In History, Politics, Social commentary on May 11, 2012 at 12:00 am

Bristol Palin, America’s foremost authority on the sanctity of marriage, is once again upset at President Barack Obama.

She takes issue with President Obama’s explanation of how he evolved to support gay marriage–by talking with his family and friends.

“You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples,” Obama said on May 9, while announcing that he supported the right of states to legalize same-sex marriage.

“There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently.”

Responding to Obama’s comments on her Facebook page, Palin wrote:

“While it’s great to listen to your kids’ ideas, there’s also a time when dads simply need to be dads.

“In this case, it would’ve been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that’s not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage.

“Or that–as great as her friends may be–we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home.  Ideally, fathers help shape their kids’ worldview.”

All of which raises the question: Where was Bristol when her father, Todd, presumably gave her that lecture on why it was better to get married, then pregnant?

Or did he forget to warn her that leading with your libido was not “a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage”?

It was Bristol, after all, who, at age 18, tumbled into bed not once but several times with her then-boyfriend, Levi Johnston.  And it was after one of those tumbles that–good heavens!–she found she was “with child.”

In late August, 2008, GOP Presidential nominee John McCain chose her mother, Sarah–then the governor of Alaska–to be his vice presidential running mate.

McCain’s advisors already knew of Bristol’s pregnancy–and feared for the worst:

  • How would it look if McCain–then touting himself as the candidate of “family values”–had a running mate whose unmarried daughter was “P.G.”?
  • Worse, Sarah Palin–a staunch proponent of abstinence until marriage–was already emerging as the darling of the hardcore religious right.
  • How would those same people react once they learned she had a daughter who had gotten pregnant before getting married?

For that matter, how would Republicans have reacted had one of the daughters of Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee:

  1. been a teenager, and
  2. gotten pregnant outside of wedlock?

There would have been a chorus of condemnation, offered directly by the Republican party or one of its unofficial, Swift-Boat type allies: “Is this the moral example we want our Chief Executive to set for the nation’s youth?”

So the Republicans had a problem.  The question thus emerged: “How do we handle it?”

The solution: Don’t deny it–celebrate it, and as publicly as possible.

On September 1, the opening day of the 2008 Republican National Convention, it was publicly announced that Bristol was pregnant and engaged to Johnston.

The entire Palin family, along with Johnston, appeared at the convention.

And Bristol and Levi didn’t simply appear: They were displayed, smiling and holding hands, front and center for the TV cameras–like the future queen and king awaiting their own coronation.

McCain’s advisers believed a wedding between Johnston and Palin would boost the popularity of the McCain-Palin ticket.  But Johnston claimed that he wasn’t being pressured into a shotgun wedding: “We were planning on getting married a long time ago with or without the kid. That was the plan from the start.”

If that was the plan, then somewhere along the line it broke down–because Bristol and Levi never got around to tying the golden knot.

Today, Bristol, now 21, remains a single mother–despite her self-righteous commentary that “we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home.” And Bristol says that Levi is not a part of the child’s life.

Fortunately for Bristol, she has her mother’s equally sanctimonious notoriety–and the money it’s brought the Palin family–to fall back on.

In May, 2009, Bristol became a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation, a division of the Candie’s clothing brand, netting her more than $262,000 that year alone.

And she continues to work the speakers’ circuit, asking between $15,000 and $30,000 for each appearance.

Clearly, the word “hypocrisy” means nothing to the Palins. But it should mean something to the rest of us.

Bristol Palin didn’t have to be a hypocrite.  She could have avoided this fate by

  1. recognizing that she had no right to act as a moral arbiter for others, and
  2. having the courage to act on that insight.

But for those who live only for their egos and wallets, such insight and courage will be forever lacking.

  1. She also could have avoided this fate by remembering that she is of no actual significance to American politics, culture, or society in general. Without being a member of a famous family, she would not have accomplished anything worth the nation’s attention, and her tweets and Facebook posts would be only viewed by about 40 or 50 people. She needs to get a grip on her own inflated sense of relevance.

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