Sarah Palin _is_ a bad parent. Todd Palin is a bad parent too. Not because their teenage daughter became pregnant, but because they are continuing to ignore the problem. They may be wonderful people with many talents and have the best of intentions, but their parenting skills are not top-notch. Put aside the Republican Party’s political correctness and holier-than-thou preaching. Teenage pregnancies are a failure of the parent and they’re not good for the country or for society. That’s why the Republican Party has (rightly) for years chastised parents when it happens and (wrongly) talked about how we need a return of morality in the country. Now they want to ignore the problem because it happened to their VP candidate during an election year. That’s the definition of hypocrisy.
If my daughter gets pregnant as a teenager I hope people call me a bad parent because it’s the truth. My refusal to accept it doesn’t do me, my daughter, my son (or any other kids I may have in the future) any good. My fear of being a bad parent is what will make me work harder to be a better parent. That’s good for me and, more importantly, my kids.
Failure and mistakes are not things to be ignore. They are wonderful learning experiences _if_ they are recognized and dealt with. When I ran my own business, what I consider my first child, I made tons of mistakes. I was a terrible business-owner for many years and my business suffered for it. Some people were polite and pretended that the mistakes weren’t made and they thought they were helping me. But the people that helped me were the people who pointed out my mistakes. The people who criticized me, and many did it with great pleasure, helped me the most! The business was successful _because_ I wasn’t allowed to pretend I didn’t make mistakes. I focused on the mistakes, I figured out what I did wrong and I figured out how I can prevent that mistake from happening again. I wasn’t always successful, some mistakes were repeated, but because I embraced the mistakes and worked on fixing them, my business became more successful. Had I brushed the mistakes and failings under the carpet, as the Republican Party is trying to do with Sarah Palin’s mistakes, my business would have been a failure.
Running a business is difficult. But parenting is even more difficult. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that most people fail at it at one time or another. And sometimes they fail in big ways, like Sarah and Todd Palin have. They’re not evil people. They shouldn’t be banished from society and their kids shouldn’t be taken away from them. But they could improve as parents. People who succeed in life are those that recognize their mistakes and work to correct them so that they don’t repeat them. People who fail in life are people who make the same mistakes over and over. Thanks to Sarah Palin and the Republican Party, the country is not allowed to have a conversation about teenage pregnancy and how best to prevent it in the future. We’re asking for more teenage pregnancies if we let the Republican Party brush this under the rug.
Sarah Palin is an advocate of teaching abstinence before marriage and against teaching sex education. If she were a smart person she’d recognize that teaching abstinence doesn’t work. If she were a good parent, she’d admit that teaching abstinence doesn’t work. Sarah Palin told her daughter to abstain and hoped that’d work. She may like to pretend that her daughter and her boyfriend were practicing abstinence but, oops, didn’t abstain just once. My guess is that they were having sex for months and either Sarah and Todd Palin didn’t know about it or they ignored it. Either way, that’s bad parenting. Her refusal to admit this mistake is why she’s a bad parent.
The Republican Party wouldn’t demand that a pregnant teenager is a private issue or that it is “off limits” to the media if Chelsea Clinton or one of Obama’s kids got pregnant. Hillbillies like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly would be preaching from their ivory towers on the immorality of Democrats. John McCain would be running ads about how your kids will become pregnant if Obama is elected. When it happens to a Republican, not only is it okay (some even call it a “blessed event”) it’s touted as evidence that Sarah Palin is an even better mother and even more Presidential. And the American people eat it up. If only the American people understood that the election is about what’s best for the country, not what’s best for the careers of John McCain and Sarah Palin.
Update: The National Enquirer is reporting more stories about the Palins as parents. If those turn out to be true, it’s a sad day for American journalism that the Enquirer is the only paper that reports the truth. The Republican Party wants America to embrace Palin’s “biography”, but not necessarily the true biography, the one that is manufactured on The Straight Talk Express.