Did you catch the Greta Van Susteren interview with Bristol Palin?
Oh, don’t look at me like that, I live in Alaska. I was curious.
I’ve got no intention of judging this girl, one way or the other. There’s been more than enough of that over the last couple of months. Hard enough for her being an unwed teenaged mother, but to get thrust unwilling into the national spotlight and to become fodder for the nattering Nancy Graces of the world, well that must be pretty damned lousy indeed and I’m not going to contribute to it.
I did find her interview, what there was of it, interesting though.
She hit me as an overwhelmed teenager caught up in events beyond her control – which basically sums up being a teenager in the first place – and someone who is very much determined to become her own person without alienating or offending her own family and powerful mother – which again, pretty much sums up being a teenager.
Of course, the only reason Bristol Palin is still in the news is that she is the only 17-year old to ever do something dumb. Sure as hell I never did anything stupid or ill considered as a teenager. Nope.
Oh, well, Ok. It’s actually because her mother is Sarah Palin, neocon Governor of Alaska, former neocon VP candidate, and advocate of abstinence only birth control – and in the minds of many the fact that Bristol got pregnant is just such sweet sweet irony.
Meh, whatever. Irony, it happens – though I do admit to a certain degree of amusement myself.
When asked about birth control, Bristol replied that she thought abstinence was the best option, but she didn’t think it was realistic.
You know, I can dig it.
Certainly abstinence is the best course of action, for a lot of reasons – just as honesty in our politicians is the best course of action. However, neither one is either likely or realistic, and you are a fool if you’re depending on either teenaged self-control or the veracity of politicians.
Making bad choices, failing to anticipate the consequences of your actions, being driven by your hormones and caught up in the moment – these are all part of being a teenager. Being a teenager is about dreaming big dreams, about seeing colors and hearing sounds and entertaining options and passions that adults no longer feel. Being a teenager is about pushing boundaries. The problem is sometimes when you push at boundaries they break, and way too late you discover why those limits were put there in the first place. Most of us live through it and become a little smarter. We learn where the edges are. We learn that we’re not immortal. We learn the difference between wishful thinking and reality. Eventually, we learn wisdom.
Most of us.
Sadly, of course, some don’t live through it. And even more sadly, some live - and yet fail to learn.
Bristol Palin herself appears to have gained a modicum of wisdom – teenaged abstinence-only birth control may be desirable, but it’s just not realistic.
Unfortunately for Bristol, her mother is a leader in a group of people who haven’t learned. A group of people who should be wise but sadly are not, who still can’t tell the difference between wishful thinking and cold hard reality – even when their own children are victims of that foolishness. Sarah Palin still believes that abstinence only birth control is both desirable and a realistic option despite some rather obvious evidence to the contrary within her own family, despite national statistics, despite provable and repeatable data, and despite the overwhelming number of unwed teenaged pregnancies here in Alaska. This is a pattern with Neocons – they believe tax breaks,especially for the rich, are some sort of universal panacea, despite obvious and plentiful evidence to the contrary. They believe the Earth is 6000 years old, or maybe 10,000, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They believe that war is the answer, always. They believe sexual orientation is a “choice.” They believe monitoring Americans somehow helps us prevent terrorism from abroad – or even from within. They believe in the power of prayer. They believe in the Bush Doctrine.
They believe in a lot of things.
But they’ve learned very little.
Perhaps their children will do better.