'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Abstinence (Do as I Say, Not as I Do) 

Sexual abstinence, it seems, is always for everyone else, not for the people who insist upon it. Accordingly, it reminds me of those who have attacked others for marital infidelity, while enjoying it themselves. Is it possible that we must practice abstinence because they lack the capacity to do it themselves?

In any event, the most recent participant in the moral hypocrisy parade is Sarah Palin, John McCain's selection as his vice presidential running mate. Palin, a public proponent of abstinence only education in the public schools, is someone who has conformed to the moral constraints that she insists should be taught to others . . . well, not quite:

The Palins eloped on Aug. 29, 1988, and their first son, Track, was born eight months later, a fact that Maria Comella of the McCain campaign, declined to elaborate on. “They were high school sweethearts who got married and ended up having five beautiful children together,” Ms. Comella said.

Perhaps, then, Palin was successful in persuading her 17 year old daughter of the importance of abstinence? Well, again, not quite:

On Monday, Ms. Palin’s announcement of her daughter’s pregnancy was much of what people were murmuring about inside the halls here, at the cocktail hours, even along a route meant for protesters.

“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,” read a statement issued on Monday by Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd. “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 Palins said that Bristol, who was named for Bristol Bay, the salmon fishery, would marry a man they identified only as Levi, later confirmed to be Levi Johnston, a Wasilla resident. “Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family,” the statement said.

Is is really too much to ask that people like Sarah Palin get their own houses in order before they presume to tell the rest of how to behave?

Back in the day, there was a word for people like Palin: busybodies. It was not complimentary. They were ridiculed, and rightfully so. The classic stereotype was character of Mrs. Kravitz in the 1960s television series, Bewitched. She obssessively looked through the windows of Darrin's house to find proof that his wife, Samantha, was a witch. Her efforts always caused her to look like a buffoon.

Unfortunately, unlike the rest of us, fundamentalists gobble this sort of thing up with a large spoon. Nothing delights them more than someone who has fallen, recovers to see the light of the way of Christ and then insists that our conduct be subjected to a standard to which they have exempted themselves.

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