Back during the 2008 presidential campaign, when Sarah Palin and her family were introduced to America in all their homespun glory, I couldn’t help but imagine what the Republican spin machine would have done had Joe Biden’s daughter been the one to get pregnant out of wedlock as a teenager.
Because it was Sarah Palin’s daughter, however, the pregnancy became a celebration of life and an affirmation, somehow, of the emblematic American family.
Hypocrisy is a commodity that has never been in short supply in American politics. The latest, most titillating case is that of U.S. Congressman Mark Souder of Indiana, a fierce protector of traditional family values (with all the usual anti-gay riffs), who just resigned from office.
Not only did he have sex with a staffer, but he even sat for a video interview with her touting the virtues of abstinence. He probably feels that his guilt is mitigated because, unlike Rev. George Rekers, he sinned with a woman. After all, people have standards.
The Palins deserve credit that Bristol went ahead and gave birth to the child, which is now being raised as a member of the family. Regardless of what certain parties might allege, nobody is “pro-abortion.”
Fortunately for the Palins, and unlike many families with unwed teenage mothers, they have plenty of resources to give the kid every possible advantage. I’m sure Bristol will prove to be an exemplary mother.
It’s unseemly, though, that she now plans to hit the road as an exemplar of empowerment and teenage chastity. As far as living with the consequences of one’s youthful errors, hers is by far the exceptional case, and it would be tragic if easily influenced children took the wrong message from her life story.
It isn’t as though she needs the money.