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?