Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What's Appropriate in a Campaign

The news today is about Sarah Palin's seventeen-year-old daughter who is five months pregnant and planning to marry her boyfriend. I'm puzzled why they're not already married if they want to do that - if she's five months along they've had time. Is she more in love with the baby's daddy because her mama is now a VP pick? Are her parents more in love with him for the same reason? Of course, I have no idea.

Now, I'm the first to say that candidate's children should be off limits. BUT, when you trot your kids out on the campaign trail, you're inviting trouble. You don't get it both ways - you can maintain their privacy or you can have them standing behind you while you speak. Whichever way you go, the die has been cast. You don't get it both ways. There's a reason we rarely saw Amy Carter - her parents chose to keep her out of the public eye. Obviously, Palin is not the only one who has introduced her children to the world. But, as far as I know, she's the only one who did it knowing there was a huge issue that was going to be difficult for her child.

If you know your seventeen-year-old daughter is pregnant out of wedlock and you've been a big proponent of family values and abstinence education, which fails - as you can plainly see across the dinner table - why, why, why, why, why would you introduce the whole family on national television? With her holding your baby on top of everything else? It's unfortunate for her daughter that she is the pawn in this whole thing for her mother's political gain. Wouldn't it have been better for her daughter and the rest of the family if Palin had declined the invitation to become VP. Why would a mother thrust her family into the public eye at a time like this, for a party that eschews this very sort of thing?

When you make "family values" and "abstinence" and other such things part of your platform as a politician, and then it's obvious your own house isn't in order, it makes me very suspicious about what else is amiss in your life - public or private. I know parents can't control everything their children do, but when part of your approach to politics is telling others that they're not doing it the right way - they should do it your way, without any sex education - then we're entitled to look at how well that's working for you. If it's not even working in your house - at the source, as it were - how can you possibly think it will work for anyone else?

I have nothing but compassion for her daughter. It's a difficult situation. I've known more than a couple of people who found themselves exactly where she is. They, fortunately, did not have parents holding them up to an unrealistic ideal while building a whole career on that fantasy. The daughter is caught in a web of her mother's making and she has no way out except a none-too-quick marriage.

So many questions have been raised about McCain's judgment in picking Palin, and Palin's judgment with regard to the office. Frankly, my biggest question about her judgment is what kind of mother does this to her child? What kind of mother puts her seventeen-year-old unmarried pregnant daughter in a national spotlight for a political party that supposedly despises pre-marital sex? Is that the most loving way Sarah Palin could think of to handle her daughter's pregnancy? Is she punishing her for her sins? I hope someone digs beyond the surface to figure out the personality of a mother who thinks this is the best thing she can do for her family. That's something I want to know about a potential president.
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