31 Dec

Family Values on the Political Front

Lissa Coffey

Lissa Coffey

Lissa Coffey

It took me a couple of days to process all this.  I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon and blog about something that could have been perceived as gossip.  But this is not gossip, this is news, and it is the kind of news that can have an impact on the entire country.

I was visiting my 21 year old son who is away at college in Monterey when I heard the news that John McCain had chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. I was pleased that a woman got that slot.  First impression was that she was smart, well put together, and an asset to the Republican party.

What a difference a day makes.

Of course this woman is going to be under a microscope.  She’s up for one of the most important jobs in the world.  It didn’t take long before blogs all over the place were speculating about the maternity of youngest son Trig, born in May.  Just to re-cap, they’re saying that no one could tell Sarah was pregnant, even at 7 months.  There are photos of her with her daughter in March, Sarah doesn’t look pregnant, but her daughter Bristol sure does.  I’ve been pregnant, and when I was pregnant I was healthy and in my 20’s and I was still exhausted.  I could barely stand up, let alone hold down a demanding full-time job.  And the second pregnancy I was showing from day one!  Can you imagine being in your 40’s, and on your fifth pregnancy?  Those stomach muscles would be shot, and a pregnancy would be so obvious.  Yet somehow Sarah’s pregnancy went unnoticed until she announced it in her 7th month.  And the blogs bring up questions like why did Sarah, in her 8th month of pregnancy, accept a speaking engagement in Texas, and then when her water broke, boarded a plane for an 8 hour flight back to Alaska when the safer thing for the baby would have been to deliver right there?  And the flight attendants had no idea she was pregnant  if they had they might not have let her on board  and said that they had no idea she was in any distress at all.  So, the theory is that the daughter is the one who actually gave birth, and the mother covered up and is raising Trig as her own.

Does that sound like something out of Desperate Housewives or what?  These are the kinds of things you just can’t make up.  But how do you find out what the truth is?  http://www.dailykos.com

So then, I’m still reeling from this news, wondering why on earth a mother of 5, who has one kid going into the army, and a newborn with special needs, would accept this nomination.  And to be fair, I wouldn’t expect a father in this situation to accept either.  The Vice Presidency isn’t just any job.  This is a 24/7, high pressure, dangerous, whole family in the spotlight, open for public criticism, lots of traveling and long hours kind of job.  And the Republicans are preaching family values!  What kind of message does this send?  To me, family values means that family comes first.  You set aside any ambition or career goals that interfere with a family’s well-being and do what is best for the family as a whole.  Anything less is just selfish.

And, just to be perfectly clear with my own views, I don’t believe any couple today, with the environmental problems that we have, and the population growth problems that we have, should have any more than 2 of their own biological children.  If you want more children, adopt some of the ones that are already here!  To keep having kids is selfish, and arrogant.  And that may be an unpopular opinion, but I think that keeping society in mind is being a good citizen.  Having no more than 2 biological children is being socially responsible.  Adopting kids when you want more kids is admirable, and wonderful.

Then comes the announcement that Bristol Palin, the 17 year old daughter of the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, is actually 5 months pregnant.  Really?  Big surprise to all of us, of course we didn’t see the girl at the nomination announcement because she was in the bus taking care of her little brother.  They kept her under wraps!  Like we wouldn’t figure it out?  But something still doesn’t make sense those photos were from March, and she looked pregnant then.  The baby was born in April, supposedly 1 month premature, yet he was still 6 pounds 2 ounces.  So it could be possible that Bristol gave birth full term in April, and then got pregnant again.  They’re saying that this baby is due in December, but I guess we’ll see when the birthday actually is.

But even if Sarah Palin is telling the truth, that she is Trig’s mother, and her 17 year old daughter is pregnant, we have to question her judgment.  Why put this poor girl in the spotlight unnecessarily?  Sarah Palin is pro-life.  She is against abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.  And she is against sex education in schools.  She thinks that schools should only teach abstinence.  Her daughter is proof positive that teaching abstinence alone is totally ineffective.  Then we also have to question Sarah Palin’s parenting skills.  Did she know her teenage daughter was having sex?  Or was the daughter lying to her mother?  If she knew her daughter was having sex and she did not provide her with birth control information, or condoms, then she was stupid, or irresponsible, or both.  And if the daughter was lying to her mother, that says that the daughter cannot trust her mother.  If her daughter can’t trust her, why should the public?  Maybe the daughter learned about lying from her mother, and felt it was the only choice she had given her mother’s public persona as an ultra conservative, gun-toting, power hungry politician.  If that’s the case then I feel sorry for the girl, who probably just wants a good relationship with her mother.

The age of consent in Alaska is 16.
So assuming that Bristol was at least 16 when she started having sex with her 18 year old boyfriend, then no laws were broken.  The legal age to marry in Alaska is 18.  However, those under the age of 18 can marry with both parent’s consent.  Sarah Palin says that her daughter and boyfriend will marry.  So the kids, and they are children, still in high school, not only have the parent’s consent, but their blessing.  Is this the best thing for the children?  The boyfriend in question is high school hockey player Levi Johnson, and on his myspace page is says he doesn’t want children.  There are photos of him horsing around with other teenagers, including girls.  He uses swearwords like they were candy.  And he prides himself on being a redneck.  He is clearly an immature, teenage boy who doesn’t know who he is or what he wants out of life.  And Sarah Palin thinks the solution to the situation is to marry her daughter off to this guy?  This scenario has disaster written all over it.

There are so many issues to consider in any election.  And this one woman, Sarah Palin, by how she lives her life, has brought up many of them.  There are photos of her grinning next to a moose that she slaughtered.  There is her record of voting against pro-environmental policies.  And now this.  The statements being made from the Republican party are that this is a family matter and the family wishes to keep it private.  Well, if they had wished to keep it private then Sarah Palin should not have agreed to accept McCain’s offer to put her on the ticket.  How Sarah Palin is handling this problem in her family lives is very telling as to how she may handle any problems that come up in our country.  We want to see that she has integrity, and compassion, and mainly, that she has her priorities straight.  So far, I’m not seeing it.

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