Elkhorn Creek Lodge

Bristol, Character and When Things Really Go Wrong

Posted in abortion, politics by Eugene Podrazik on September 2, 2008

It’s one thing when you talk about character in a college dorm bull session.  Or, debate ethics in a college ethics seminar.  But, what really matters is not when the sun is shining. The true test of institutions, intentions and ethics matter when things start to go wrong; really wrong.  It is in these conditions we begin to see how truly committed we are to the principles we articulate.   

What we have with Sarah Palin and John McCain are two very fallible human beings for whom life hasn’t worked out perfectly.  Palin’s selection for the vice president slot wasn’t a matter of low expectations or poor vetting.  It’s rather a situation of two good people who had to deal with very bad situations.  It is how these two acquitted themselves that speaks to their character and ability to deal with a crisis under pressure.  I think that both have done well in that regard.

In McCain’s case, we have his honorable performance while he was a POW in North Vietnam.  Specfically, he could have been release far earlier then he was.  But, he refused.  POW’s would be release in the order in which they came. First in, first out.  Oh, in this day and age he could have gotten and taken the early out. And rationalized it with most people not giving it another thought.  But, McCain didn’t.  He stuck to his guns and principles and endured five years of captivity.  

Sarah Palin’s case involves two babies.  First, her fifth child’s Down’s syndrome.  Then, her 17 year-old daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy.  In both cases, abortion could have been an “easy” out.  And, again large swaths of the electorate would have not noticed.  In fact, the abortions would have easily buried for one, if not both, babies as news media fodder until November.  No one asked for either of these situations. And, these things occur, despite the best of efforts and intentions.  Family life, like a lot of public policy (especially foreign relations) is a matter of choosing between a bad choice and a worse one.  

But, Palin stuck to her pro-life guns and the consequences that keeping both babies will entail.  Obviously, the decision to keep the Down’s baby was Palin’s.  And, keeping Bristol’s baby was, in part, Sarah Palin’s too. A frightened 17 year-old is going to turn to her parents.  And, Bristol’s decision is going to reflect the her parent’s influence.  Sarah Palin was in a position to convince (or pressure) Bristol into just about any decision that would have suited Sarah Palin.  Bristol’s decision was Sarah’s in very large part; in part because I’m sure Bristol knows that she and her baby will be supported. 

Courage and convictions have a way of wilting under the pressure of real life crisises.    We have a true measure of this man and women when view through the lens of these very real life situations when normal and perfect break down.  And, we have a measure of the resiliency of their beliefs and convictions when the rubber meets the road.


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3 Responses

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  1. Meta said, on October 8, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    I believe in the moderate, reasonable positions that most Americans take when faced with ‘hot-button’ social issues, ie civil unions, abortion, gun rights, that keep political consultants very busy come election time (to whit, Karl Rove’s gay-marriage-fear-mongering strategy against John Kerry in the battleground state of Ohio, 2004; an issue that was subsequently dropped once Bush resumed office). I also believe that most Americans would admire a household in which a child errs (pregnant out of wedlock), but has the love and support of two parents who will assist her in raising a child. What is deplorable, however, is forcing two teens to marry for political expediency. I think we’ll find once the election dust settles, that there’s one wedding in Alaska that won’t be taking place. As long as this teen has a loving family, perhaps that’s for the best. After all, who should determine her fate? Her parents? Or the man at the top of Mom’s ticket?

  2. mountainmusings said, on October 8, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    The point of the post was to comment was Bristol’s choice not to abort the baby. Whether she marries the father is an entirely separate point. Married or not, I’m sure Bristol was going to receive her family’s support for her baby.

    And, whether it was politically expedient or otherwise, the locals up in Wasilla knew about the pregnancy. You don’t have the anonymity that comes with living in a large urban area. So, to abort or not to abort would also have been on the street, HIPPA privacy regulations or not. As Miranda Lambert says: everyone dies famous in a small town.

    If there was expediency involved, it is possible to have gotten Bristol out of town and then abort. There’s a chance you could have swept that under the rug until November 4th.

    Be that as it may, the point was that Bristol is keeping the baby. And, Sarah Palin and her husband very likely had a very significant role in helping with that decision. An abortion would have been the expedient thing to do, whether or not running for political office. Sweep the embarrassment under the rug; no muss no fuss. But, Sarah stuck to her pro-life guns.

    Finally, on the subject of expedients. Someone in the MSM found it quite expedient to trash a frightened 17-year old for the purpose of trashing her mother as a political candidate. Some how, it was equally expedient to bury, for over a year, Edward’s “love child.”

  3. Meta said, on October 9, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    I think there are those in the media who live by the cliched credo ‘if it bleeds, it leads’. And if it involves sex, it dominates the news cycle. Who’s to blame? The media moguls’ slavery to the bottom line, or the public’s endless appetite for scandal and celebrity? Probably some of both, but that’s for another discussion.

    BTW, it was the MSM who pursued and caught the deplorable Edwards (after his many lying denials) with his love child. No doubt FOX news would’ve love to take credit for the scoop.

    I believe there is one clear lesson to the media concerning ‘scandals’ that color politician’s lives:

    Family should be off limits. Palin chose the public career, not her teen daughter. Leave her daughter (and all minors in the household) alone. Larry Craig and John Edwards sought gratification outside their marriages. Leave their wives alone.

    Unfortunately, in our scandal-hungry society, I believe this lesson will never take.

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