March 12, 2009

In Re. Bristol Palin

When news broke last summer about the pregnancy of GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin's unmarried teenage daughter, I wished her, her unborn child, and the child's father all the best of luck. I pointed out my attitude towards the young couple was that of most conservatives I knew towards most out-of-wedlock pregnancies -- and that it was not condemnation

I work with teenagers every day. Every year I have a bunch of pregnant girls in my classes, and also fathers-to-be. I don’t condone the actions that got them there, but I do my best to give them all the love and support I can. I’ve done the same with students who have aborted – some of whom think they were correct, and some of whom come to realize they were tragically wrong. . . . It is called compassion. It is called love.

Good people, including those raised with conservative moral values, make bad choices and find themselves living with unintended consequences of those choices (not “punishment”, Barack). It is the obligation of the rest of the good people in the world to lend them our support when that happens. And the first line of support has to be the family – even when those teens went against the values which their parents tried to teach them and which they failed to live up to.

When it was said that the young couple planned to marry, I had my doubts, but I kept my silence on that point -- after all, working with teenagers I've learned that many of those planned marriages don't happen, even though the young couples may sincerely mean it when they make the initial plan in the face of an unplanned pregnancy. Still, I've seen some happen, and I've seen some of those be successful marriages.

Well, as folks now know, the wedding is off. As I indicated above, I'm not surprised. What I hope for is that these two young people manage to figure out how to conduct themselves so that their son has two involved parents. While the ideal home is for a married mother and father, then they need to act in such a manner as to ensure that their string of bad decisions has as little negative impact on their child as possible.

Hypocritical? Hardly. Call it practical -- and identical to the advice I have given to students and former students who have been in exactly the same situation.

Now there are those on the Right and the Left who want to throw stones and make cheap points based upon whatever agenda they may have.

One local Lefty blogger wants to brand the GOP as hypocritical while throwing around ethnic slurs and hateful rhetoric. If he really feels as he claims he does, I'm sure that John will soon be arrested in front of the local high school for shouting "whore" and "slut" at pregnant girls on their way to class. It's just more of the same low-class ugliness we've come to expect from he and his ilk.

And on the Right, we've got Debbie Schlussel taking what I consider to be an utterly wrong-headed position on the matter, attacking working moms and immature teens who fail to control their hormones and have babies. Frankly, I don't consider her rhetoric any more elevated or helpful than that of the liberal cited above. Indeed, I could almost see her cuffed to that liberal after an arrest in the same incident.

Let's be honest here. Nobody, Right or Left, approved of Bristol Palin getting pregnant. Nobody celebrated it on the Right (though some on the Left did, since they didn't mind attacking a young girl in order to tear down her mother). And while many of us hoped that there might be an eventual wedding, what we on the Right generally said was that we were hopeful that the couple would draw on the resources of their families (sorely lacking in the case of Levi Johnston, we later found out) in order to successfully parent their child. And while we praised her decision to have and keep her child, rather than aborting, that didn't constitute approval of unwed teenage pregnancy -- but rather an affirmation of the miracle of every new life. This is not, and should not, be about politics at all -- and I would say the same thing about the daughter of a prominent Democrat, though some might argue differently.

So my advice to folks on all sides is simple -- shut up. This is not a political happening to use to score points one way or another. It is a human tragedy for two young people, their child, and their extended families. At most, it is one more lesson on why sex outside of marriage is not a wise choice, especially for teens -- and that even those who were raised with and who profess certain beliefs about the morality of sex outside of marriage do fall short of the proper standard.

And so I go back to what I said at the very beginning of this saga and again at the birth of young Tripp -- I offer my prayers and best wishes to them all in the hopes that the child becomes a happy, healthy, well-adjusted and loving adult.

|| Greg, 06:28 PM || Permalink || Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

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Comments on In Re. Bristol Palin

Nice post, Greg. I was refered to you by Bookworm (

I have less experience in this area than you do, so I had been a bit more hopeful that the marriage and all would work out, but would not ever have ventured a prediction. Alas, there are a number of people who do not understand or accept the distinction between having high ideals and morals--and knowing that people aren't perfect.

I read the two blog articles you referenced. Bay Area Houston was of a kind that is rather prevalent, but also so immature that one doesn't expect much. At times I've had occasion to read Debbie Schlussel, sometimes gleaning good points from her writing, at other times thinking she's a bit incoherent. The post you linked to, however, was different: it was the writing of an adult who appeared both nasty and vindictive. The best description of how I reacted to reading it is that I felt dirty and soiled by my contact with it.

|| Posted by, March 13, 2009 08:39 AM ||

Nice to see you're still a stupid hypocrite. Of course, many years ago, when it appeared that you might become a father while still in college, at the same time you were protesting at an abortion clinic every weekend, your response to your fiancee being "late" was an immediate "GET AN ABORTION!!!" And you're a racist - sure that has nothing to do with who she married within a year of breaking up with you. One thing is for sure - the child born to that marriage is SO MUCH more handsome than any child of yours ever could have been!

|| Posted by AJ, March 15, 2009 03:19 PM ||

I'm tempted to delete this comment, but I won't, since it is a ghost from my past who speaks at least some truth.

1) Yeah, that first incident did happen, though not quite the way it was presented. I was not yet involved in the pro-life movement, and was not even particularly pro-life when it happened. Indeed, my reaction to the incident led me to reevaluate my position on abortion and to adopt a pro-life position -- one I have held for some 25 years. Indeed, I've even acknowledged this incident on this site before.

2) After I broke our engagement (not her, me) three years later, she did meet and marry someone else. While I had my doubts about her choice for reasons not related to the race of her husband (and I won't air their dirty laundry here), it apparently turned out to be a successful marriage. I understand they have one child together, a son of whom she is justifiably proud. I continue to wish she and her family the best.

3) After she married, this ex and I did not talk for 15 years until she contacted me out of curiosity. I spoke to her once, and had no interest in renewing the relationship on any level, because I had long since moved on.

I don't know why she is apparently still so bitter. I hope she finds some peace.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, March 18, 2009 08:26 PM ||

In war, there are no rules except for the rules people are made to accept.

In politics, it is no more different. It's just on a different plane, but the intentions are the same, and the methodologies eventually come to the same point.

In war, somebody has to die. In politics, somebody has to be sacrificed for victory, especially if you can make it your enemy.

|| Posted by Ymarsakar, March 24, 2009 08:23 PM ||
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