Have you heard?

It's on the news.It's on the blogs.It's on the message boards, and being discussed at church, at the grocery store, and on the bus.Sarah Palin's daughter is pregnant.And apparently, that makes Palin a bad mother and unable to handle the oh-so-challenging job of being Vice President.A close Canadian friend of mine pointed out that America is obsessed with the families of politicians. "After all," she said, "most Canadians can't tell you how many kids the Prime Minister has, much less what their names are."So this begs me to ask the question: is an almost-18-year-old being pregnant really that big of a deal? Especially when she's about to get married and move out on her own? I mean, is this really what we're hearing on the news? Are we so obsessed with other people's mistakes (and not even their mistakes - the mistakes of their children) that we can't let anything go?I understand that Palin has a strict opinion on premarital sex - it's wrong. And apparently the fact that her daughter went against that upbringing means Palin is a bad mother. Okay. What about all the pastor kids who have sex out of wedlock? We don't seem to label THEM as bad parents for the choices of their children. Would it be "less wrong" of Palin's daughter if she had gone ahead with an abortion so that nobody had to know? And is it Palin's fault that her daughter, who is basically an adult, made a decision that Palin disagrees with? And is a teenager having sex really worth being on the news?


MyName 14 years, 9 months ago

Other than the fact that this is yet another example of the failure of abstinence only sex education, which Gov. Palin claims to be an advocate of, I would completely agree with you. It's certainly not this newsworthy. In fact, I think a large number of those pundits spend as much time trying to explain why this should be newsworthy as they do trying to give us the news. Which is an even bigger waste of time.

Terry Bush 14 years, 9 months ago

Oh and choice on whether to keep the kid means adoption versus raising it.

Will Babbit 14 years, 9 months ago

If she spent any of her speech talking about health care of the war, I'd agree with you Beth. However, not exactly their priority...

April Fleming 14 years, 9 months ago

If this campaign really started getting issues-based (war, health, energy) and not personality-based (how does x make you feel), I'd be a lot more excited than I am frustrated.

Bethany Jones 14 years, 9 months ago

I guess I didn't realize that sex education was a bigger selling point for candidacy than health care or the war...

Terry Bush 14 years, 9 months ago

Hope. change. Hope change. Change change change. Hope hope hope.

md_pinks 14 years, 9 months ago

The family should be off limits, but her unwed teenage daughter does speaks volumes about the law making that she would be influencing in the future.It's just like Cheney having a homosexual daughter while the Bush administration pushes to ban (more or less) being gay in public. It destroys your credibility. But then again, its the daughter and boyfriends "mistake", not Palin's.Of course when dealing with that brother in law...that's a whole other story altogether.

Chris Tackett 14 years, 9 months ago

John Stewart said it best. They gave their daughter a choice as to whether she wanted to keep the kid, but Palin wants the government to make that choice for everyone else. The kid shouldn't be discussed, but the policy should. but after they've begun using the kids as a prop, it's easy to say that they aren't off-limits, but in a way they are setting Dems up for a trap. Floating the kids out there to get the Dems to attack and then hit back criticizing the Dems for attacking.

Terry Bush 14 years, 9 months ago

I would greatly appreciate it if someone (who is totally nuetral - if there really is such a person) could make a list of public issues where a President (or a VP) has some possible degree of influence, and then give the facts (not hypothesis or guesses) about where each candidate stands. THAT would be helpful information. Maybe the Congress could do us all a favor and pass a federal law requiring all Presidential (and dare I hope Congressional) candidates to fill out a survey answering the questions about their position on public policy issues! Publish that and call it a day! People could then decide, based upon FACTS, not upon who pounds the table better.

alm77 14 years, 9 months ago

"Until one does that, it's not surprising that a specific "fact" is spun by all sides of the debate as if it's meaningful at all." But you also have to remember, that one case doesn't prove a point, either. There are "failures" (what an awful way to say it) in both the abstinence only camps and in the give-it-all-you-got sex ed programs. (Like this one here: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2008/09/03/whitbeck.mexico.sex.book.cnn?iref=videosearch )Like I said, our high school's pregnancy rate was above average and we were repeatedly told to "use condoms" and several of us were on The Pill. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Shelby 14 years, 9 months ago

Ladylaw beat me to it.With each passing year, Jon Stewart shows his and his show's true colors. I remember when it was just a goofy, vanilla show. Now it's a funny show with raspberry ripples of self-righteousness and chocolate-covered attempts at proselytizing.Don't get me wrong, it's still a funny show.

blahblahblah 14 years, 9 months ago

Like mother like daughter. Sarah had a harpoon gun weddin' herself. That is why most people elope, isn't it? Track was born less than 9 months after her wedding. Them's some family values for ya!

Terry Bush 14 years, 9 months ago

In law school, we learned a saying from professors who were old experts at arguing and changing people's minds; If the law is on your side, pound the law; if the facts are on your side, pound the facts; if neither are on your side, pound the table. I think what we see in the way of "news" and "reporting" and debate (more and more) is a pounding on the table. The fact that a politician has not led a blameless or perfect life (let alone raised perfect children) really is a giant "pound on the table" tactic.

alm77 14 years, 9 months ago

"but her unwed teenage daughter does speaks volumes about the law making that she would be influencing in the future." I disagree. Sarah Palin's stance is her stance and that should be the only criteria by which we judge her.

matt 14 years, 9 months ago

I don't know who he is, but I want to hang out with this Ed guy.

14 years, 9 months ago

"one case doesn't prove a point, either"Exactly, it is only a data point. I should have been more clear, but I was trying to be even-handed at the same time and not call out one side or the other. But to hell with it: calling this an example of the failure of abstinence is not "a pretty big point." In fact, it's not a point at all; it's just an assertion and a silly one at that.The fact of the matter is that education teaches, but individuals have to decide what they will do with their facts. If a person refuses to wear condoms because he/she doesn't like them, we cannot blame that on education. If a person knows that sex causes pregnancy but convinces herself that "it won't happen to me," we cannot blame that on education. Once someone knows, everything else is not education. It's choice and consequence.

DOTDOT 14 years, 9 months ago

Having a child at 17 is the best sex ed there is.

alm77 14 years, 9 months ago

Her daughter's pregnant. BFD. So were 25% of the girls in my high school. I can't imagine there's much more to do on a cold night in a small town in Alaska.

14 years, 9 months ago

Alm77: "Her daughter's pregnant. BFD."But here's the funny thing. Does anyone who's talking about this, including the blogs and the 1700 news items on Google featuring Palin + Sex Education actually know what kind of sex ed the kid had? Not what her mom or Obama or Cindy McCain supports, but what she actually had sitting in her public school class? I have not seen anything but speculation - completely uninformed speculation - since Alaska has no statewide sex ed law and it's up to the district or school or teacher or parents or scary uncles or caribou. So unless one talks to her last 4 health teachers to see what they covered, check her absence records to see if she was present, check her grades to see what she knew when it was taught, then talk to Piper or whatever her name is and see what she remembered that night, then discover what she was talked out of or into by her boyfriend - once one knows all that, THEN one can draw a meaningful conclusion about whether it's a failure of any kind of sex education at all, or just a young girl who threw the dice and came up snake eyes. Assuming, as we can't, that she did not mean to get pregnant in the first place.Until one does that, it's not surprising that a specific "fact" is spun by all sides of the debate as if it's meaningful at all. But it's not news either.

DOTDOT 14 years, 9 months ago

The thing is, my wife started watching 90210 the other night, and the first scene involved a blow job in the high school parking lot. Part of me wants to expostulate on the casual shrug sex has become, but the other part says it's just fucking rude. Sex education is a non issue, and so is parenting. Whether anybody likes it or not, kids have always and will always start making their own sexual decisions come puberty. Whatever problems there are to discover about Gov. Palin, supporting her daughter isn't one of them.GET OFF MY YARD!!!

DOTDOT 14 years, 9 months ago

Interesting link, LB.What it comes down to really, is that if each generation continues to cede the distinction between humans and the animal kingdom - namely the ability to reason - and starts having families at a younger age, then what is needed is not so much sex or moral education, but more emphasis on practical skills like balancing a checkbook, calculating APRs, and creating a budget. I know many "educated" people who can do none of these (see mortgage crisis). As a matter of fact, that's my new law. If you can't balance a checkbook, you can't have sex. Don't matter who your mamma is.

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