Friday, September 05, 2008

How does Bristol feel about being a campaign prop?

When “children are off limits”, yet John McCain made an unsolicited and outlandish offensive joke about then-teen Chelsea Clinton, that was just fine to republicans. When “family values” are made the issue year after year and election after election by the republicans, and the “liberals” are to blame meme rings more and more hollow as lies are being promoted regarding abstinence-only programs and head-in-the-sanders are blaming movies, books and anything other than their own behavior towards their own teens – that is the conservative republican way.

And amid all of the hoopla surrounding the Palin VP pick and their family “situation”, what is lost in the discussion is the fact that a young pregnant teen (my guess is that she didn’t purposely get pregnant) is being exploited by her family at a time when she needs their understanding and support more than ever.

The issue of Bristol keeping the baby is one that she should make on her own, with the guidance and support of her parents and doctor. The fact that Sarah Palin indicated that she is thrilled that Bristol chose to keep the baby indicates a wee bit of hypocrisy on her part – after all, if Palin is against birth control and condoms (even for married couples), and is against abortion even in the instance of rape, incest or the life of the mother, and is pretty outspoken about that, then (1) what choice did Bristol even really have if she didn’t want to keep the baby and (2) what kind of “choice” does any woman who gets pregnant have – regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the age, ability to support the baby or education level of the mother-to-be?

On top of that, the likelihood of teen marriages succeeding is not all that great – and when you throw an ultra conservative family message and a father who recently admitted that he doesn’t want kids (rightfully so for a teen), the prospects don’t look good.

However, this is all background to the fact that Bristol is being used as a prop for the “family values” train wreck campaign that her mother is a part of.

Now, I don’t have a teenage daughter, but I did have a teenage sister, and knew plenty of teenage girls when I was growing up. And my friends have daughters, some teenage and some younger, so my perspective may not be the same as a mother or a teen or even a father with a teenage daughter. But I am not an idiot, and I know how self conscious teenagers (especially teenage girls) can be about what other people think about them as well as how they look.

The fact that the McCain campaign and the Palin family knew about her pregnancy and still (1) allowed Palin to be part of the ticket knowing that there was no way to hide the pregnancy, (2) leaked word about her pregnancy, (3) announced that she would marry the father and (4) trot them out as “proof” of conservative family values at work is beyond shameless.

To take advantage of a personal family situation (or crisis, which I am sure it was to Bristol) is the height of selfishness and callousness, and is really the antithesis of what family values are all about. They have made their daughter and “son-in-law-to–be” a prop in their campaign and have not only run roughshod over whatever privacy these two teens deserve in this very difficult time in their lives, but have made a spectacle out of them in front of the entire country (and world) to see.

And judge.

Regardless of what happens in this campaign, it is clear that the Palin and McCain families are not thinking about Bristol in any way other than to exploit her and her pregnancy.

Which I guess is also ok if you are a republican, when children are only off limits if you aren't exploiting them for your own political gain.


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