Friday, March 13, 2009

Hope I can return the wedding gift

Breaking up You've probably all heard by now that Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston have not just called off their wedding, they've broken up, just two and a half months after she had their baby.

Some of you might be expecting jokes, or think that I might even...I don't know...gloat about it. No gloating here. I find the whole thing just plain sad.

They didn't take the step of committing to a marriage they weren't ready for, but then, of course, there's still the small matter of having a child to raise. Apparently Bristol is taking courses mostly from home to get her high school diploma, but as far as I know, Levi is still a dropout, and working in the oil fields. The whole thing just makes me kind of ill. As much as I dislike Bristol's mother, I don't feel even a little bit of schadenfreude.

They paraded these kids--and yes, they are kids--out during the convention as an example of family values...saying that yes, they made a mistake but they were committed to making a good life for their baby. In her interview with Greta van Susteren, Bristol said, "Eventually, we'd like to get married. We're focusing on, like, getting through school and just getting an education and stuff, getting a career going." In October, Levi told AP, "We both love each other. We both want to marry each other. And that's what we are going to do."

Fast forward a few months, and what have we got? A young girl trying to get her high school diploma while she takes care of a baby, and the dad a high school dropout, working to pay child support. (I'm assuming that he's paying child support.) Bristol is actually a lot luckier than most young girls who have babies--she's got a family support system that is probably pretty good. Many don't have that.

And yes, I believe this is partly a result of that stupid "abstinence-only" teaching. You know, the stuff that doesn't freakin' work. I'll reiterate: I am not anti-abstinence. Encourage it in kids--after all, it's the safest sex you can have--and encourage them to wait. But be realistic, too, and understand that knowledge is power. If they know all the consequences of unsafe sex, whether it's pregnancy or STD's, perhaps they'll think twice about whether to say yes or no, and if the answer is yes, maybe--just maybe--they'll understand that they need to be safe.


  1. "schadenfreude" --You are always giving me a word for the day. Although I'll never remember how to spell it, at least now I know what it means. Thanks.

  2. Certainly sad. No winners in this situation.

  3. Remember also in that interview that she said that abstinence programs "are not realistic." Wonder what Governor Grandma thinks about that?

    I predict that you won't hear much about this for another two to three years, and then right before Sarah announces her presidential run for 2012 we will suddenly see how well adjusted everyone is. Alas poor Levi; he won't be part of any convention freak show next time around.

    The implosion of the GOP continues. Lots of erosion going on in that moral high ground these days huh?

  4. When Paul and I first heard about it, I said half jokingly well there is a fine example of America (Palin's view). Then Paul looked at me rather somberly and said actually it is...

    Too many kids are having babies. They need to stop trying to grow up so fast and learn to appreciate life a little more. (Hugs)Indigo

  5. A very thoughtful post, and I agree, it's all very sad for both Levi and Bristol. Just this week, a bill was introduced in our state legislature that would have schools affer the current abstinence only based sex ed course and a comprehensive sex ed course with an abstinence only focus. Parents would choose which program in which to enroll their children. Unfortunately, the usual conservative blowhards are opposed to the bill and determined to stop it. All they want taught is to just say no to sex. That's worked real well so far.

  6. It's such a shame that Bristol and Levi's "marriage plans" were created by the McCain/Palin campaign solely for polical purposes. Were Sarah Palin's political ambitions so great that she was willing to force her daughter into a sham marriage??? That's insane.

  7. I am glad they didn't get married because it would have probably messed everyone involved up even more. I'm shocked though when I speak with older women who have had "accidents" also. I am 43, childless, abortionless, and "accidentless." I'm not saying it is the norm, but I have spoken with college-educated, smart as a whip women who say HE DIDN'T WEAR A CONDOM.

    Uhm, if HE doesn't wear a condom, he isn't going to have sex with me. PERIOD. Seems sort of easy to me. ~Mary

  8. Oh, I haven't heard about this. That's one of things I like about your keep me informed on what's going on. Thanks for that!

  9. It is very sad, isn't it? I was taught abstinence, and it did work for me. I was 21 and a virgin when Thomas and I married, and we're going on 22 years now. But it worked for me because it was what I really wanted. I was very conscientious about it, knew that it was something that was important to ME, and that my beliefs were (and are) that it would honor my God as well. So I didn't do it for my parents or out of fear. But I was also educated. I knew what the possible consequences were of unprotected sex and of pre-marital sex, and I knew I didn't want to have to face any of those. We have raised our children the same way, and hope that the decisions they make will be what they know is right for them. They know the physical, emotional, life-changing consequences of sex before marriage, and of unprotected sex, especially with multiple partners. They know while they are under 18, we expect them to honor our wishes, but that after 18, the decision is their own -- but they are prepared for that decision. Should one of them make the decision to have sex and should it result in a pregnancy, then we'll still love them and be there for them. But I hope that there are no children until they are settled and established and mature enough to handle the awesome responsibility of raising a child in this old world, married or not. I didn't expect you to gloat about this, and I'm glad you didn't disappoint me.

  10. The whole story is pathetic and sad. It wouldn't even be news if Sarah hadn't been picked as a cadidate. None of those people were ever prepared to be public figures, facing up to scrutiny and answering journalists questions. There is nothing surprising to me about this latest event. There was too much posturing, excusing and justifying from the start. Now they should be left alone to work out their problems like any other family and not set up or set themselves up as targets for the snipers.


  11. Very well written. When my three were teens, I encouraged abstinence however, I told them if they do have sex to see a doctor with or without me and to be PROTECTED against pregnancy and STD's. The youngest is 22 so far no STD's or unplanned babies. They made it, whew.


  12. Hi Beth,
    What a tragedy all around. How can you help but look at something like this without questioning how she was raised. Soccer Mom? Momma Grizzly?!? I'll bet "absentee mom" is more like it ...

  13. Very sad situation indeed! The kids (babies) are the ones who get the short end all. the. time. Can you say octo-mom...but thats another story!

  14. You know how Americans make jokes even
    about sad situations? Well, I heard
    this one......It seems that Palin in
    an effort to unify former adversaries
    is inviting Pres. Obama and VP Biden
    to a moose hunt in Alaska. Dick Cheney
    will lead the hunt, Kennedy will drive
    everyone back and forth and B.Clinton
    will entertain the wives and daughters
    while the others hunt.
    Guess lots of us make mistakes, right?

  15. This is not an unusual story Beth. The only thing unusual about it is that the press will make a big deal out of it and harass this family even further. I'm glad you handled it the way you did here. Thanks for that.
    Hugs, Joyce

  16. I agree with everything you said Beth. They drug that babys dad to be on the campaign trail and if you noticed, you could tell he did not want to be there. Palin still needs to go to the end of the bridge to nowhere and not come back. Lucy

  17. Very sad that THAT's how it usually works when a teen (or very young adult) gets pregnant. But Bristol's got great family support, and I'm sure that Levi will be paying child support.... and one day, he'll regret the fact that he and Bristol didn't get married, he'll totally be left out of the limelight in 2013, when Sarah Palin is President of the United States!! = )

  18. It is a sad situation, one that is made sadder by the attention it grabs. One has to wonder if the whole marriage deal was cooked up and pushed upon these kids because of the political limelight.
    I've been in that young girls circumstance. It isn't easy, I can't imagine doing it with the whole world watching, but hopefully she and her baby will make it just fine.

  19. Beth:

    I know first hand that condoms don't work 100% and most things don't! Abstinace does, but most people can't survive with a life like that. I feel kids should give a good effort , but human nature takes over. I feel for her and any young person who finds thenselves in a similar situation.

    I'm just glad I didn't do my LWIIS report regarding the boy fleeing in a Ford Bronco heading for the border. :)Saying something like I'm free from the EVIL SNOW QUEEN of a mother in law.

    I wish you a great day tomorrow.



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