Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bristol’s Pregnancy, Abstinence and Lemons

Bristol Palin, the 18-year old daughter of Alaska governor, Sarah Palin is making news, it seems. She has been appointed as a teen ambassador for the Candle Foundation because " because she believes she could be a living example of the consequences of teen pregnancy, which is foundation's mission."

"Regardless of what I did personally, I just think that abstinence is the only ... 100 percent foolproof way to prevent pregnancy," she is quoted as saying.

This kind of mild hypocrisy is part of the problem. Abstinence is the solution that married couples, celibate popes, asexual Neo-cons, the hyper-religious and, as in this case, the repentant love to promote. Abstinence is always a fine solution for other people. And abstinence is always a fine solution in hind-sight. I mean, really, it is pretty easy to be a negative role model. Just about anybody can do that. I already have about 3 subjects covered myself.

A drunk warning about the dangers of alcohol and a drug addict confessing about all the terrible things he/she did to get a fix never impressed me much. It sounded too much like bragging and not even in an honest way. 

Bristol is probably a good kid and I wish all the best. However, reducing this argument to merely a debate over choices will never solve anything. At the end of the day, youth wants to experience life and as far as experiences go, sex is on my personal top ten. Also, not a bad activity when you are on budget or rather an allowance. All around the young people of today, in films, in music, in advertising, they see that life is a sexual thing.  The message says that A sexual being is a complete person. It is a sad fact that a virgin, according to the society we live in, is a pathetic thing, an outsider, somebody inexperienced and therefore lacking in a key aspect of life. It is regrettable  that we should be led to think this way. But that’s the message young people get -are getting like a timpani drum in their adolescent ears morning, noon and night.

Tackle the flood of mixed messages and you might go a long way in addressing the problem. At the very least, parents might try teaching their children self-control, self-discipline and the consequences of your actions at the very earliest age. Lord, I sound so old-fashioned but is there any other way? Sometime in the 1970s, (I don’t know the exact date) parents simply stopped saying no. They walked off the job and never came back.

"It's a 24-hour job and that's a huge responsibility," she said. "Your priorities completely change once you have a baby."

But wait a second. That would be true in any case, whether you are a teenager or a middle aged woman with a new baby. So isn't this statement anti-family? Why isn't she talking about how having a baby at a very young age may cause you to lose a lot of opportunities in life? Probably this would limit-by about 90%- her mother's voter pool.  Unless your parents are rich and generous, or governor, even, you’d better curtail that dreaming about a wonderful future if you have a baby in tow. On the other hand, perhaps Bristol never saw first-hand her mother change any priorities with a new baby. Even before she became pregnant, I had trouble understanding whose baby poor Bristol had to tote from rally to rally during the campaign.

"I don't see myself as a celebrity; I don't want to be one," she said. "But I think using this experience in my life to help others, I think it's a blessing."

I get it. This is the lemons from lemonade part of the interview. No. You are not a celebrity, Bristol and this is merely an attempt to solve a political problem for your mother.


  1. The greatest inconsistency is in your logic, not hers. You suggest parents teach discipline, but at the same time suggest kids should check off their top ten. She may have switched sides, but at least she's picked one.

  2. It is easy to pick a side when you don't have a choice. It is all very well trying to be a role model. That much is admirable. As I write, it would have been much more admirable for her to have been a role model in practice rather than in hindsight. This "do as I say, not as I do" philosophy is not very convincing to your average teenager. Especially when it comes from another teenager.

    In any case, thanks for your opinion. Glad to hear what you think. I am sure they are other articles that you will agree or disagree with. Do you also have a blog?


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