Saturday, October 18, 2008

Palin Pregnancy a Problem

I am concerned about Levi Johnston and his pregnant girlfriend, Bristol.

And although Senator Obama has not attacked Governor Palin on this issue, because as he said the issue is personal and his own mother was 18 when she had him; I think she should be criticized.

And not with the hateful rhetoric that emerges from a google search Levi Johnson or Bristol Palin: red neck, knocked up. This is criticism based on the reality of their situation.

I don’t blame them (entirely) for the unwed pregnancy. On the other hand at most Governor Palin is to blame for her daughter’s situation and at the least she is a willing bystander to this disaster. How can we expect her to lead the country (as she is heartbeats away from the presidency) when the future of her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend is smashing into a melting polar iceberg?

You don’t have to be a governor of a huge state to understand statistics. And if Governor Palin doesn’t hold weight in her own family, how can she possibly influence world leaders or even the U.S. Senate?

What prompted this post was in a recent interview with the Associated Press, Levi Johnston said that will no be returning to high school to complete his degree: “Johnston has dropped out of high school to take a job on the North Slope oil fields as an apprentice electrician.”

According to U.S. census data from the last decade, a high school drop out can expect to make about $23,000 a year; a high school graduate: $30,000; a college graduate: about $52,000. The numbers are slightly dated, but the ratios have likely not changed. If anything, with the most recent economic crisis, worse times could be coming. Why would Governor Palin not insist that her daughter’s boyfriend finish high school? It’s almost laughable to hear her talk about school reform when underachievement is a marker of her own family.

Another decision, also misguided according to statistics, is their decision to get married. The AP reported: “While Johnston provided few details about next summer's wedding, the planning has started.”

I wonder if Governor Palin told her daughter and son-in-law-to-be that 70 percent of teen mothers are no longer in their first marriages by the age of 40, according to the National Campaign, an organization that discourages teen pregnancy.

Even if they defy the odds and stay married, according to The National Campaign, the Levy child is likely to suffer. The study shows that children of teenagers have lower cognitive abilities, lower academic achievement, are more likely to have behavior problems and be jailed.

And what if Bristol Palin (and Ms. Spears) serves as a role model to young girls who do not come from affluence? What if this abstinence only evolving to pregnant teens becomes the norm? It’s a possibility given there was a 3 percent increase in teen pregnancy in 2006.

According to the National Campaign the cost to the mother and to society is great. Teenager mothers cost U.S. taxpayers 9 billion dollars when you figure in welfare for child and mother, lost taxable income, and other elements.

I thought Republicans wanted smaller government and to discourage a welfare state?

Look, I hope Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston stay married for 75 years. I hope that their child grows up to be healthy and happy. However, the statistics don't lie. They are a symbol of the problem with Governor Palin and the Christian Conservatives that Senator McCain hoped she would bring to the table to unify the Republican Party. Teaching your children, teaching our children, abstinence only education leads to sociological and economic disaster for both the teenagers having children and their babies. If your religious or moral beliefs teach that sex before marriage is wrong, that’s fine, teach that it is wrong, but as my mother, who married at age 20 said to me (totally unnecessarily by the way) before I went to camp when I was 16, “I don’t want you to have sex. I think sex before marriage is wrong. But if you are going to have sex, use a condom.”

How can you argue with the legitimacy of that advice? And if you do, how can we trust you to be Vice President?


The report from the National Campaign

Rise in teen pregnancy rates

Education and salary data

Interview with Levi Johnston


Linor said...

so the moral of the story is that your mom would be a better VP than Palin.

Rachel Karp said...

Well said.I completely agree.

And yes, I agree that your mom would be a much better VP than Palin, but then again, so would a lot of people.

Alison said...

I think your criticism is so much more well-said than any I've seen/heard on NPR, CNN, or any of the other so-called news agencies. Way to hit the nail on the head!

B. Gilroy said...

dude, electricians do alright, don't knock electricians

sharna said...

I am not dissing electricians. I'm just saying that he should get his high school degree or GED. That's all.

Anonymous said...

I think I'd be a better VP than Palin. I actually drive local teenagers to the Planned Parenthood clinic when they're in need of contraceptives. I often tell these kids "don't have sex until after you're able to vote, but the best way to avoid having an abortion is to not get pregnant. And, always use a condom, because pregnancy isn't the only thing you could catch."

dirk said...

Wow, i lost count of the cheap shots in this one:
Palin doesn't hold weight in her own family? She didn't insist Levi finish high school? Palins's family as underachievers? The teens' misguided decision to marry? Abstinence teaching leads to disaster? I can't find anything here that isn't basically uniformed hate speech. If this is what passes for informed liberal blogging, then apparently there is no such thing.