May 7, 2009

Bristol Is Not the Example For My Child

The decision to make a virtue of the family issues of the Palins as an example of family values remains I think a very bad one. I'm sorry, but Bristol Palin as a soldier in the ongoing culture wars in my mind spells epic fail.

That was Bristol a few months ago. This is Bristol this past week.

Some people make a lot over the flip flop of opinion about abstinence on her part. I really think its irrelevant. She's a teenage girl (growing up very fast now). She's a kid, and a kid mixed up in the grown up world of bloodsport politics. I'm actually somewhat appalled that she's talking on TV at all, because frankly I really don't see what purpose there is for it, other than some damage control for her own personal image. I guess I could see it on that grounds. Certainly not as some part of a platform to support abstinence. Bristol was no supporter of abstinence before her pregnancy. I'm skeptical, given her prior statements, that she is particularly committed to abstinence now. But it doesn't really matter. Bristol is a kid. We knew her story already.

I shake my head everytime I read fawning commentary by conservatives at HotAir and similar online watering holes for cons about how she is such a tremendous example for abstinence, because she is living firsthand with the consequences of going the other way. Can I let you in on a little secret? Bristol Palin is not the example I'm going to set before my lovely nine year old daughter about what to do. She is perhaps the cautionary tale, the warning, the admonishment that I'll give her about what not to do, about what happens when you make a bad choice about sex outside of marriage.

If I'm going to try to inspire my daughter about making the right choices, I'm not going to couch that argument to her in the negative with an example like Bristol Palin. Rather, I will point her in the direction of someone who is actually making correct decisions and say, "emulate that". Bristol is now famous by dint of her mistake. If she didn't have a child, if she were not a teen unwed mother, she would not be on Matt Lauer program or any other show. She would simply have been Sarah Palin's daughter and would have gone back to a more normal life once the campaign had ended. So what's the example? Have a baby out of wedlock and get on tv? She's not running for anything, her mom is the politician.

The other absurdity on the right is all of this fawning praise for her making a decision for life. I applaud that as well. I think its wonderful that she chose to have her baby and not abort it. But I'm also irked because the same conservative brethren who sing her praises for choosing life are often among those rhetorically ripping apart unwed mothers in the hood who chose life too. How is it that poor, black women choosing life are denigrated, but the Bristol Palins of the world are held up as an example, though they made the same mistake and the same decision?