Hating Motherhood

I was speaking to someone after Mass on Sunday about Governor Palin’s selection for the Vice-Presidential nomination and they commented favorably upon her, saying “That’s a real woman.” Five kids, likes to hunt. This is a woman a lot of Americans will be able to relate to. I added, referring to the lies told about Trig allegedly being her daughter’s child, that it really struck me that it seems that many on the other side really just seem to hate the concept of motherhood. While that whole false controversy was brewing, I couldn’t (and still can’t) understand why that, even if hadn’t been completely made up by persons our for political advantage, would be an issue.

Is it now wrong for a woman to help out her children and grandchildren to give them a better life? It appears so.

This was all before the news about Bristol’s pregnancy broke yesterday. Again we see attempts to use motherhood to discredit Governor Palin. The common thread between these reactions, other than sheer partisanship, seems to be the desire to have these children have been aborted. After all, children with Down’s syndrome and teenage mothers are often the “tough cases” used to justify abortion. If the Palins prove that these cases can be managed successfully, especially in such a now high-profile situation, wouldn’t that somewhat undercut the perceived need for abortion in these situations? The Palins show that these situations can be reacted to with love and that even greater love can come out of them if handled properly. (Note: I’m not arguing that the mothers and fathers of an out of wedlock conception should always wed. They may be too immature to handle that responsibility as well, or perhaps the father or mother is just a jerk. I’ve seen people close to me get in similar situations and have learned from their example that perhaps the best response in these situations is sometimes for one of the parents to walk away. I don’t know the particulars in this situation, of course, and neither do you, so it’s impossible for any of us to comment on what they should do.)

It’s also claimed that this exposes the hypocrisy of the Palins. Again, I fail to see how. They encourage abstinence education in order to reduce teenage pregnancy. The fact that their daughter became pregnant anyway doesn’t undercut their message that teenage pregnancy is usually a bad decision. (It should be noted too that the Palins are apparently accepting of the use of contraception, so that argument can’t be used against them either.)

This child is being welcomed and accepted and loved already and I think that’s what is really driving a lot of this bile: children just aren’t welcomed by the Left. If life begins “at the mother’s choice,” as Wesley Clark once put it, why are these children so reviled and their mothers being heaped with scorn? Is it because the Palins, and other Christians, don’t see Bristol as having been “punished with a child?”

I think many Leftists have built up in their minds an image of all Christians being one step removed from those who would burn single mothers and adulterers at the stake. This is a caricature, of course, based on exaggeration and some of the worst members of our faith. In fact, as National Reviews’s Byron York points out, most Christians won’t be bothered by this. The pro-sex message of our culture is so intense that it takes a strong person to resist that urge; it takes a strong couple to abstain. It’s very easy to screw up, if you’ll pardon the pun. On a pragmatic level, Christians teach their children to abstain from sex before marriage so that when sex happens, their children will be more mature, more able to handle the emotions that go along with it and more able to handle any consequences that result from it.

A couple engaging in sexual intercourse for the first time for each on their wedding night is the ideal held up by Christians; a failure to achieve that ideal doesn’t undercut our message or faith. In fact, it supports one of the essential messages of our Faith: we can’t live as we should; we need the forgiveness and support and strength of Christ. And even with His help, we often fall short if we rely too much on our own strength and will and not on His.

As the article linked above points out, there’s not a family in America that hasn’t gone through this in some way, even among the strongest Christians. (And liberal America has as well, they just make the problem go away by disposing of it, rather than accepting the responsibility.) If the Leftists aren’t careful, they’ll push America further into Palin’s camp as every attack on her for having a child who got pregnant too young is also an attack on countless millions of Americans who are in the same situation.

I almost wonder if the handling of this is another “rope-a-dope” attempt by the McCain campaign to get the Left to overreach as they are so wont to do.

Further, I think the push to build momentum to get her off the ticket is a sign of fear on the part of the Left. If she’s such a detriment, why not leave her on? Wouldn’t they want that anchor dragging McCain down? I think they’re afraid that if the American people have a chance to get to know her, they’ll find a strong, impressive woman they can believe in and support.