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GUEST COLUMN

Palin represents a frightening belief system

Being anti-abortion and against sex education, vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin has no choice but to act happy at her 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy. Realistically though, only a truly misguided person could actually be joyous at the news that her teenage daughter has made the choices that led her to this point.

Of course Sarah Palin welcomes the baby and will do her part to help her daughter as any parent would. It's truly frightening however if she thinks her daughter has made a good decision and that having a baby at 17 represents family values.

Had I fathered a child at 17, my parents would have loved the child but been very disappointed in my actions. They would have wanted me to take care of my responsibilities to the child, but would not have pushed me into marrying the mother and they likely would have advised against it.

Bristol Palin's parents lack even that much common sense. They seem happy not only about the baby, but about Bristol Palin's decision to marry the father. Of course, being a good Republican requires getting married if you're pregnant even if the success record for teenage shotgun weddings is around the same as the one for big budget dramas starring Carrot Top.

If Chelsea Clinton had gotten pregnant at 17, the Republican party would have attacked Bill and Hillary, labeling them horrible parents. When Bristol Palin gets knocked up at 17, the GOP somehow makes Sarah Palin a hero.

This occurs because the Republican party, or at least the most vocal part of it, clearly considers the babies of unwed, teenage Democrats as a drain on society while the infants of unwed, teenage Republicans are a gift from God. You can apparently never have too many down home backwoods white babies because they'll grow up to vote Republican.

For some reason the entire Republican party-or at least the officials who back the McCain/Palin ticket-seem overjoyed at this 17-year-old's illegitimate child. Not one GOP member has pointed out that raising a child is difficult at any age and even more difficult as a teenager.

Apparently, when the daughter of a Republican politician gets pregnant she's not making a foolish choice, she's making a statement about abortion. Realistically, it's not exactly shocking that Bristol Palin got pregnant when she grew up in a house that taught abstinence and never got around to mentioning how things worked if you didn't wait for marriage.

No sane parent wants her 17-year-old daughter to get pregnant. In fact, most parents of daughters fear exactly that happening and make every effort to keep their child from becoming with child.

Every child makes mistakes and those mistakes do not always represent a failure of the parent. Sarah Palin is neither a bad person, nor a bad parent because her daughter got pregnant. Her total unwillingness to say that while she supports her daughter, she does recognize that getting pregnant and married at 17 might not be the best choice in most cases should at least make us question her judgment.

Daniel Kline's work appears in over 100 papers weekly. He can be reached at dan@notastep.com.

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