Palin Family Ban is Lifted
On Sunday, before the news about Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter was announced, I initiated a ban on TalkLeft prohibiting mention of her personal or family matters. I was one of the only, if not the only, liberal blog instituting this policy.
I was determined that my criticism of her, which has been limited to her lack of experience and preparedness to take over the Presidency if the need arises, her record and her lack of record while in Government service, the pending allegations of misuse of power while in office, and her position on issues, not be misconstrued by others as an attack on her gender or her personal life. By never mentioning her personal and family issues, I thought that it would be clear that gossip, rumor and innuendo of a personal nature were not related to my criticism.
Readers on both sides were upset with my decision. Some wanted to praise her, others want to point out her hypocrisy given her adverse positions on teaching sex-ed and making birth control available, even in her state which has one of the highest rates of sexually-transmitted diseases in the country. I have spent hours deleting comments and banning commenters who violated my ban over the past few days. That's fine. Almost all of the comments were objectionable under any standard, and I refuse to have a site that bears my name be associated with them.
Now, I feel tooled. [More...]
Gov. Palin, who asked for privacy concerning the matter of her teenage daughter's pregnancy, is flying Levi Johnston, the father-to-be (now her daughter's fiance) to Minneapolis to be on stage with the family during her speech tonight.
If Palin wanted privacy, why showcase the couple to the world? As the parent of a son who is now a young man, I find it reprehensible that she would parade him on national television, just to show he really will be a member of the family. Levi's mother, Sherri Johnston, doesn't sound thrilled either:
Sherry Johnston said she was worried about her son dealing with all the attention. She said it was difficult enough for teenagers to deal with any pregnancy, having the entire nation watching made it worse.
Levi Johnston, a high school hockey player for Wasilla High School, is not listed on the team roster for 2008-2009, and his mother wouldn't say if he graduated. She said simply he's no longer a student and any further information would have to come from him. The intense media scrutiny has stunned this suburban community about 40 miles north of Anchorage, with reporters camping out near the Johnston home.
"This is out of my league," Sherry Johnston said. "I'm just a country gal and I want to keep it that way."
So Sarah Palin, in her bid to show America, that her daughter, who got pregnant as an unmarried teen is really no different than any other young married couple who get pregnant, is putting the best interests of her child and her fiance second to her need to show family love and harmony at a political event watched by millions around the world.
In my world, that comes close to a shaming punishment for the kids, one which I would argue to a judge in a criminal case is inappropriate for juveniles and can have long-lasting detrimental psychological effects.
Teenage brains don't work like adult brains. They aren't fully formed. Teenagers have raging hormones. What's needed is honest, open and frequent one-on-one conversations with your child, and therapy if your child and you are in that teenage stage where they don't believe (usually because of how they perceive you live your life) that you are being straight with them. They can tell when what you say comes from the heart out of concern for them and when your words are guided by an hidden motive, such as, What will the neighbors, my friends and my colleagues think and how might this affect my career?
I'm not going to assume Levi is being pushed into this marriage. I'm going to assume he loves Bristol and she loves him and they really did plan on getting married before all this happened.
But how, when Sarah Palin puts them both on a stage at an event celebratimg one of her personal accomplishments -- as opposed to one honoring the child's accomplishments -- can she possibly expect that people won't discuss it? She's thrown it in our face and thrown the children into the lion's den of the media. She's using them to enhance her image in the eyes of voters.
There's no longer any reason to be silent. Palin gave up these kids' privacy, possibly to benefit her vice presidential bid. Whatever the reason, now that she's parading them on tv, she's forfeited the right to ask for privacy. They are now fair game to discuss.
Had Levi been my son, and if he hadn't yet turned 18, I would have sent him out of the country to avoid the "perp walk" on stage. Or, gone to family court to get a restraining order against any contact with the Palin family until their festivities were over and they were back in Alaska. I might have no control over the decision Palin makes with respect to her daughter, but I'd be damned I would let her decide my child should have to face that media storm wearing the Scarlet Letter "A" on his back. Since Levi appears to be 18, his mother Sherry, likely has no such option. And for all we know, Levi was glad to go along with it. Pretty exciting, your girlfriend's mother may be VP of the country. But he doesn't know at 18 how this public portrayal will affect him in the future.
Whatever modicum of restraint I felt Palin was entitled to is now gone. Since she has made the deciison to put her unwed daughter and fiance on stage in front of the world, she's forfeited any right to privacy I or anyone else previously granted her.
So, from this time forward, Palin's family issues are no longer off limit. I predict tomorrow night's convention ratings will be the highest ever. Millions will tune in to gawk at the young couple. They will be the talk of the water coolers around the country Thursday.
Levi, on his my space page, calls himself "Redneck." Here's an acoustic version of Jackson Brown's "Redneck Friend."
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