Thursday, January 1, 2009

Who Cares?

In an interview with PEOPLE, Sarah Palin informed the interviewer that her oldest daughter and her fiance are "hard at work and keeping up with school". Palin's oldest daughter, Bristol, gave birth to her baby, Tripp, on Saturday and said that she intends to finish high school and get her diploma, even though she is now a teenage mother.

I congratulate Bristol and her fiance on the birth of their newborn baby and wish them all the best as they strive to raise him, and that Bristol intends to finish high school. This will surely be a daunting task for her as I can only imagine how the new few years will be as she tries to raise a baby and finish high school!

However, this is not the point of my post. What I found curious about the article is what Governor Palin (former Republican vice-presidential candidate) said to the interviewer. "You need to know that both Levi and Bristol are working their butts off to parent and going to school and working at the same time." She goes on to say that she wants to make sure that is made clear because "any suggestion otherwise 'harms Bristol's reputation and Levi's reputation and their chances for good work opportunities."

First of all, I don't need to know. I haven't given the subject of Palin's pregnant teen daughter any thought in a couple of months, especially since it's been out of the news. There's just no need for Palin to raise it once again, especially when I don't remember seeing any articles this past week (outside of the linked PEOPLE article) announcing the birth of her grandson. There is not much of a desire in the public to know about this aspect of the governor's life, or there shouldn't be anyway, unless you're a die-hard Palin fan or a die-hard Palin critic. Everyone else in between could care less. Me? I could care less. But it's that statement that we "need to know" that assumes that everyone must know.

Second, while apparently Levi has left high school to pursuit training to become an electrician, Bristol is continuing high school. Governor Palin seems to think that if Bristol's intentions aren't made clear, her chances for future opportunities will be damaged. I don't know where Bristol is at in her high school career, but given she is 17 or 18, I assume that she is a senior and due to graduate this spring. If that's the case, when she finishes school this year she will receive her high school diploma. Thus, where is the damage to her reputation? If anything, it will show that she has the strength and determination and the willingness to not only work hard to finish school, but do so while raising a newborn baby. If anything, that will help Bristol's reputation! Bristol probably should not be looking for work anytime soon anyway if she's both raising a newborn and finishing high school. So how will it hurt her chances for future opportunities? Bristol shouldn't need her mother to go out there and assure the public that she is going to work hard so that her opportunities won't be hindered. Bristol's work and own personal accomplishments should speak for themselves.

Truth be told, I view it nothing more than Sarah Palin's continuing quest to repair her reputation and to start preparing for the 2012 election. The reason we "need" to know is because Palin wants to assure the public that family values are a high priority in her family. While as uncovered as it was, the birth of a grandson out of wedlock for Governor Palin would have people scoffing and shaking their heads and criticizing her as a parent, so Governor Palin wants people to know and she wants to change so that people say, "Oh, that's good of them to do!"

The way I see it, it's all about damage control, even though I thought the baby had been born weeks ago, to be honest! While I think it's great that Bristol is working hard at school (though I find the way the statement is worded puzzling; would Bristol already be back in school and don't Alaskan schools have Christmas break?), Governor Palin really doesn't need to get out there and be the voice for her daughter. Politican and future Presidential candidate or not, Governor Palin should still be a mother first and recognize that she doesn't need to discuss her family's personal lives in the public domain, even if it is to help prevent "damage" to their reptuations.

Governor Palin, just let your daughter work hard the way she says she's going to. Have faith that she will be able to handle the responsibilities of parenting and high school education at the same time without needing mom to vouch for her. I think you'll find that, in the end, if she finishes high school while being a teenage mother, she should have plenty of opportunities on her own. Besides, she will still have the advantage of being the daughter of Sarah Palin's daughter. That couldn't hurt too much either, couldn't it?


Dave said...

I concur that few care and those who do should not as it is a private matter. Palin may well be keeping the matter alive for future political reasons.

Evie said...

Sarah Palin is a nitwit. I already know far more about her than I want to know, and I certainly don't need to know any more. As for Bristol, Levi and Tripp, I hope they'll be able to keep out of Sarah's spotlight and just go on building their lives.

Joanne said...

Although I am definately NOT a Palin fan (she truly is an opportunist and not a very good opportunist at that. She also has some political and theological views that are pretty scary), however I can also relate to what she has said on some level. We don't know how much she was questioned about her daughter's situation before the interview, or about the body language that was present when the question was asked. As a mother, I would be a bear if I felt my daughter's reputation was being attacked and would put my own reputation on the line to protect hers.

I also think we need to keep in mind that although Palin's daughter is the one who must rise above the circumstances that have come from the decisions she has made (resulting in a child), that others sometimes have trouble "letting go". Uncle Bruce and I got married under similar conditions when I became preganant with Jenn at 19. We rose above it, I finished school (although it took me quite some time) and we have 3 amazing, wonderful children who have grown to be incredible adults. There are those however that still bring Uncle Bruce's past up as well as the fact that we got married "because of Jenn" (NO we got married because we loved each other and still do. Jenn was simply a product of that love, just a little earlier than what we planned). When we first had Jenn, it was your Nana & Papa who spoke up to people when they questioned or said "negative" things. That is something I will always ove and respect them for doing.

So, back to Palin, although I did not see or read the interview (as I said, I am NOT a fan and therefore don't pay much attention to the media coverage of her), I see that her response to this, although possibly over the top, is one of a mother trying to protect her child.

Evie said...

Thanks for your response. I can appreciate that reporters who asked Palin questions about her family crossed a line of decency (what else is new?). Sarah Palin's family should be off-limits for political inquiries.

On the other hand, I don't like to see politicians using their families to score political points. It goes both ways - if a politician wants the public to respect her or his family's privacy, then the politician has to avoid the temptation to shine the spotlight on the family to score warm, fuzzy "family values" points.

I agree with Jonathan that I don't really care what Bristol and Levi are doing, other than I wish them the best in their future together. Their family situation simply is not a factor that I take into consideration when pondering Palin's fitness for public office.

As for nitwits who still talk about things that happened 30+ years ago in your and Bruce's lives, they obviously have small minds and hearts, as well as no meaningful lives of their own. Their personalities are probably dull as dishwater and they're not the kind of people I would count among my friends. They're losers.

Jonathan Sears said...

It's true that we don't know what the questions the interviewer asked were, and she may simply have been answering those questions. She may simply have been trying to defend her daughter and future son-in-law.

If that is the case and she feels that her family's reputation is being damaged, she should come out with a strong public statement revealing the intentions of Bristol and Levi, but mainly saying that they are off-limits and that she will refuse to comment or answer any questions relating to her family.