Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The third rail…

A bitch is feeling under the everything today.


But I do have some thoughts on the emerging debate inspired by the announcement that Gov. Palin's daughter is pregnant.

This bitch...with a wee bit of reluctance...agrees that a candidate’s family is off limits.



Well, shit…a bitch is used to rock ‘em sock ‘em city politics where everything and the temperament of a candidate’s dawg is on the table, everyone knows that shit and folks usually survive in the end.

Oh, catch thy knee and please continue reading.


Of course I object to totally unrelated personal shit that wasn’t introduced by the candidate being tossed out as if it has anything to do with what that person has accomplished, could accomplish or wants to accomplish while in office.

And of course this bitch isn’t going to tear into a young woman who isn’t running for damn thing just because her mother is.

However…and you knew that was coming…the frenzified back-and-forth over the impact of this story did make this bitch do some inner work.

And I realized that I wanted to touch that third rail so bad it fucking hurt.

I did!

Fuck it…a bitch is honest.

The thing is, I wanted to go there because “they” have been going there without a fucking qualm for years…because Gov. Palin is advocating a sex education policy that fails to educate youth about sex…because the young women I have partnered with at local shelters will face motherhood in large part without the support of their family, their community, their government and too damn many of them found out how to prevent pregnancy when they got pregnant.

Yeah, I wanted to go there so bad I could fucking taste it.


But I woke up this morning knowing that the way to combat someone forcing their narrow and flawed values on society is not to do as they do and that they path to funding and support for comprehensive sex education does not run through Bristol Palin’s bitness.


No trespassing.

Third rail.

I get it.

But we who support a return to comprehensive sex education and funding for comprehensive sex education in our nation’s classrooms…we who live in communities where sti rates are through the roof and young people risk more than the relentless glare of the national media’s spotlight when they are sexually active…we who believe that knowledge is power need to stand up and declare that shit.

There ain’t no third rail on the reproductive justice tracks…


pouletsecret said...

Damn, girl. You never fail to impress.

ChristopherM said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. It is cruel to make that girl an example of the failure of abstinence only education (and besides, sometimes teens who get comprehensive sex ed make mistakes too), and we're supposed to be better than that.

Here's the thing: what does it say about Gov. and Mr. Palin that their teen child came to them pregnant, and being politicians they know exactly what is going to happen to this child in the media, and yet they still say yes to her being on the Republican ticket? That is just the height of selfishness. The two of them (because you know people will say she's a bad mom, but how many will also put the responsibility on the dad?) put political ambition over the needs of their daughter, and frankly they can take their family values and go fuck themselves.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that, from a pragmatic point, we liberals would be better off steering the discourse back to what an absolute nutter Palin actually is, instead of concentrating all our time on her growing family.

I mean, seriously, she used to be a member a group that wanted Alaska to secede from the union, and now she wants to be vice prez of the same union? Will some daring member of the media please ask her to explain herself??

Anonymous said...


You're right, of course... I tried to justify going there on my site by saying- "Hey- this woman put her abstinence-only-vs.-sex-ed-views out there, so it's fair game, right?" Only... I think I was wrong.

Sigh again.

There you go, making us all look bad by taking the high road... but you know what? It's why I love you. Thank you for taking me to task and keeping me honest!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is....

Anonymous said...

I agree to disagree. to comment about this mess is fair game. her own mother threw her under the bus. What does this say about her as a mother? She wan't us to believe that she is super mom. So I say let her have it. Period. She thrust her own child into the spot light. She did it. We didn't go looking for bristol to be pregnant. She had a press conference to announce it. She who cut funding to programs that help single mothers be independent and provide them with support. Whateva.

Mac Daddy Tribute Blog said...

First, delving into Palin's family makes the left appear very hypocritical. How can we decry the right wing criticizing Michelle and badmouthing Obama's family and then turn around and focus on Palin's family?
Second, it's politically dangerous, because it sets Palin (a woman who goes on "safaris" shooting wolves and bears) as some sweet, soccer-mom victim of the socialist left. Third, it's distracting. It keeps us from researching and criticizing Palin's reactionary and dark ages position on evolution, choice, stem cell research, gays and just about everything else under the sun.

We don't need to deal with her family. All we need to do is research on her policies and history to let people know that, far from a reformer, she is nothing less than a Dick Cheney with bad make up and a skirt. Blessings.

berdawn said...

I guess that means you don't want Fox to call her "baby mama" like they did Michelle Obama? You're a better woman than me; I should practice what you preach.

rainywalker said...

Good thinking, I agree with you, leave the girl alone, she isn't running for office.

Laura in L.A. said...

When I was in college, I taught birth control classes at the student health clinic. (You had to take the class before you could get an appointment with the doctor for birth control.)

My students were all adult college women, with at least a fundamental understanding of basic human reproduction. We discussed all methods thoroughly. Birth control pills were only a buck a pack at that time through the clinic; condoms were free. And they still got pregnant...a lot. It was so frustrating. Human nature is a tough nut.

Elusis said...

My one comment regarding the Palin children is that she and her running mate are the ones who made them issues in the campaign, by bringing them up as evidence of what a good mother she is and etc. etc. extrapolate to how this makes her a good VP in a culture where we malign mothering so badly? who knows.

But anyway, they're the ones touting the "soccer mom/mom of a special needs child" credential. In which case, asking "well just what kind of a mom is she, in fact?" is, I think, fair. In fact I think asking "what kind of a father is Random Male Candidate?" might be an interesting political habit to cultivate.

At any rate, if someone is going to tell me "I'm a qualified person because of my parenting," I'm darn well going to want to know some details about that parenting. And in the case of Palin's outspoken efforts against anything other than abstinance-only sex ed, the question "well what effect did that have on her own family?" is marginal but, I think, still in play because here is someone who purports to tell lots of other people what is good for their kids.

Anonymous said...

I know the daughter is off limits, but it was her worthless parents that willingly threw her under the bus, not us. They put her in to play as a distraction.

In the movie "The Dead Zone" the politician that held the baby between himself and a gunman a (I think) a Presidential rally. The Palins are no different. They are willing to sacrifice family members. Some people get it, the media choses not to.

Personally, I tire of the high ground.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is demonizing Bristol Palin. The fact is that her mother is a public figure hoping to pinch hit for the president. She can't have one set of rules for her family and another for the state of Alaska. How dare she hold her constituents to a standard of abstinence that can't even be met in her own home! Sure, it's important to rise above personal attacks and not go after Bristol, but the convergence of this family's business with the hypocrisy of Sarah Palin's policies can't be ignored. If John Edwards is considered political roadkill for his affair, why shouldn't this revelation bite Palin in the ass too?

Anonymous said...

Unwed teenage mothers are portrayed as black or Hispanic by the media - not white. So something good has come out of this disclosure. White America - it's your problem too!

Bristol does not need to be mentioned. It is perfectly possible to discuss the issue of comprehensive sex ed vs abstinence-only sex ed, and the issue of legal abortion, without making any personal comments about any of the Palins. And if someone discusses these issues in general terms and gets stomped on by the Republicans, well, the Republicans will have brought up Palin's name in this context during the stomping.


LizM said...

Well - it's all well and good to say don't mention (...), but given Palin used her line item veto to slash funds for pregnant and homeless girls who are not as fortunate as (...) I am not sure how you haven't effectively taken the whole reproductive freedom and health debate off the table.

Shark-Fu said...

On the contrary, Citizen Jane...
The reproductive justice debate is very much on the table because of the dumb ass anti-women policy move you just mentioned.

She has a record that stinks to high heaven.

We need to go after that.

libhom said...

I think the reason why so many liberal bloggers are going after Palin on her personal behavior is a response to her hypocrisy and that of other militant, Christian fundamentalists. People are understandably tired of being judged and attacked by religious nuts who don't live up to their own values.

LizM said...

Agreed, Shark Fu..... just not sure how. It's like talking about climate change without mentioning Katrina in a way... it seems pertinent.

And...if they want to 'keep family out if it' - Why did they shuttle poor Levi to greet the old geezer for a photo op? They want to use him as a prop. I actually think it's the McCain campaign that threw the kids under the bus and onto the national stage. Looksee - it's all good...We've got em under control!


But yeah - Palin is TRAGIC on so many issues. And she's going to become I think popular and sympathetic after her speech tonight.

Where's Hilary when we need her?

midoriverdegreen said...

Dude, i completely agree with every thing that you have written(including the profanity)

Lisa K. said...

on an unrelated note, i just want to say how happy i am to hear that you will now also be contributing to feministing!

Anonymous said...

If this woman's daughter being pregnant doesn't matter, does anything? It's not just issues, it's identity. "Who Are You?" is the question I need answered.

Palin's background as a wife and mother, not only as an elected official, is relevant. How parents parent and how spouses honor their marriage commitment matters. It goes directly to issues of identity, character, competence, and integrity. And if Her family's private doings and happenings are not relevant, ala Cindy's drug abuse and thievery being not relevant, then somebody needs to call Elliot Spitzer and give him his job back.

Besides, Shark-Fu, there is no high road in politics. There just isn't.

Unknown said...

Heavy sigh....

I get you on this Shark Fu..but..I have a but to it:

As Joe Conason said in his piece over at the New York Observer:

Families deserve privacy about family matters, but families that want absolute privacy should probably stay out of politics. Sooner or later someone would have noticed the pregnancy of Bristol Palin, 17-year-old daughter of John McCain’s vice presidential pick, especially since everyone in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, seemed to know already. The question that remains is what, if anything, her plight may portend for the rest of us.

Its a good read and he gives statistics about teen pregnancies:

But such is life in the red states, where sensible sex education and availability of contraceptives are discouraged for adolescents, even though they are just as sexually active as teenagers everywhere else. Despite the supposed religious morality of the evangelical right-wingers who today regard themselves as the base of the Republican Party, rates of teenage pregnancy and divorce tend to be higher in their domain than elsewhere in America. To the extent that their values would dominate for another four years of Republican rule, those pathologies can be expected to prevail. During the past four years of the Bush administration, teen pregnancies have increased for the first time since 1990, when they began a 14-year decline.

Shark-Fu said...

Ahhh, CitJane...

As much as a bitch enjoys a good leader, 'tis we the people who need to take on this struggle where we live, work and play.

Where are the masses when we need them?

solidsender said...

Rebecca Traister makes an excellent point about reproductive rights issue at play here:

...the public statement about Bristol is at odds with the McCain-Palin line on reproductive rights. According to the New York Times story, "Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, McCain aides said." That's just peachy in its presumption that Bristol had a choice about whether or not to continue her pregnancy. It's true that in 2008, she certainly does have a legal choice. But she wouldn't under the proposed administration of her mother and John McCain, both of whom oppose abortion rights and tell us they would work to overturn Roe. Palin is a member of Feminists for Life, and once called herself, during her failed 2002 run for Alaska's lieutenant governor, as "pro-life as any candidate can be." To celebrate the decision-making freedoms of her daughter was an irrational, unproductive choice.

It's a logic loophole through which McCain himself has traveled in the past. As Kate Sheppard has reported in In These Times, McCain, who supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade, said during his 2000 run for president that if his daughter got pregnant, "The final decision would be made by Meghan with our advice and counsel." When reporters pointed out to him that he had just described a pro-choice situation, McCain replied, "I don't think it is the pro-choice position to say that my daughter and my wife and I will discuss something that is a family matter that we have to decide." Yes. It is the pro-choice position, or at least part of it. So McCain has already been caught in the same goof made today.

...just sayin'

Anonymous said...

There are so many angles to take on this one, so I will choose to take them on with their own. Palin touts herself as a loving mother and family-oriented person, yes? If that's true, why would she throw her daughter into the public spotlight and take the VP offer during the most critical crisis the daughter could have?
I'm just sayin... sounds like this bitch is not all the family woman she espouses herself to be....

LiberalDemDave said...

the critcal point being made by others is that "we" didn't drag bristol into this mess...there was another baseless rumor gaining traction and gov. palin and the mccain campaign decided the "best" strategy to nip the false rumor in the bud was to introduce bristol (and the bun in the oven) into the whole sleazy mess.

for fark's sake, bristol is OBVIOUSLY pregnant. why did they even bring her to the convention? she could have conveniently stayed home to "take care of the down syndrome infant" and remained out of sight...but NOOOOOOO.

did the campaign actually think they could hide her obvious pregnant stomach by having bristol carry a baby blanket (or the baby) the entire week? who's that freakin' naive? i've never professed to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but if i can think of a plausible solution...just sayin'...

sarah palin is an unvetted train wreck waiting to happen...even the math from the time of her wedding to the birth of the eldest child exemplified that she, herself, wasn't married when she conceived. now, under normal circumstances, i would agree that should be completely irrelevant.

under normal circumstances.

these aren't normal. palin wants to be VPOTUS and is running on a "no abortion for any reason", abstinence only sex ed. platform. that, my friends, makes it VERY germane to the dialog.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I do not think that the pregnant daughter thing is an issue at all. Like Bristol is the only unwed teenage girl about ready to squeeze one out?

Don't think so!

And there is nothing else to do in Alaska. When the nights are very long and it is cold. And there is a cozy little fire in the fireplace. I mean come on! What do you think is going to happen??!?!

So anyway it is not an issue.

BUT.....what mother would take a job she really does not need KNOWING it was going to expose her daughter to the shit storm? That may be an issue.

Cause you know...judgment and stuff....aww fuck it. It does not matter anyway.

Because Bristol is keeping the baby (which is good - abortions are horrible) and is going to get married.

Of course she has money. Neither parent will have to work. And even so, mommy is the governor! She can hook the father up with a cush job.

And if mommy is the VP, then the kids can work for some lobby and pull in the bucks.

There will be nannies and housekeepers and shit. Hell there will be a personal fucking chef for them! Health insurance? GOT IT!

So they will be fine.

Of course to the GOP, keeping the baby and getting married will make it all OK. Only horrible liberals decide otherwise.

Of course, both of us know that Bristol's economic reality is not the same as the economic reality for many others.

THAT is an issue. But not really the pregnancy itself. Private life is private life after all.

NOBODY is a saint.NOBODY. Except Saint Peter. And Saint Patrick. And some other old dead people. Nobody alive today is a saint.

So who am I to cast stones?

Unfortunately, saying "not everyone can afford day care so they can work" will be interpreted as "attacking Bristol" as opposed to pointing out reality. Oh yea and class envy! Cant forget about that! It is only said because liberals hate the rich and want everyone to be poor.

Blah blah blah.

Hurricane Ike is going to hit South Florida. As it stands now, i the 5 day forecast holds up as it is now, I will be in the eye, or in the eyewall.

Andrew trucked South Florida and ended up in the Gulf Of Mexico. Katrina hit me as a category 1. I was in the eye of Katrina - as a category 1. It went on to do its thing.

So,,,,,well what can we do. Nothing really. It is going to do what it is going to do.

But you need to start watching it.

Anonymous said...

From another site with another POV:

Sexually Active Teenage Girls: Just Following Nature

by jo swift at 10:20AM (CEST)
on August 18, 2005 | Permanent Link | Cosmos

It's time someone praised and defended reckless teenage girls and young women who behave badly, dress provocatively, engage in risky sex, and get pregnant. They are the normal ones. The rest of us are the deviants. They are behaving in the most natural way. The rest of us are mutants.

There is nothing wrong with pelvic display, push-up bras, Gosford miniskirts, spray-on jeans, low-cut tops, bare legs, bare arms, bare ankles, G-strings or even buttock cleavage, providing the displayer is young enough to get away with it.

A woman's body is at its fertility peak between the ages of 17 and 23. So when young women advertise or flaunt their sexuality they are being driven by a force far stronger than the Judeo-Christian ethic.

They are driven by the power of peak fertility and a million years of evolutionary biology. Nature has programmed them for pregnancy, genetic diversity and keeping the species going. A big job.

Sexually active teenage girls, and sexually promiscuous women of any age, carry the greatest social burden of judgements, punishments, restrictions and risks because we haven't got the child-care equation right.

These women are just doing their job. They are real, while the rest of the equation is artificial.

Society is the collective weight of traditions, conventions, laws, habits, fears, tribes, taboos and technologies, permeated by a Judeo-Christian ethic dominated by men and designed to curb female sexual power.

Our norms are also dominated by the ideology of materialism that is moving women further and further towards unnatural behaviour, pressuring them to have babies later rather than sooner.

This is society's real problem. Teenage pregnancy is trivial by comparison to suppressed pregnancy.

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