Monday, September 01, 2008

. . . and Palin is just out of touch

So the latest on the campaign trail is that Bristol Palin, the 17-year old daughter of abstinence-only education promoter and McCain running mate Sarah Palin, is 5 months pregnant. The news was revealed, according to a Palin aide, to head off rumors that Sarah Palin actually faked a pregnancy to hide that then 16-year old Bristol Palin (who was out of school for somewhere between 5 - 8 months suffering from mono) was expecting.

According to a post on Daily Kos, the story took a really weird turn the day Trig Palin was born

On Friday, April 18th, 2008, Sarah and her husband Todd were in Dallas, Texas for a Republican Governor's Convention. They had been in town for three days already, but Sarah had yet to give her keynote speaker address on energy policy. Then early Friday morning at 4:00am, Sarah began leaking amniotic fluid. Instead of checking into a hospital, she instead made a call to her doctor, and delivered the keynote speech.

"I was not going to miss that speech," she says.

She rushed so quickly from the podium afterwards that Texas Gov. Rick Perry nervously asked if she was about to deliver the baby then.

The oddities only grow from here on, as instead of rushing to a Dallas medical facility that could treat a mother who's amniotic fluid has been draining for hours on end (made even more crucial due to the fact that this is occurring a full month prematurely), Sarah & Todd instead opted to... Fly all the way back from Texas to Alaska. A dangerous choice, as with each pregnancy (once again, in this case after four previous), a mother's window of labor to delivery grows shorter and shorter.

Out of sheer concern about the health & well-being of their unborn child, immediately upon landing in Anchorage the Palin's headed directly to the closest medical facility best equipped to handle a pre-term delivery drove an additional 45 minutes to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center to ensure a safe delivery. Palin returned to work 3 days after delivering her pre-term, special needs baby boy.

I admit it, as a woman attacked by the religious right for not having acceptable moral convictions, this irks the shit outta me. This behavior seems to show the very lack of respect for family (her own family, no less) and - dare I say it - selfish and willful irresponsibility that those of us who do not lead the life the religious right insists we live are accused of. In other words, the story of Sarah Palin's pregnancy and delivery of Trig is much more disturbing than the rumor that the Palin's chose to hide a daughter's pregnancy and raise her child as their own.

BUT the convoluted storyline doesn't end there. As noted above, the family has just announced that the daughter previously rumored to have given birth to 5-month old Trig in now about 5-months pregnant herself.

I could, and probably have, gone on to say that maybe Bristol Palin would have been more responsible and abstained from sex with her boyfriend if her mother (?parents?) had spent some quality time with her children towards the end of her pregnancy with Trig or even after his birth. Mind you all that is going through my little head is that, in accepting McCain's offer to be his running-mate while her family is adjusting to a special needs infant and knowing that her teen-age daughter is well into the 2nd trimester, Sarah Palin's priorities seem to be pretty darned skewed.

This is not a sexist/misogynistic rant against a woman, making the female of the species more accountable than the male as many Conservative Republicans do. This is about a candidate who runs on the Traditional Values ticket, a ticket that insists on legislating morality and family decisions (and that their beliefs are the only correct ones) who appears to be more focused on a power grab than her own family. This is a candidate supported by those who say women with children and a career are selfish. Palin's actions seem to be the basis of their accusations against all women with careers and children. Do as I say, not as I do hypocrisy.

As I've said in my many posts/comments on other blogs (namely, Pam's), I would be all over a father who acted the same way and chose to put his family through a grueling campaign right now, while going through these family issues during which the family is under a glaring spotlight. I question Sarah Palin's judgment because she seems to act based on what she, personally, wants/wants to do as opposed to being willing to consider what might truly be best given the situation. This sort of thinking is expected from an adolescent, not from someone who may be a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

I'm not criticizing her choice to maintain a pregnancy and raise a child with special needs. I'm not questioning Bristol Palin's decision to continue her pregnancy and raise her child (though, in most cases I personally don't think it is in the child's best interests to be raised by a teenager). I am, however, criticizing the judgment of Sarah and Todd Palin in the unnecessary risks they chose to take in the delivery of their son & their judgment of whether this is really the time for Sarah Palin to take to the national stage considering the current issues their minor children face. They are the adults and they should take their children into consideration when making these decisions.

As for putting the majority of the emphasis on Sarah Palin's decision-making ability, I feel the need to note that she is the one running for VP and that in doing so she is the one who is advocating so-called traditional values policies. UPDATED: Did the Palins disclose their family situation during the vetting process? If not, it shows some recklessness does it not? If so, it casts even more aspersions on John McCain's decision-making abilities. John McCain claims to have been well aware of young Ms. Palin's pregnancy prior to making his offer to her mother. While I agree that an unplanned pregnancy should not disqualify anyone from running from office I wonder why a man whose party thinks they should be the ones to make reproductive/medical decisions for all women would choose to add to the stress of Bristol Palin's life. Is it cynical to think that the Republican party and the Palins are willing to make the Palin children bigger props in their religious crusade?

Had this all been addressed honestly and publicly from the outset, I may disagree with Palin's decision to run but would have had no choice but to respect her honesty. Right now it just feels like some bad publicity stunt with the Repulican party is running on the screw-ball comedy with a happy ending plan and that's just plain unacceptable.

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