Regarding the status of Ms. Bristol Palin:
Let me first say that I have no axe to grind about her reported pregnancy, or her marital status now or in the future. Likewise, I don’t think it’s my business if she was a lesbian. Or a Marxist. Or a Wiccan. Or had been convicted of under-age drinking, drug possession or shoplifting.
I didn’t vote for Mr. Obama, BTW - this is not a partisan rant.
But I DO have an axe to grind about what the Palin press release SAID about Bristol. They said she “WILL” be getting married to the father. They didn’t say Bristol Palin “expects to be”, or “wants to be”, or “is considering”, or even “reluctantly believes it would be best to be”, getting married. The official statement said WILL.
Such hubris on the part of any person(s), even parents, much less political operatives, about a decision which is only properly taken by the potential wife and her potential husband, and communicated by them alone, indicates their delusion, or cynical manipulation of the electorate, or the intention to use overweening force if needed to deliver the guaranteed result.
Note that by this time, Bristol’s parents have had ample opportunity to distance themselves from false statements, and Bristol, and/or the putative father have as well, but no one has, and so are all now accountable for the statement even if not initially responsible.
It is now November. As far as I know no marriage has taken place or is even planned. Typically the daughter of such an important official would have a public engagement period of at least a few months (and usually a ring as well), given that there doesn’t seem to be anything to hide. Odd indeed, I think. But no matter – such social conventions only provide a strong suggestion as to the relative likelihood of a forthcoming marriage, not an infallible prophesy.
What IS of key importance is whether:
1) Bristol is married (even for a moment) sometime before giving birth. Childbirth without a previous (and reasonably proximate) marriage makes the child formally illegitimate forever, regardless of whether the biological father does or does not marry the mother after the birth. Marriage is what determines the legitimacy, not the other conduct of the spouses. By long-standing convention and law, lack of marriage makes the child illegitimate even if the biological father acknowledges the child and/or later marries the mother, and marriage makes the child legitimate even if true paternity is in doubt.
Now, I don’t care about these things, but we all know many voters claim to. If Ms. Palin had been elected and Bristol didn’t get married, just how important would it be to those voters? If then not of much concern to them that the potential President had an illegitimate grandchild, why would they EVER have grounds to consider legitimacy material in ANY case? On the other hand, if it was the critical “values” issue they constantly claim, then I guess they wouldn’t hypocritically support Governor Palin in any future election, would they?
2) Bristol ever marries the biological father. If she does not in, say, the next year, then the former vice-presidential candidate fashioned or permitted a deliberate misstatement of significance, or publicly supported an absurd prediction for an extremely long period, or was outrageously indifferent to the actions of those speaking for her. Any of these alternatives is a grave indictment of the judgment of Sarah Palin.
- Norman Mainer