I had decided that I would not comment on Gov. Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter because although I have been following the news and blog coverage of it intensely, I wasn't sure I wanted to add to it. But here's the thing: the spin is making me sick. This teenage girl has gotten pregnant outside of marriage and the Republican talking heads are saying that this is a private matter and Palin is demonstrating that she is a strong woman to deal with this. Palin also said in her press release that she is proud of her daughter.
What? Why is it okay for her to use her oldest son's status as a soldier about to go to Iraq and her youngest son's condition as a baby with Down's Syndrome for her political benefit, but it is not okay to discuss her daughter's pregnancy? Especially when she advocates for Abstinence-Only sex education. I think that Palin makes this private, family matter an issue that we can discuss because it speaks to the effectiveness of her choices. We don't know what's going on behind people's closed doors, but we can assume that she taught and advocated abstinence to her children. Now, we see that that message didn't take and that perhaps teaching Abstinence-only is not the best way to prevent our children from unwanted pregnancies and disease.
It would be interesting to see if her attitude about this type of sex education will change. It probably won't, however. (I heard one talking head say that her daughter's pregnancy shores up even more the need for Abstinence-only. What?!?) It is disturbing to me when people are so absolute in their judgments. As if everything is either black or white without any shades of gray. I believe in abstinence. I'm not one of those people who say that young people (or grown people for that matter) can't be abstinent; I've seen a commitment to abstinence work in several people. But I also know that everyone is not going to make that commitment or once made, not going to uphold it. That doesn't make them moral-less heathens worthy of any disease that finds its way into their bodies. Abstinence education should be taught and taught fully, but contraception and reproductive health should also be taught. Social conservatives too often fail to temper their judgment with mercy. Unless it is one of their own.
Which brings me back to spin. When J'la-quesha in Southwest Atlanta gets pregnant at 17, she is demonized, posited as a poor example of judgment and morals, and somehow deserving of the hardships that she will encounter. But here we have Bristol in Anchorage, Alaska, 17, pregnant and her situation is painted as a warm moment--an admittedly difficult situation, but one that the family can find some pride in and that allows the family to demonstrate some strong family values. This application of a double standard is not what Jesus would do.
The spin is enough to land you on your head. And it's not over. You know I am going to be watching The View tomorrow to hear Elisabeth regurgitate what she heard over the weekend. But she won't be the only one and this Babygate won't be the only thing spun. It's just enough to make a body tired.