Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears

Besides battling this heinous, unexpected summer cold, I’ve found myself oddly fixated on the Republicans this morning. Sarah Palin made her VP nomination acceptance speech last night. I didn’t watch (couldn’t keep my head up). I am sure I can catch it on youtube before the day is out. I did read about it this morning and like most folks this week I am fascinated by this “gun tottin’, hottie, hockey mom.” Of course I am wondering how is she qualified to be the VP with such limited experience, but more so I am wondering how she and her family are holding up under the glare and public scrutiny. How is she reconciling her feelings around her pregnant daughter with her abstinence-only and no sex education in schools stance? Does it hold up under this unexpected life situation? Should we judge her because her daughter did what thousands of teens do every day? Is the bar higher because Sarah Palin is a Christian, or anti-choice, or pro-guns, or the governor of Alaska – that she should have had her daughter “under control.” Is she any different from any parent that is trying to do their best, but can’t control every second that their child is out of their sight? I guess it is easy to judge her because she’s taken on such an absolute stance on some vital women’s issues. Maybe, like a few blogger have pointed out, it’s karma. So busy trying to police everyone else’s life, you’re not policing your own – sort of thing. I think it’s more ironic. Or maybe it’s just life.

Does any of this seem weird to all the folks who were cheering her on last night?

I don’t know if I would advise (or pressure) my 17 year old daughter to marry her 18 year old boyfriend. Having that baby is going to be hard enough without the added stress of a marriage under ill-timed circumstances, played out in front of the country. I saw a picture of Bristol Palin’s boyfriend Levi in the receiving line at some Republican event and he looked like a deer in headlights. I wonder what his parents think of all this? At 18, he has to be fighting the urge to bolt. Especially now that his “manning up” is being played out for the Republican Party and the rest of us. What pressure.

I do find it interesting, besides the “leave our children out of this campaign” stance that both sides have endorsed but the kids are in every family photo-op, that when you try to compare Bristol Palin with Jamie Lynn Spears folks bristle up. How are they different? I remember when it came out that Jamie Lynn was preggers folks really tried to come for her mother Lynn Spears. She had allowed Hollywood to corrupt her child and Jamie Lynn’s teen pregnancy was a result of her careless parenting. For Bristol we have heard that no one is perfect. That in the face of a difficult situation Bristol (and her mother) had stuck to her faith and belief that each child deserves life and she was keeping her baby. And best yet, she was marrying the soon-to-be baby daddy.

Line them up side by side and both these young women sound very much a like. They were both having unprotected sex. They both chose to keep their babies (Jamie Lynn clearly has enough money that she could have had an abortion and no one would have had a clue), both their families have professed their love and support for their daughters, and both their baby daddies have promised to marry them (and no I don’t think either one of them has any business rushing into to a marriage to placate anyone who is judging them for getting pregnant, either).

How are they different? I guess because some people sees Bristol’s mom as an upstanding governor with aspirations of the White House, while Jamie Lynn’s mom is a Louisiana hillbilly stage mother.

I’m going to go blow my nose and take some Robitussin.


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