Richard Silverstein gets it right (as usual) when he writes that the issue of Bristol Palin's pregnancy is a personal one and not politically relevant. But he also adds that Palin's cavalier dismissal of it is jarring, given her religious values. Is premarital sex right or wrong? It is wrong, according to the religious conservatives, and so it has to be condemned. You don't have to throw stones, but you have to get across the message that it is unacceptable, that such behavior is inexcusable.
Instead, what we hear from the Palin apologists is that "all families have problems," and that Americans can relate to Sarah Palin's problems.
Well, guess what, Palinites: most American families – certainly most religiously conservative American families – don't have pregnant daughters, or sons who have fathered children out of wedlock. To condemn the phenomenon in others, while excusing it in yourself, or in somebody you support politically, is hypocritical. I have yet to hear a single Palin supporter say that what Bristol Palin did was wrong. They are quick to forgive because they are on this particular's hockey mom's team.
So should it surprise anybody that Palin's boy friend – the "presumptive fiance," (are they engaged?) -- is right out there in front waving to the crowd and greeting John McCain. Even the teenage father from the movie Juno acted with greater tact.
Look, not everybody has to be a social conservative, but if you are, then at least practice what you preach. The fact that mainstream orthodox Jews, including haredi Jews, are supporting Palin without a murmer about her daughter's pritzus (loose behavior) shows their deep hypocrisy (or religious bigotry, if they think that this is what goyim do)
And, while we are on the subject, I must say that I was heartened by the consistency of conservative radio-show host, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who expressed her "extreme disappointment" in the choice of Palin as the VP. Why? Because, as a mother of small children, Palin should be home with the kids, or if she has to work, she should pick a job which allows her maximum time with the kids. This is especially true when one of the children has Down syndrome, and the other one is pregnant. Is that sexist? You bet! But sexism is part of the social conservative gig, is it not? As Schlessinger says,
I'm stunned - couldn't the Republican Party find one competent female with adult children to run for Vice President with McCain? I realize his advisors probably didn't want a "mature" woman, as the Democrats keep harping on his age. But really, what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down Syndrome, and then goes back to the job of Governor within days of the birth?
I am haunted by the family pictures of the Palins during political photo-ops, showing the eldest daughter, now pregnant with her own child, cuddling the family's newborn. When Mom and Dad both work full-time (no matter how many folks get involved with the children), it becomes a somewhat chaotic situation. Certainly, if a child becomes ill and is rushed to the hospital, and you're on the hotline with both Israel and Iran as nuclear tempers are flaring, where's your attention going to be? Where should your attention be? Well, once you put your hand on the Bible and make that oath, your attention has to be with the government of the United States of America.
Parents should be available first and foremost for their children. In many cases, the most available parent will be the mother, but it could be the father; that depends on the situation. What Dr. Laura does not get its that women today, like men, often need to have fulfilling careers for their own well-being.. For many people, not pursuing a career is not an option; it's a necessity, and not just for economic reasons, but for reasons of personal happiness. It may be that Sarah Palin would be a miserable meanie were she to leave her day job and be a stay-at-home mom. But let her articulate a justification for staying away from her children.
"Country First" is not that justification.