This article was originally posted on September 7, 2008, shortly after John McCain announced he had chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. The negative responses emanating from the Bellingham Blogosphere over Palin's recent decision to leave the Governorship prompts a reposting.
I recently attended my 40th high school reunion. The atmosphere was congenial, the conversation a blend of overblown accounts of personal attainment, exaggerated career histories and the occasional flirtation. There was plenty of small talk about the challenges facing aging Boomers; the best vitamin supplements, nonsurgical face-lifts and the merits of various types of hearing aid batteries.
When the festivities wound down, about 20 stalwarts repaired to a nearby bar, determined to continue our booze-addled story-spinning into the wee small hours. After convening this motley crew of reprobates, our Class President stood up and posed this question: Is there anyone here that DOESN'T have a family member that would qualify for the Jerry Springer Show?
The hush was followed by a few nervous laughs. Most of us ignored the question. Or maybe it was just a case of weak hearing aid batteries. But our President's point was well taken. Given the passage of years and human experience, probably everyone at the table, and everyone reading this post, has a Jerry Springer Show candidate hanging somewhere in their family tree. A nutty Aunt. A warped parent. A crazy cousin. A psychotic sibling.
So it came as no surprise that David Letterman got a big laugh last week when he opined that all 5 members of Sarah Palin's family had distinguished themselves by throwing chairs on the Jerry Springer Show. The liberal Canadian press had a field day with the Palin VP pick. Canada's Globe and Mail characterized her nomination as a "troubling distraction" and recommended she be dropped from the GOP ticket forthwith to avoid "a political disaster with global implications". Readers bemoaned the "Nascaring" of the U.S. body politic and the prospect of "trailer trash" achieving national political prominence. Wow.
The subsequent revelation of Bristol Palin's pregnancy added to the Jedd Clampett characterization of rural America, one that urban elites on both sides of the 49th parallel find amusing. The real reason for liberal derision of Palin's nomination is more substantive. At least to liberals. Sarah Palin represents a threat to the secular liberal cultural agenda. And the elites know it. Sarah Palin and her family knew that baby Trig would be born with Down's Syndrome. Abortion was a viable and legal option for the Palins. Instead, they chose life, and that choice is now on display in the national political arena. Trig Palin is a poster child for the notion that it is perfectly acceptable to choose to bring a special needs child into the world.
Palin's Choice presents a sharp contrast to Barack Obama's position on abortion. Obama is on record as opposing legislation that would require a child born after a botched abortion be given all necessary medical care to keep that child alive. In Obama's case, a Down's Syndrome baby was refused medical attention and left to die in the unsanitary utility room of a Chicago hospital. As a State Senator, Obama refused to support legislation that would have provided medical care for this unfortunate child.
I first read about Levi Johnston, the father of Bristol Palin's baby, in a Canadian tabloid. The paper characterized Johnston as a self-described "f———redneck", with a passion for hockey, camping and fishing. So what? Sounds like a typical 18 year old to me. Perhaps a bit of a rascal. Truth be told, most teenage girls love rascals. How many female readers of this blog had sex with a good looking, hell-raising young rascal in their teen years? Or, for that matter, now?
The embrace of young Levi and Bristol by the Palin family is heartwarming. Perhaps the marriage will not work, but failed marrriages are hardly uncommon. In any event, the child of Levi and Bristol has, given the age, vitality and sheer physical beauty of both mother and father, a very good chance of being a blessed addition to our troubled and cynical world. Thousands of childless couples would be thrilled to adopt this child if they had the opportunity.
To their credit, the Palin family will nurture and raise the child in the same loving atmosphere they have created for the child's brothers and sisters. For the Palins, adoption is not a consideration. Nor is abortion. They deserve our admiration, irrespective of one's personal political persuasion.
Sure, the family circumstances were fodder for liberal pundits and late night comics.
That was last week. Time to Move On.