Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Life Lessons and Vice Presidential Candidates

As a child, I learned two lessons about the adult world almost as soon as I was able to tell right from wrong. That the authority granted to adults and supposed authority figures most often is not granted because they are moral or even responsible people and is usually a coincidence arising from their career, rather than given to them through any legitimate means. Second, I learned that most people are not deserving of respect (beyond that due every human) until they prove otherwise. Since I learned those lessons at Catholic school, it took me a while to separate my problem with authority from my perception of all Christians as hypocrites. If you have read some of my other posts on this blog you will notice that I still have that perception of Christians.

Christian hypocrisy is a good transition into discussing the issues surrounding the pregnancy of Sarah Palins unwed teenage daughter. Anti-abortion types will see this as not being hypocritical since Bristol, Palins daughter, will be keeping the child. This is itself a red herring and the hypocrisy I wish to discuss because it ignores the anti-contraception and anti-sexed positions that are associated with an anti-abortion and which Gov. Palin has herself expressed. A friend of mine observed today that you can't treat teen sex like the Easter bunny and decide not to believe in it because it does happen and has profound consequences. Many of those consequences will not be felt by Bristol and her child(eren) because of the financial status of her family. Sadly this is not the case for most unwed teenage mothers. Teen pregnancy is almost a guarantee that the mother and new child will live out their lives in poverty according to the CDC. It is easy to be anti-abortion when you have a safety net. Yet the Bush administration, right wing Christians, and other people with nothing personally at stake continue to push for abstinance only sex education, which has been shown to do nothing to reduce premarital sex or teen pregnancy. At the same time, Jamie Lynn Spears is on a publicity romp, glorifying teen pregnancy. To get back to the accusations of hypocrisy, Sarah Palin has advocated abstinence only sex ed while claiming to be anti-abortion, which is consistent until you notice her unwed teenage daughters pregnancy and have to question Palins parenting.

So while she is telling the rest of the nations women what is right for them she is either not practicing what she preaches or she is ironically suffering the consequences of the polices she supports, but not really suffering from them the same way every one else will. At the same time the Republicans are decrying all the public attention this is getting because its prying into a personal family matter and shouldn't be public, which is hypocritical because of the way in which the very same Republicans dug into the personal sexual lives of the Clintons during the Monica Lewinski scandal.

I applaud Sarah Palin for supporting her daughters choice to become pregnant and to keep her child. (Remember there is always adoption.) I just hope it can be a learning experience for her about the failings of abstinence only sex education even though it will not open her eyes to the deep personal consequences it has for far too many American girls and the resulting social costs to U.S. taxpayers.

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