See, what tends to get lost in the mix when prominent social conservatives have teenage mothers and gays and lesbians as a part of their families is that it’s not about them, their families and their privacy. It’s about the millions of other families around the country who have to deal with the same things, and don’t get the benefit of saying “it’s a private matter” and being largely ignored by the conservative movement when their family members have to go out into the world and be told that they’re heathens precipitating the fall of Western Civilization.
Bristol Palin is a girl who did something that millions of teenagers have done – have sex. And she is now facing the most obvious consequence of that choice – pregnancy. She is not an evil person, she is not a blight on society, she is not deserving of public shaming. She was deserving of proper information about sexual health and pregnancy prevention, something that her mother repeatedly and vocally fought against.
Perhaps most importantly, she’s deserving of not being thrust into the national spotlight as a part of a political movement that endangers the health of millions and turns a pregnancy into a statement of convenient moral superiority. There are thousands and thousands of young women who have found themselves pregnant, and who have found themselves pressured to keep the child because it was the burden they deserved for the shameful thing they did, because to do otherwise risked shame and dishonor for their family. They don’t, however, get the benefit of being (at worst) lauded and used as a political prop or (at best) ignored or allowed to live their lives – they become a part of an ever-growing testimonial to society’s failure, and yet more evidence that the particular evil of the day, whether they be Communists or hippies or the blacks or the liberals, are creeping insidiously into our homes and schools and tender crotches.
I begrudge Bristol Palin and her family nothing, and hope that she has a healthy and vibrant child who grows up to change the world for the better. I just wish that we all had the benefit of being a prominent Republican’s child when it came time for judgment to be passed on us for our sex lives.
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
Pandagon is the go-to zone for eye-rolling at conservative nonsense, feminist rants, election-watching, and obsessing over low-rated but critically acclaimed television. Jesse Taylor and Amanda Marcotte may take politics very seriously, but egos not so much.
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