although it might be a low blow, now more than ever, it HAS to be said: People who think that only abstinence-only is an acceptable form of sex education are hopelessly naive. Sarah Palin believes in abstinence-only education, and has undoubtedly practiced it. I strongly suspect that Bristol Palin has never had a serious conversation about sex with her parents or teachers beyond, "Don't do it." Obviously, her abstinence-only education has not provided her with the knowledge and background she needs to make informed choices and good decisions when it comes to having sex, and this is a direct result of it.

So as politically incorrect as it might be, I do criticize Bristol Palin for having a child out of wedlock at 17. I don't want to crucify her; she made a mistake and hopefully she'll be able to make the best of it that she can, and I genuinely do hope that her family supports her. But it absolutely kills me that the people who, for all of my life, have been the ones who sit back and judge people like Bristol Palin—and, let's not fool ourselves, will continue to do so—have suddenly decided that in this case, she's great and wonderful for being unmarried and having a baby at 17. Even more, I do criticize the Republican and religious right's push to not teach kids what they need to know about sex. If by some weird chance McCain/Palin manages to win this election, hopefully abstinence-only eduction will finally be relegated to the nutcase hokey idea that it has been all along.