Monday, September 1, 2008


Wow! I had already written several drafts of a post centered on how confused I was during this year’s presidential campaigns when I arrived home and clicked on the TV to check on Hurricane Gustav. I was met with news creating much more chaos than that created by the somewhat milder than expected hurricane.

Sarah Palin’s seventeen year old daughter is five months pregnant and plans to marry the father of the baby…sometime. Apparently John McCain knew this when he selected her as his running mate. I can’t even begin to process what this news means to their candidacy, so I won’t try. I’m just sad that by not using birth control her daughter has committed the cardinal sin of political offspring…ruining her reputation. Maybe it won’t have any effect on the race, but I’m afraid that it will.

I am as close to a political independent as anyone I know. My choices are swayed by some ideals assimilated through the years, tempered by my classes in graduate school, and a healthy dose of self interest. I really hadn’t made up my mind who to vote for, but was beginning to lean toward Obama, mainly because of his selection of Joe Biden as a running mate.

Then on Friday, I found myself strangely excited as I watched the coverage of Governor Palin’s selection to be McCain’s running mate. Walker happened to be sitting in the den with me, and he was unexpectedly delighted, or at least as delighted as he ever seems, by the news that that lady on the podium had a baby with Down Syndrome.

“Dad! That baby has Down Syndrome…Just like me!”

As I pondered the choice that faced Sarah Palin when she was told that the baby she was expecting was going to have Down Syndrome, I couldn’t help but think back to my pregnancy with Sarah. Amniocentesis was relatively new at the time, and I imagine it was a much riskier prospect than it is today. I just knew I couldn’t spend nine long months wondering about the health of this baby, so I decided to have the procedure.

In my case the news was all good. I wasn’t ever absolutely positive, though, what I would have decided if there had been a problem. Maybe a year and a half of living with Walker would have convinced me that rearing a baby with Down Syndrome wasn’t too bad, but I don’t think I had gotten to the point where I wouldn’t have been devastated at the prospect of rearing two children with significant disabilities. I just didn’t know.

I’m glad I didn’t have to make that choice…really, really glad. I’m also glad that there wouldn’t have been federal laws in place making my choice for me…either way. Sarah Palin's anti-abortion stand was definitely in the negative column for me.

I hope we all eventually learn about personal responsibility and the right to make the right choices for our family at any given time and allow others to do the same.


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