Well, since they brought up Sarah Palin's pregnant 17 year-old daughter, and since I write a blog called "Sensual Celibacy," I figure I have as much right to crash the debate party raging on blogs, both liberal and conservative, as anyone.
First, let's get this straight: neither democrats nor republicans have cornered the market on sexual irresponsibility. As the Good Book says, we have all fallen short (especially me).
The goal of any presidential campaign is, of course, to win. Unfortunately, truth and integrity are the greatest casualties of the war.
When I heard about the teen pregnancy, I immediately thought, now if one of Barack Obama's African American daughters was 17 and had gotten pregnant (God forbid), what would be the response?
We know. Oh, we know.
"Yet another black girl got herself pregnant. Typical. Who's the baby daddy? Does she even know?" Blah blah.
All is not fair in America, so the hypocritical response of the republicans wasn't a surprise, but it still pissed me off. There has been nothing but glowing praise for Palin and her pregnant daughter.
"At least she's not going to have an abortion, although the situation is difficult."
"At least she's going to get married."
What kind of message does this send to youth? And, do republicans even believe what they're saying?
Rather than being apologists for the Palins, be real, republicans. Don't throw the child under the bus, but on the other hand, don't be hypocrites. Stay true to your conservative agenda, even when there's a lot at stake.
Isn't that what integrity's all about?
What happened to the conservative agenda – abstinence education, no sex before marriage, etc.? What happened to the national campaign to reduce teen pregnancy rates? What happened to the discussion about the girl's education? How will this pregnancy affect her academic performance? Will she graduate on time?
Did you throw all that out the window because of political expediency?
I thought about Britney's sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, and the flak she took when her pregnancy was revealed to the world. She was a bad influence on youth, they said. Jamie's mother was called the worst mother in the world.
Yet I only hear glowing praise for Sarah Palin.
I'm just saying, be consistent, be fair.
Here are some teen pregnancy statistics to put this issue in perspective. According to the Centers for Disease Control:
- About one-third of girls in the U.S. get pregnant before age 20.
- More than 80% of teen births are unintended.
- "Despite the continuous declines, the US teenage pregnancy rate is still among the highest among industrialized nations."
- "$9.1bn in public funding was expended on teenage childbearing in 2004. These costs include public assistance, healthcare, child welfare and other expenses." (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy)
I have a teen aged daughter, so I know firsthand about the perils of parenting and growing up in this age of sexual irresponsibility. In fact, if I had been in Sarah Palin's place (God forbid), I wouldn't have taken McCain up on his offer. I wouldn't have wanted my daughter to endure the kind of public scrutiny Palin's daughter is now facing.
Sarah Palin, for my daughter's sake and all other teen males and females, don't hide behind the old "give our family privacy" bit. Use your great platform to talk about the need for abstinence education. Revive the discussion about how sexual themes and images in youth music, media, the Internet, video games, and comic books are deliberately promoted to children.
Sarah Palin, your daughter has launched a national debate. Your family is now part of all families. When it comes to our children, we can forgive just about anything. We know how your kids can break your heart. So be real, and don't hide behind politics, just this once. This is really important.