I planned on writing a post today in defense of Sarah Palin.
Not defending her policy beliefs, many of which I strongly disagree with. But her decision to accept the vice-presidential nomination, even with having a special-needs infant.
I am curious about how her family is dealing with having a child with Trisomy 21, and whether they are pursuing different therapies. Witnessing this experience with someone close to me, she and her husband immediately threw themselves into getting every bit of information as possible, and altering their lives to give their son every possible advantage in dealing with this.
I will admit that my first instinct was "What kind of a parent is she ..." to take attention away from her son and put it on running for office.
But ... c'mon. This isn't a case of turning down a promotion to vice-president of Company and Co. This is vice-president of the United States, what truly might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
So ... I was prepared to defend her willingness to accept the nomination.
But this, now, with her 17 year old daughter pregnant ... well, for me, that's different.
Part of our instinct, with our children, is to protect them from pain. Some times, that makes us make poor decisions. The parents who encourage their children to "stay in the closet," for fear of the discrimination they'll face, as one example.
But to accept the vice-presidential nomination, knowing that your teenage daughter is pregnant, knowing that the story will come out, and she will be front-and-center, not in her home state of Alaska, but across the entire United States, and so, the world ...
A little after hearing about Palin's announcement about her daughter, we watched the documentary, For the Bible Tells Me So, that profiles families dealing with their children's homosexuality.
One of the families is that of Dick Gephardt. Before launching his 2004 presidential campaign, he talked to her adult, lesbian daughter, Chrissy. He knew that his campaign would cause her and her sexuality to be put in the spotlight. He knew she would be a lightning rod for criticism and hate. He told her that if she didn't want him to run, he wouldn't.
That is what a loving parent, who puts their children before their own ambition, does.
Career and family ... it's always something to weigh. It's often not easy. I struggle with it. At this point, I'm planning on going back to school in the evenings, next January, assuming LW's scans are clear. She will be without me for a few hours each week. I think that's an acceptable price for the return.
But to put your child, your 17 year old child, in a position where they will be in the headlines for a mistake they made (and yes, I think getting pregnant at 17 is a mistake) ... I think it's cruel.
Not the kind of thing a loving parent should do.