The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Palin controversy isn’t over

In an e-mail written at 1:55 a.m. last Wednesday, Joseph Goddard wrote, “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you, of all people, would take an unnecessary potshot at Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter.”

My guess is Goddard was up reading his own column, which appeared the same day as mine. I can understand Goddard’s eagerness to read his column. I remember doing the same when I was his age. Ironically, it’s critics like Goddard who accuse me of writing just to read my own words in print.

The truth is I rarely read my columns after they’re published. I know what I said, and I know that what I say can stand up to scrutiny.

I could say a lot about Goddard’s criticism, but I’ll just say this: it’s predictable. To say that taking potshots at me has become the favorite pastime of young conservative males on this campus would be an understatement. And that’s okay. Unlike Palin, whom the McCain campaign is hiding from the media, I can take the heat.

To Goddard and those who may agree with him, let me say this: what I wrote about Bristol Palin’s unwed pregnancy was not a potshot; it is a fact. More importantly, it’s a germane fact.

On the one hand, the McCain campaign is holding Sarah Palin up as the epitome of family values; on the other, as a mother with whom millions of Americans can identify.

They are wrong on both counts.

Most Americans don’t share Palin’s extremist views on abortion, the end times, creationism, global warming, homosexuality and the Iraq War.

Most Americans, even those who oppose abortion, support exceptions in the case of rape or incest. Palin does not.

Most Americans don’t believe the Iraq War is part of God’s plan. Most Americans don’t believe that terrorist attacks against Israel are God’s punishment of Jews for rejecting Christ.

Most Americans aren’t members of an end-times apocalyptic movement that believes that there will be an outpouring of supernatural powers on a select group of Christians that will take authority over the world.

Most Americans don’t think that homosexuality can be prayed away.

Most Americans have accepted that global warming is manmade and that polar bears are at risk of extinction.

On view after view, Sarah Palin proves that she is not just a social conservative; she’s an extremist.

And while more than a handful of American families have had to deal with unwanted pregnancies, they don’t hold themselves up as a model worthy of imitation.

Palin extols the virtue of abstinence and sermonizes against the vice of contraception. Yet while she was busy pursuing her political ambition, her daughter was busy having unprotected sex.

Many would have us believe that the Palins are the poster family of the 21st-century. If anything, Bristol Palin is the poster child for the failure of her mother’s anachronistic policies.

Then there’s Trig, the newborn with Down syndrome, God bless him. But giving birth to a special needs baby is the easy part. The hard part is committing every moment of your life to caring for him. Palin has chosen another path.

On Wednesday night, Palin told mothers of special needs children that she would be their advocate, but as governor she cut special education by 62 percent.

As governor, the “pro-life” super-mom slashed funding for teen mothers. In Palin’s world, teens are expected to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, no matter how dire the consequences. But they dare not look to Palin for help taking care of their babies. And heaven forbid a gay couple want to adopt. In Palin’s world, a child is better off in an orphanage than in a loving home.

During the Republican Convention, I saw a scared teenage girl and a high-school hockey player, who boasted on Facebook that he didn’t want kids. Ripped out of Wasilla, Alaska, they were thrust onto the world stage and told to smile for the cameras.

Reporters were told that Bristol Palin’s pregnancy was a private family matter; yet Palin cynically positioned the soon-to-be mother and father front and center in a desperate act of political theater.

No one knows if Levy Johnston intended to marry Bristol Palin, but now that the shotgun has been loaded, there’s no backing out. If Bristol Palin isn’t enjoying the spotlight and the scrutiny, she can thank her mother, who signed away any hope of privacy when she put her political aspirations ahead of her family.

Palin’s nomination isn’t a question about a woman’s ability to juggle a career and a family. It’s not about a hockey mom who works down the street during the day and comes home at night to kiss her kids goodnight. It’s about being a heartbeat away from the presidency — and not being distracted by a family in crisis.

Sometimes events change the hand people have been dealt. Instead of playing her new hand, Palin is pretending that she still holds all the aces.

Some people call her candidacy historic. Geraldine Ferraro’s candidacy in 1984 was historic. Some compare it to Hillary Clinton’s near victory in the Democratic primary. Such a comparison is an insult to both Clinton and the progressive ideals she championed.

Palin’s candidacy is a gimmick designed to energize the base and distract voters who will spend less time vetting Palin than McCain did.

The McCain campaign says that Democrats are scared. I am, because I know that Americans have a long and lamentable history of being duped by the Republican Party.

Don’t be duped. Investigate her record, and you’ll see just how far outside the mainstream she is, and why her selection wasn’t the act of a political maverick rather the cynical act of a politician desperate to win.

George Henson is lecturer of foreign languages and literatures. He can be reached for comment [email protected].

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