As many of you are no doubt aware, Sarah Palin announced today that her daughter Bristol is pregnant. Palin said that she chose to inform the public to defuse rumors spread by the liberal blogosphere that Bristol had actually given birth to Palin's youngest son Trig. Bristol is going to have her baby and will marry the father. Unfortunately, despite the intimately personal nature of this topic, there are those who will use this as some sort of evidence that Palin herself is unqualified for the office of the vice presidency. I think that these people are missing the point of what is happening.
You could question Bristol Palin's judgment for putting herself in this situation. But faced with the decision of having the baby or aborting it, she is taking responsibility for her actions and keeping the child to raise with the father.
Sarah Palin and her husband said in their statement that, "Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support." The Palin family is united in helping to bring a new life into this world, and they are handling this unexpected development as best as one could expect.
By contrast, Barack Obama once defended abortion by saying, "If [my daughters] make a mistake, I don't want them to be punished with a baby." Faced with Obama's hypothetical, the Palin family is not treating the child as a punishment; they're treating it as a blessing. The contrast is stunning.
This situation has become more and more common in the twenty-first century, and I admire the Palins for handling the situation with class and dignity. I don't know how voters will react to this news, but I expect days of snarky coverage from the Olbermann crowd.
I think that Sarah Palin is too good for this to hurt her, and in a just world, it wouldn't. I hope I'm right. If this is the bombshell that the liberals wanted to bring the Governor down, I think she'll be okay.
Update: The proper perspective.
Update: The more I think about it, the more I think that the crux of this issue will be how much people project responsibility for her daughter's pregnancy on Palin herself. Personally, I think that the pregnancy is Bristol's responsibility, and she seems to agree - if she didn't, she wouldn't be keeping the child. I think that it's great that the Palin family has decided to support her through this, and that the decision to embrace their daughter and her new child reflects their character positively. And I think that despite the media blitz, most sensible Americans will agree with me before the week is out.
Update: Much of the response to the issue has been surprisingly muted. I wonder if it's not because of the sexist missteps that have already been made by Palin opponents. Since her unveiling as McCain's VP, Palin has been subjected to questioning by a number of media talking heads about whether or not it is appropriate for a woman with a newborn child to take on the position. The response: would such a question be asked if the candidate were a man? It amazes me that after spending years trying to convince Americans that Hillary Clinton's gender was irrelevant, the Left has suddenly decided that Sarah Palin's double-X chromosome is a serious liability.
I'm looking forward to hearing Palin speak on Wednesday. Along with the VP debate, it's the best opportunity she has to assert herself and put the questions about her to rest.
Update: Final thought on this topic for today - what is the gap between the media class and the American people? I'm a firm believer in the inaccuracy of polls; after all, if polls were reliable, we'd be talking about President Kerry and/or President Gore. There may or may not be some reaction in the numbers, but the extent to which this affects actual voters' view on the subject depends on the gap they desire between their leaders and themselves. One of Sarah Palin's greatest strengths is her reputation as a citizen-governor, someone who is a person first and politician second. The challenges she finds herself facing now could be humanizing, and there could be a backlash against the Obama-supporting elites if they continue to push hard on Palin, partly because of the average American person's reluctance to turn violently on one of his or her own, and partly because there is no way for anyone to justify the sickening attacks being made by liberals not only on Sarah Palin, but on her seventeen year-old daughter. The American people will abide many things, but they will not abide a bully.
The timing of the revelation is unfortunate, as the country is just getting to know Sarah Palin, and despite her ample strengths, all we're hearing about are the private challenges that many people face. By all accounts, the Palins are a tight-knit family, and they are facing this issue together. I think that too often we labor under the misconception that the government and the people are two separate entities, forgetting that the government is nothing more than a collection of people, with the same faults and challenges as everyone else. In an age where we seem to expect our politicians to be perfect, it's a shame that the media and the Leftists should try to destroy the first serious outsider in some time and the first serious woman we've ever seen on a major ticket simply because she and her family are human beings.