Saturday, September 6, 2008

Anita Creamer: Palin sacrificed her daughter's right to privacy for own ambitions

Columnist Anita Creamer in the Sacramento Bee joins the female journalistic voices who are arguing that Sarah Palin has exploited her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, to satisfy her own career ambitions. Don't any daily newspapers have female conservative columnists who might argue the opposite viewpoint? Wow. Who knew so many liberal woman would be chastising a mother for seeking a career. Bizarre role juxtaposition there.

I agree that Bristol has been exploited. By the media. And by columnists like Anita Creamer who are coldly using the girl's pregnancy to make absurd political points against her mother.

Creamer argues that Palin shouldn't have run for VP because she has a pregnant daughter whom the media will cover. Well, it's logical to assume that Palin didn't predict that the media coverage would be so intense. After all, Bristol's pregnancy has no relevance to the race, and vice presidential children have never been subjected to this sort of media hysteria before.

Secondly, if you buy Creamer's argument, then should Palin also resign as governor because she has a pregnant daughter? Is Creamer really trying to argue that, unless Palin stays at home and gives up all career goals because she has a 17-year-old daughter who is pregnant, she is exploiting her children and is a bad mother?

The subtext beneath a lot of this argument seems to really be political in nature: The notion that, well, conservatives like Sarah Palin want to intrude in other people's personal lives (gay marriage, abortion), so their children and pregnancies are now fair game. Let's study that premise for a minute.

Gay marriage, support or oppose it, does involve the public sphere, not only the private one, because the debate revolves around state sanctioned marriage and taxpayer-funded benefits (Palin vetoed a bill that would have prevented gay couples from getting domestic partner benefits anyway).

As for abortion, conservatives believe it's not only a privacy question. They believe it's about protecting unborn life. Many liberals and conservatives have a philosophical difference on that point, but it still doesn't justify the argument that a female politician should relinquish her career because her daughter is pregnant or that she is somehow exploiting her daughter because the media are covering her daughter's pregnancy.

It's a non-sequitur. It's true that conservatives have also argued against premarital sex and in support of the nuclear family. I doubt many conservatives think it's a GOOD thing that Bristol Palin is pregnant, 17, and unmarried. But that doesn't mean they don't support her mother's decision to seek the vice presidency and have a career. I'd guess most conservatives don't see what one has to do with the other.

If these columnists really think they are paying back Sarah Palin by invading her privacy because they think she wants to invade theirs, then they are missing the point. They are invading the privacy of BRISTOL PALIN, not of Sarah.

I'd like to think that most mothers wouldn't leap at the chance to sacrifice their 17-year-old pregnant daughter's right to privacy on the altar of their own political ambitions. But that's exactly what Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has done.
Parents are supposed to protect their children rather than exploit them for their own purposes.

So to me, the deepest hypocrisy is that of a political movement that devotes itself to intruding on people's personal lives and most intimate decisions, yet whose members now act shocked that anyone would dare dispute the Palin family's moral judgment.

You reap what you sow.


Anonymous said...

Anita Creamer is a great porn name. Wonder if she's been in porn? I'm not kidding.

Jacob Dalton said...

Your argument hinges on the idea that Sarah Palin could not have predicted or had not been advised that the announcement of her daughter's pregnancy would bring on the media storm that it did.

The ironies of a candidate who is actively running as a "hockey mom" with conservative values -- who is "as pro-life as can be" with an unwed pregnant daughter would make the imminent media storm apparent to anyone with a modicum of foresight or judgment.

The recent example of Jamie Lynn Spears whose parents Bill O'Reilly chastised as "pinheads" and the fact people knew very little about Palin only made this more explosive. I guarantee that if the McCain campaign has any skill, and it does, that they told the Palins to brace for the tabloid storm of the century.

Sarah Palin is guilty of either abysmal judgment or naked ambition that knowingly sacrificed her daughter's privacy to tabloid hysteria. Either case undermines her readiness to be the leader of the free world.

Arguing how the media would behave in an ideal world is no less effective than arguing how Iran would function in an ideal world.