September 2, 2008
Politics don't get dirtier than smearing pregnant girl
(Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune)
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Have American presidential politics become so hateful that a pregnant 17-year-old girl has to have the intimate details of her life exposed to the nation by character assassins?
Ask the left-wing Internet haters, the anonymous propagandists who call themselves bloggers on the Daily Kos.
And ask Bristol Palin, who didn't deserve it, and was a victim of the rumor-mongers consumed with attacking her mother, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican running mate of Sen. John McCain, because the mother is a conservative and opposes abortion.
The Internet rumors claimed that Sarah's baby, Trig, born four months ago with Down syndrome, wasn't really hers but her daughter's. They plucked some photos from the Internet, photos out of sequence, to make it appear as though Gov. Palin hadn't been pregnant, proving once again that on the Internet, the casualties are credibility and civility. Reading it, you could almost hear the saliva dripping from their teeth as they typed anonymously.
"Now, I've known liars all my life," the blogger wrote. "Their single core problem is not with themselves, but those around them. If they're never called out on their twisting of truths and fabrications, they simply continue to make larger lies. Well Sarah, I'm calling you a liar and not even a good one. Trig Paxson Van Palin is not your son. He is your grandson. The sooner you come forward with this revelation to the public, the better."
I don't know if Komodo dragons can type, but their mouths are so full of bacteria that if they bite your leg you'll likely die. This anonymous Komodo was probably in mommy's basement, perhaps with a bowl of Chex Mix and a Diet Coke nearby.
Unfortunately for big lizard and the other haters, it wasn't true. But it did force Sarah and Todd Palin to come out with a statement on Monday. That's how Bristol was exposed.
"We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our hearts and mean everything to us," Sarah and Todd Palin said. "Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support."
The parents say their daughter will marry the young man. It would most likely have come out anyway, given the determination of Sarah Palin's opponents to make her out to be a hypocrite. But the way it became public was cruel. Now they're saying her mom's at fault for preaching abstinence to her children.
When I was just starting out as a reporter, a wise old newspaper man told me his rule: Don't ever write about their kids. Leave the kids alone, unless the child runs for office, or pulls down some fat government contract, or if the parent hauls them out as a shield before an indictment. Leave them alone, he said, because the kids don't deserve it, because they're civilians.
I took that to heart. And I know what it's like to be on the receiving end. Some of you may remember that, years ago, white political thugs under federal investigation for city affirmative-action contract fraud—who had connections to both the mob and City Hall—asked me about my children.
The thugs came up to me in a restaurant and asked why they never saw my little boys playing outside my house. They let me know they were interested in my kids. The thugs showed me their teeth, as if smiling, but their eyes weren't smiling. It was a message. It didn't work, and I wrote about it. And I'll never forget the thousands of e-mails and letters and calls that came to me from readers, many offering to stand in my driveway and watch out for my sons. My wife and I will never, ever forget your kindness.