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Politics, Palin, Pregnancy

Let's get this part out of the way, right away: The fact that Republican Veep candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's 17-year-old kid is pregnant does not make the kid a fair topic of partisan political discussion or debate.

But I'm not partisan!

Still, while I often have beef with select broadcast pundits for having no shame in their underhanded personal attacks and their use of half truths as weapons, I believe in credit where it's due. And since the news broke about the Palin daughter's pregnancy I haven't heard or heard of one TV pundit who has gone after the girl.

All that being said, I believe there's a little confusion on facts vs. issues.

The pregnancy is a matter of fact. The girl is a minor. That's a matter of fact. The girl is not running for office. That's a matter of fact. The girl intends to keep the baby. That intention is a matter of fact. The girl's decision is in keeping with her family's public pro-life stance. None of those facts needs to be debated or publicly pondered. They are what they are.

But there are related issues that are fair game, and I'm waiting to see if the pundits address those issues in any detail.

For example, there are premarital sex by minors and unsafe sex. I agree with all sides that Palin's daughter is not a political pinball. However, her situation cast in the shadow of her mother's staunch position that the only good sex education is abstinence education, makes that position fair game for debate.

If you've read this blog before, you know my pops is a pastor, who is pro-life. You know that I attended a parochial high school, where we didn't get sex ed. You don't necessarily know that my school, while significantly smaller in size than nearby public schools, experienced several high profile pregnancies during my tenure. I was friends with the parties involved. To a man...and woman, they all said after the fact that in the moment they weren't thinking about anything but the act of sex itself, and getting it right.

So I'm not advocating over-the-top sex ed. In fact, I'm not advocating sex ed at all. If you want your kid to have it, make sure he is in a school where he'll get it. If you don't want your kid to have it, don't let him take the classes. But make sure you teach him about humans and sex at home. I say humans and sex, 'cause that birds and bees nonsense has to stop. I've never learned anything about how to have sex, or have safe sex from fowl or insects.

Anyway, I don't see any problem with the pundits asking whether or not some form of sex ed might have led to the introduction of condoms into the sex life of Palin's daughter and the daughter's boyfriend, and possibly have prevented the pregnancy.

It's not a knock on the kid. It's a question about a policy Palin supports for other American kids, kids who aren't hers.

And hopefully, if the question is raised, Palin's supporters will demand to see evidence that learning about condoms in school compels more teenagers to use them. Don't harp to me that there is data proving it. For every kid who answers sex life surveys in school, there are two or three more who either lie on those surveys or choose not to answer 'em. Let's not forget the wisdom of Mark Twain when it comes to statistics: On the sliding scale of fibbing, there are "lies, damned lies, and statistics!"

Frankly, if I had not been such a combo jock/dork/debate club geek/barbershop quartet member/?, I might have had a legitimate shot at sex before age 17. And if I'd had such a shot, I can't guarantee you I'd have remembered a condom in the heat of the moment. I mean I kept them in my car way back then, in the unlikely event that I'd get to use them before becoming a legal adult. But even straight A students can forget things in the heat of the moment....not that I was a straight A student, in no-sex ed or any other subject.

Last and least, since the balance and fairness of media coverage always seems to leach into political debates these days, if Barack Obama's eldest daughter was a few years older and it came out that she was pregnant by a high school boyfriend, would the media react the same way, or would Obama be taken to task for preaching the "gospel" of personal responsibility while his own daughter was engaging in unsafe sex? Would the race baiters come out and argue that Obama's family was contributing to the high rate of black children born to single mothers?

On a related note, Obama's running mate Sen. Joe Biden has been classified by both partisans and non-partisan "analysts" as a socially liberal politician. If one of his youngest sons had impregnated a girl in high school, would Biden be taken to task now for letting having let his liberal ways cloud his parental judgment and hinder him from keeping his household under control?

As always, don't get mad. I'm just asking questions!

Your opinion, please?

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Married To It

I think if you are going to take a blind stance on an issue it better work in at least for you. I teach high school I know and see what kids are doing. Just saying no with on information is really hard. We have to move beyond that point and provide them with the information. My parents laid it out on the table but they also told me what they expected of me. I waited personal choice but if I didnt I at least was armed with the correct information. I didnt believe some nonsense a horny teenage boy might have wispered in my ear. I dont think the candidate should pull her daughter into the fray but I do think they need to address the policy.
*Oh I taught at a public school where the majority of the population was catholic.
Dude you are a PK you i'm not to sure about that nerd status you're holding onto. I know to many PKs they are usually the ringleaders.

The Sarcasticynic

I'm guessing you don't teach English?

James B.

Married to It, ha ha ha! Yeah, I'm a PK. But I was never ballsy enough to try to be the ringleader back in the day. I was the rare semi-shy PK ;>)

Sarc, huh? That one flew right over my head.

mark

Sarah Palin knew a long time ago that she was raising a sexually over-active daughter and she did noting to protect her very own daughter from her own vices. Sarah Palin failed her very own daughter. She knew her daughter was having tons of unprotected sex and she did zilch to stop it. Yes I know the daughter and the current sperm winner have said that they are going to get married. OH REALLY? We dont know that do we??????? I wonder how many paternity tests it took to prove the eventual sperm winner? And apparently neither Sarah Palin nor John McCain took the time or effort to consider how a sexually over-active teen girl might effect the conservative base of the GOP party. I dont think Sarah Palin and her sexually over-active daughter is going to have a positive outcome. Why make it so easy for a Muslim Democrat to steal our birthright?

og

The wide world is full of people who made mistakes at that age. This is going to touch the hearts of evbery person who had a misspent youth, or any parent who struggles with a rebellious teen (pleonasm alert) I'm raising a child now, and I'm sure going to be watching how this plays out.

Any single human who claims 'Sarah failed her child" had better be perfect themself. I know I'm not. And I know Sarah is making many of the same decisions (and tough ones) I may someday have to make. And it makes me like her more. She isn't covering this or hiding it, she's being honest. You know, that thing politicians basically never are.

cucuclaire

I too went to a catholic school; I was taught sex education by a Catholic Sister - a NUN. Someone who had NEVER had sex(the ultmate "those who can't, teach"), and their teaching, of course that the ONLY way to never get pregnant was to abstain. Well, that's what they told us in fifth grade almost 20 years ago. Today, however, kids in high school have access to that information more readily than any other group in the past.
She knew about condoms, I am sure. And I am sure that she knew she could get pregnant if she had unprotected sex (which we are ASSUMING she did - no one has asked if a condom was or wasn't used, have they?).
She had the classic "It would never happen to me" moment as every teenager is wont to do and it DID happen to her.

I have a son of my own and you better believe that when the time comes I will be the one having that conversation with him, because I don't want him learning about sex from school and what he sees on his abuela's novelas like I did.

the other shoe dropping

I notice you fail to mention, or perhaps you simply didn't know, that the girl and her boyfriend are getting married next year. They set a date BEFORE Palin was chosen to be the next vice president.

The boy will be at the Republican convention Wednesday. This is not and never was an issue of sex education, it was and continues to be an issue of love. And having a baby is not a "punishment" as Obama said recently, but a blessing. That is the difference between him and the Palin family and the reason she believes babies should live and he believes it is OK for babies to be killed.

I also notice that the same people judging Palin's daughter were the ones saying we shouldn't judge Bill Clinton when he was uncovered as adulterer-in-chief. So his sex life was no one else's business even though he was the president of the country, but this girl's sex life is everybody's business even though she isn't running for anything? What hypocrites.

Pamela

James...
back in the 20's there was a song my mom sang to me when I was a youngster, but it didn't stop me. No Sirree!

I'd hum it to you, but I'm sure you'll get the gist by the words:

Yes, sir... the rubber busted
no, sir... it can't be trusted
yes, sir... I'm a mommy now

M. Reed

Dear the other shoe dropping:

Show me where Obama said it is okay for babies to be killed! Having a baby isn't a punishment, but having one too early in life or when one isn't prepared to be a parent may feel like a punishment---especially to a teen.

ivy

Mark
how do you know all these things. were you there?

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