Okay, first off, let me say that I never agreed with the public evisceration of Britney and Jamie Lynn's mom for the misdeeds of her daughters. Granted, I didn't feel she should be running web forums on parenting, but far as I know, she wasn't. But the conservative media sure had a field day, blaming her with impunity for the out-of-control status of BOTH her children, as evidenced by the obviously unplanned, and factually unwed, pregnancy of the sixteen-year-old star of Nickeldeon's "Zoey 101." A book Lynne had planned with a Christian publisher was delayed (it will finally release later this month) and she feuded publicly with Dr. Phil, who despite calling her a "great parent," violated Brittany's patient-doctor confidentiality with nary a pause. And Jamie Lynn herself was called any number of those so-charming epithets reserved for unwed teenage moms. So I wonder whether we will hear from those same voices now that Sarah Palin's seventeen-year-old daughter is sporting a baby bump?
I kinda think we won't. Bristol Palin, despite the attention, will doubtless get a free pass (at least in regards to right-wing publicity....her personal life being another matter altogether). I can already hear pro-lifers praising her for her "courageous" decision in keeping the baby. And Sarah Palin will be portrayed as an emotionally wounded hero, bearing those internet rumors about Trig and the real truth of her daughter's "tragic" pregnancy with grace and poise. And I say.....please. Let's get real. The fact is, if Sarah Palin was a Democrat, the religious right would not be focusing on the pro-life issue, but rather on the premarital sex issue. And Sarah Palin advocates abstinence-only sex education--despite making a seemingly gratuitous nod to contraception, she is about as religiously rigid as they come on the whole subject of premarital sex and teen pregnancy.
So here we are. Her daughter is a living example of how well such abstinence-only programs and parental attitudes work, even when you are raising a daughter in the sleepy hamlet of Wasilla, Alaska. But perhaps, as Lynne Spears said in the famous statement she was so condemned for, Bristol, like Jamie Lynn, "always made curfew." So how is a mother to know, right? Maybe she can't. Maybe the best Sarah Palin, or any other mother, can do, is arm her children with the knowledge of how to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And if she had, maybe things would have gone a little differently. Maybe then Sarah's daughter's life would have been a little less Jamie-Lynn Spears, and little more Chelsea Clinton.