Monday, October 27, 2008

Leave the kids alone

I have mixed feelings about some of the comments I have read here and elsewhere about Bristol Palin.

Bristol is a news item, not an issue. She really isn't a National news item, she is simply another example of a failed education policy, or she is just another pregnant teen. Either way, she has my sympathy. Both for her plight, and for the feeling I am left with that she has little access to advice that considers only what is in her best interests, given the statements of at least one of her parents.

Bristol's personal misfortune is a National news item not because Dkos put her there, but because her mother did.

Whatever the motives, the most charitable being that Mom broke the news in a controlled manner, before it broke anyway, the fact remains that Mom making this statement was NOT in her (Bristol's) best interests. They would have been better serve by Gov. Palin deflecting such questions with "this is a personal family matter, not relevant to the Campaign". I might have suggested her adding that any media intrusion would be rebuffed regardless of any consequences to the Campaign.

But no, Sarah Palin took the stage and told the World that her daughter was pregnant. Please shoot me if I ever do anything like that to my kids.

But Bristol Palin is only one example. We all coo'd over Malia and Sasha on Monday. They are too cute. But they too were put on National Television by their parents. Chelsea Clinton was Internationally known and recognised at an early age. The Bush twins also.

Don't think for one minute that Barack and Michelle Obama didn't fully understand that portraying the whole of their family was a vote-winner. I have some sympathy with the Obamas in this. There is a large wedge of US opinion that feels that they have a right to know about a politicians family, kids and all, and somehow the Obamas might appear "not American enough" were they to be kept out of the public eye. Those unreasonaable charges are enough to persuade even the most protective of parents that some appearances are necessary.

On the other hand, I am left with the distinct impression that questions about a pregnat 17 yr old Malia would be met with a MYOFB. At least I hope so.

Bristol Palin is not an example of how her Mom's policies or beliefs are a failure. The generic statistics suggest that abstinence only education is ineffective, but her story is a personal one, and should remain so. However, Sarah Palin making an announcement inevitably links the story to her political position. She made her daughter the story, not those who discussed it.

It is wrong that politicians, any of them, feel it necessary to prove to any section of American society that they are good, wholesome, productive parents. Family matters are private, and the children of our Leaders should not have to have the ills of their parents bestowed upon them. It isn't the fault of the politicians, it is that part of America that demands to know about private family matters .... those who feel that a man or woman shielding their kids has something to hide ... those who hold the public man/woman to a standard none of us has to meet in our own lives ... they are to blame.

Ok, I like cutesy pics of kids. I like kids. I have five and I love to show them off. And I do, to family and friends. I will never have to show them off to a Nation, to get a job. I am grateful for that because, in the end, it is their lives, and they would get precious little say in the decision.

Crossposted with discussion

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