Monday, September 01, 2008

We've had slow, steady rain for the better part of the day, not much wind, no lightning or thunder, just rain. When our civil defense siren went off around 4:50 PM, all we could get on local stations was the Haley Barbour press conference from MEMA. He was reminding everyone to be careful in the aftermath of the storm. Was that really necessary? Politicians do love to get in front of the cameras, don't they? Sheesh.

Well, now we know. Bristol Palin is currently pregnant, her mother announced, hoping to quell internet rumors about her daughter giving birth in April to the Downs Syndrome child. As an advocate of "Abstinence Only" for teenage sex education, I wonder what Mrs. Palin's response was to, "How's that working for you, Darling?" Maybe that's why she threw out the jibe attributing rumors to Barack Obama. And McCain says he knew about the unmarried teenager's condition before asking Sarah Palin to be his running mate. R-i-i-i-g-h-t!

Obama wants his supporters to leave the Palin family alone, calling children, especially, off limits. He bristled at the suggestion of one reporter that his campaign had started the rumors, and said, "There is no evidence at all that any of this involved us. Our people were not involved in any way in this and they will not be, and if I ever thought there was somebody in my campaign that was involved in something like that, they’d be fired."

The girl is not the person under scrutiny here. Having at one time been an unwed pregnant teenager, I have a great deal of empathy for the girl and her predicament. But her mother deserves to be scrutinized very closely. And before some of you touchy Republicans start whining about how could anyone "go after" this beautiful Christian mother of 5, let me remind you that Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama are all Christian mothers, and political opponents have been merciless in their attacks on everything from their character to their tone of voice to their taste in jewelry. Sarah Palin willfully exposed herself and her family to this scrutiny. She knew her daughter was pregnant and that she would not be able to hide that fact. Sarah Palin is fair game.

Do I blame her for her daughter's pregnancy? No, kids are gonna have sex. A mother cannot monitor her daughter's behavior 24/7, but daughters (and sons) do deserve complete information on sex and access to contraception, and mothers play a pivotal role in making sure their daughters get these basics. The "abstinence only" policy does not work.

Ideally, a daughter should be able to talk with her mother about her sexual inclinations and activity. If Ms. Palin's religious convictions do not allow for such openness, that could lead to problems, as we're seeing in her daughter's circumstance. If she gets legal authority to impose her beliefs on others, by outlawing contraception or abortion or sex education or family planning clinics, she will effectively turn the clock back on what little progress has been made in the last 50 years. That's one reason I feel passionately that McCain must be defeated in November, even if Mrs. Palin is no longer a part of his ticket, and I have a feeling she won't be. I'm looking for another surprise announcement in the not-too-distant future.

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