They have their darling projects: privatization, the further marginalization of homosexuals, abstinence-only sex-education programs, wars on drugs and terror, voter fraud.
They have enjoyed a lot of failure: Iraq, Katrina, the economy, the health of the nation, international relations, abstinence-only sex-education, the price of oil.
So, like so many humble congregants, they assemble this week in Minnesota with the sword of righteousness slung by their side and the power of God firmly planted in their souls.
They will nominate John McCain as president to represent their interests in the next election. They will nominate Sarah Palin as their vice-president.
Palin is an interesting choice, because she was completely unknown outside of Alaska, where she is Governor. We know that she is a staunch conservative, opposes abortion for any reason (including rape and incest), and is a proud mother and wife. She is, like all elected officials from George Washington onward, pretty sleazy and is involved in a lawsuit stemming from an incident where she fired a police chief who refused to fire a former in-law with whom she was displeased.
Who knows? Maybe the lawsuit is frivolous.
I am fascinated by Palin's full-throttle opposition to abortion. No abortion, ever, for any reason, even if the pregnancy will kill the mother. Period. And I am further fascinated by her support of abstinence-only sex-education programs.
I don't think I am expressing an opinion when I state that abstinence-only sex-education is a failure. The only sex-education that prevents pregnancy is sex-education that discusses contraceptives. Without contraception, teenagers get pregnant.
Even Sarah Palin's teenager.
When I was growing-up in the projects, a teenage girl about three or four years older than me was removed from school and sort of vanished from the neighborhood. I was eleven and she was probably 14 or 15. A few months later, her mother had a mixed-race baby, so the teenage girl had a little brother. It didn't take long for the ruse to be exposed. Nobody was trying to expose the ruse, but it just all came out that it was really the teenage girl's baby, not the mother's. It was kind of sad, but not earth-shattering. The teenager grew-up to have a few more kids with a number of different men; one of whom she may or may not have married. I never knew and it never really mattered to me.
Over the weekend, it was reported by Daily Kos that Governor Palin's daughter, Bristol, had become pregnant, that the Governor announced that she herself (the Governor) was pregnant, the child was allegedly born to the daughter, and the Governor claimed it as her own. The exact same story I witnessed in the projects forty years ago! I marginally followed the "scandal" with little interest because I think it's a sad story, not a scandalous story.
It's a story of human shame, confusion, fear and embarrassment. Not a nice story, not a funny story, not even a scandalous story.
Then the next story that came out was that the Governor's daughter is actually now pregnant.
Still, I read and thought about what I would write today. I want to attack Palin and her extremist positions on abortion and sex-education. And I guess that's what this will become.
This morning, I followed the link back to the original Daily Kos article at http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/8/30/121350/137/486/580223, and it is gone. So, there seems to be pull-back on the story that the daughter had a baby and the grandmother claimed it as her own. Perhaps the Governor was pregnant, even when she didn't appear pregnant, and perhaps she did give birth to little Trig, after all. Or maybe she didn't. Who knows? I was disappointed that the original article was gone.
I now find all kinds of articles and retractions and re-writes in the blogsphere, and I am grateful that I was not blogging yesterday when I would most definitely jumped on the mother-grandmother-baby bandwagon.
It's all so convoluted, just the way the conservatives like it. All the 'facts' are questionable, and the competing news stories of questionable maternity and current pregnancy make it easy for the mainstream media to manipulate the story to the benefit of the GOP. Which they will do.
So, Bristol Palin is a normal teenager. She is like every other teenager, she had sex. Teenagers have sex. She got pregnant as many teenage women do when they have unprotected sex. This is a family crisis. Every family faced with an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter is facing a crisis.
Teenagers having children is a problem in America, because our economy is so rigged against families and children. Some teenagers are lucky to come from families that can nurture and support them in this crisis. Most are not.
Most teenagers live in conservative America, getting their cultural information from television, and their political information from News Corporation, and their ideas of romance, love, and sex from trashy Hollywood movies (like "Juno") and soft-core music videos. Our schools have stopped teaching, our hospitals are not allowed to educate young women about contraception, and most families are comprised of two-working parents, neither of whom really has the time or energy to monitor, guide, nurture and teach their kids.
These are the reasons why contraceptives must be promoted and readily available to sexually-active women, even teenagers.
I have no sympathy for Sarah Palin, Bristol Palin, or any member of the Palin family, because they have chosen a lifestyle that is so wholly un-American, stupid, unproductive, and contrary to good sense, that no good can really come to them or those they encounter. They are backwards-thinking, anti-intellectual consumers with no grasp of reality.
The best any of those kids (Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig) can hope for is to get the hell out of that insane household and build a life rooted in the real world where medicine, information, and social responsibility trump God and country.
The conservative agenda that includes abstinence-only sex-education is a failure on every level. The conservative agenda of economics, social engineering, health, war, business development, international relations, religion, education, and civility is a failure top-to-bottom. Now stands before us a woman from the army of God who has been elected Governor of Alaska and wants to be Vice-President, who promotes abstinence-only sex-education, and she is explaining to us that she loves her pregnant daughter who had taken a vow, a pledge, to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. Yet, she is pregnant out-of-wedlock. Still, this Governor believes with all her heart that abstinence is the only acceptable form of birth control.
And what about the baby's father? We will never know who really fathered that child, and it really isn't any of our business. The name Levi Johnston will appear on the baby's birth certificate. This is the guy who will marry Bristol, and become a member of the First Family of Alaska. God bless him, and God help him.
These people are dangerous. These people are sociopaths. These people are not living in reality and when she is elected Vice-President she is going to work to impose her insane morality and radical agenda on our children, especially our daughters, sisters, lovers, and mothers. So, it is important that people considering a vote for McCain consider this.
What's a parent to do? The best we can do is arm our teenagers with facts about reproduction, sexually transmitted disease, love and intimacy, and hope they make good choices.
Sure, the whole thing is sad; but, these people have to be stopped, and if Sarah Palin stays in the race, I will not be so sympathetic and restrained in future articles.
Dick Mac Recommends:
Free Ride: John McCain and the Media
David Brock, Paul Waldman