Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bristol Palin breaks up politically expedient engagement

Bristol Palin has broken up with Levi Johnston, her fiance and boyfriend of three years. Good for them!

It takes courage to halt a shotgun wedding when the Palins are holding the shotgun. Your name might as well be Moose Wolfington.

In any case, it didn't take a whole lot of brains (insert GOP joke here) to know from the start that a teenage marriage like this one would have been nothing short of disastrous. First off, it's the 21st century; no teenager needs to be married. Commitment isn't something to be taken lightly, and no one knows what they want at that age. As for all of the traditional reasons for wedding - pedigree, financial security, never having to be alone for five minutes, getting all those awesome tax breaks, shiny things, politics - well, women can do stuff now. So it'll just have to come down to love.

Politics, in particular, is always a fun reason to get hitched. If I read the narrative correctly (and I'm confident I did, because I read at a 12th-grade narrative level), then Bristol Palin was supposed to have done the honorable thing both by having her baby and by marrying the father. Faced with such a life-changing development, she could have succumbed to the temptations of life-hating, socialist Barackica and had an abortion, but she chose not to. Wait, that's not right... she DIDN'T choose not to, because it's a child, not a choice. Yeah.

And once you have a child, of course, you have to marry the father. That's just obvious. You want your child to grow up with both parents, even if mutual resentment will quickly and permanently surpass the one thing the two ever had in common - teenage libidos. After all, you don't want a broken home.

Finally, the narrative represents the Republican ideal of sex education: Don't have sex, but if you do, you must have the baby and get married. And then you'll have a wonderful family! Or a stormy one, in which case, hope you learned your lesson, hussy. Not that you'll be able to apply that knowledge, because it's still 1929 and divorce is shameful. And costly on the cusp of a Great Depression.

Fortunately, Bristol seems to have her head on relatively straight. She insisted that she chose to have her baby, and has said that abstinence education is not realistic. In her TV interview, she sounds admirably mature for an 18-year-old so clearly consumed by changes she can barely fathom. By all accounts, Levi's heavily involved in fatherhood as well. Perhaps there's hope yet that these two will provide a nurturing environment for little Tripp, unburdened by the conflict that unrealistic societal norms would have fostered. Maybe it'll even signal a long-overdue, more diverse understanding of "family" in this country.

The religious right must be pissed.

1 comment:

cord said...

I'm really proud of these kids, I'm sure this was a really difficult situation, and if they came to the realization that it wasn't gonna work (despite pressure to make it so) they do apparently have screwed-on-straight heads.