Monday, September 1, 2008

Kick the Government and the Media Out of Your Bedroom

By now you have heard about John McCain’s V.P. choice, Governor Sarah Palin, and her 17 year old daughter’s pregnancy. The first news I heard was that Governor Palin’s youngest son, Trig, is actually her daughter Bristol’s child.

The rumor went on to say that Governor Sarah covered her daughter’s pregnancy and pretended that daughter Bristol’s baby was actually the governor’s. Now the blogosphere, cable, and network news are a-wash in Hurricane Gustav and “whose pregnant” stories.

I am greatly relieved that the story about Governor Palin and her son, Trig, is not true, at least I hope that it is not. I am glad that this story is not true because had it been there is no doubt that the media would have focused our attention away from issues of substance to intricately investigate every fleck and speck of what is now being called “baby-gate.”

We will still be feted with unsolicited information about 17 year old Bristol and her soon to be husband Levi: who he is, where she got pregnant, how many times they had sex, did they use a condom?, etc, etc.,

My problem with this kind of information as it regards a presidential campaign is two-fold. First, I am sick and tired of bedroom issues defining who is and who is not qualified to lead or be a part of government.

What happens or doesn’t happen in a person’s bedroom life should not be the factor to determine his/her eligibility for public office. I would like to see politicians move away from building their careers on decisions about what goes on people’s bedrooms, either other people’s or their own.

Does anyone remember Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, and the fifty million dollars that Kenneth Star spent investigating the affair? President Clinton lied when asked about the affair and was then the subject of impeachment proceedings.

The most important matter that led up to the impeachment was whether or not the president lied about the affair. But for me that is not the most important matter. The most important matter is that the president should not have been asked if he was having an affair in the first place. Government has no business in the bedrooms of free people.

My only problem with the supposed arrangement concerning Governor Palin’s son, Trig, (when it was supposed that the baby was actually her daughter Bristol’s child), is the element of lying, deception, and hypocrisy. While I believe she should have the same privacy I would accord Bill Clinton, I think it would be wrong to pass off a baby as yours to conceal that your daughter has had a child.

This would be a deception not for privacy, but to buttress a certain image, and thereby to gain political advantage. But absent these factors, I see no problem with her adopting and raising her grandson, if he is her grandson.

My second problem with this story is why the media had to make Bristol’s pregnancy “news.” If the only news is that Governor Palin’s 17 year old daughter is pregnant, I do not see this as news at all, “except…!” It’s not news except that Governor Palin’s positions on sex education, use of condoms and other birth control measures, makes it news.

She opposes every measure that would give women and girls, especially poor woman and girls, a fighting chance at succeeding in life, without the struggle to raise unwanted children. If Governor Palin had supported measures that would have allowed her daughter and her boyfriend (and others) to get the proper information, Bristol might not be pregnant today. "An ounce of prevention is worth..." At least its worth not being pregnant and not having to consider abortion.

In my opinion Governor Palin is the quintessential “bedroom issue politician.” The crux of this kind of politics is this: “Don’t think about the senseless war, or the failing mortgage situation, inadequate healthcare, and the crumbling infrastructure.

Don’t put your mind on the ten billion dollars per month that we are wasting in Iraq, while Americans are loosing their standard of living and being put out of their homes; don’t think about failing schools and the fact that America has one of the highest dropout rates in the Western world---just keep your mind on this one important truth: “If you elect me, I will stop all this illicit sex!!!” That’s a key plank in the Republican platform.

I don’t care who had whose baby or who is having a baby for whom. When it comes to government I want to know, “How are we going to stop this senseless war that is draining our young people of life, limb, and sanity, our families of sons and daughters, and our pockets of much needed treasure?”

I want to know, “How are we going to stop the endless flow of jobs out of America, and when are we going to begin creating good jobs in America that will pay a living wage?” Forget who had a baby or who is going to have one.

I want to know when is government going to make the oil companies do what is right and responsible: stop price gouging the public with gas prices so steep that the average American can hardly afford to drive a car if they own one?

When is every American going to have adequate healthcare? When will sick people no longer have to choose between buying medicine or buying food?

When is government going to scrap the policy that if your elderly parents are sick and need nursing home care, they have to be broke and penniless before the government will help?

When will the American government use its considerable resources to train people who want to work and then put them to work rebuilding the crumbling infrastructure of our nation?

When will I be able to fly from Chicago to St. Louis without having to go to the airport two days before my flight leaves and then have to take off my clothes in public in order to board the flight?

Why does my government supply millions of dollars for students from foreign countries to go to college here but I have to mortgage my rear and my future to get a bachelor’s degree?

Not long ago in Minnesota a bridge spanning the Mississippi River collapsed. Many people died and many were injured. Here we are in the midst of a campaign to elect the person who will set the agenda for our nation and the priorities for our spending, and what’s in the news? Sarah Palin’s baby or Sarah Palin’s baby is having a baby! Give me a break!

Get out of people’s bedrooms and do the work the media was created to do: expose government so that it will do what it is supposed to do.

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