Thursday 10th May 2012by stereogirl
Dear Bristol Palin,
I have a bone to pick with you. I didn’t care much for you at first but over time, you won me over. You carried yourself like a mature, confident young woman with a sharp mind and a bright future. I wasn’t really a fan because you’ve yet to do anything that really warrants having fans but I didn’t object to you as strongly as I once did. I’d even go so far as to say I liked you.
What a difference one blog post can make.
You have every right to express your opinion. That’s what free speech is all about. I have that same right though so that’s what I’d like to do now. In your blog post, you stated you object to President Barack Obama’s position on gay marriage because his opinion ‘evolved’ after talking with his wife and daughters. I don’t want to be the one to break this to you, but some families discuss things. They share opinions. They listen to each other and sometimes, they help each other grow as individuals and grow stronger as a family. It’s a crazy concept, I know, but it’s the truth and I hope this crazy concept catches on.
What bothers me most about your outrage over the President taking advice from his family is how sexist it all seems. I want to remind you of a specific passage from your post because it just absolutely perplexes me.
“In this case, it would’ve been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that’s not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage. Or that – as great as her friends may be – we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home. Ideally, fathers help shape their kids’ worldview.”
When I first published this letter to you, I went on at length about all of the things happening in the United States right now that should really make you question whether or not the sanctity of marriage even exists. Quickie Vegas weddings, televised marriage proposals, weddings and probably eventually divorces are all doing far more damage to the institution of marriage than same sex marriages but let’s not even talk about all that. Let’s not talk about the fact that the divorce rate in the United States is still somewhere around 50% because that isn’t even important in the grand scheme of things. Let’s forget about all that and instead let’s talk about you, Bristol Palin. Let’s talk about you and how, after careful consideration, I’ve decided you’re actually kind of right. President Obama saying he supports gay marriage is changing “thousands of years of thinking about marriage” and that’s a good thing. That thinking needs to change and you, of all people, should really understand that.
See this photo above, Bristol? Does it bring back pleasant memories for you? You and your mother on stage like that as she nearly becomes the Vice President of the United States. I believe that’s Tripp in former Gov. Palin’s arms but I may be wrong. That’s beside the point. Just imagine – your mother, Vice President. It would have been a proud day for the Palin family but it would have been more than that. It would have been a good day for women everywhere. I was never a fan of Governor Palin’s politics or opinions but I always admired her guts. She’s a brave woman and an inspiration to a lot of women out there who feel they can’t do something just because of their gender. A female Vice President. And to think, it really wasn’t that long ago that women weren’t even allowed to vote. We really have come a long way, haven’t we?
Today, women are not only allowed to vote but can run for office and win but it took hard work and struggle for women to get even that basic right. Women just weren’t allowed to vote. That’s the way it was. That’s the way it had always been. But that changed. Opinion changed. We evolved as a culture to recognize women as valuable members of society who deserved to have a say in the way things happened in their communities and in their country. I can’t imagine the pride I would’ve felt back then to see the first women casting their ballots – what it would have been like to see that moment in history unfolding. We still have a long way to go, of course. There are still a lot of areas of women’s rights that need work but that first step was an important one.
The photo above shows Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving. When Mildred was eighteen years old, she learned she was pregnant with Richard’s baby. Wanting to do the right thing for their baby, the couple traveled to Washington, DC to get married. Big deal, right? Happens all the time. It might not be a big deal now, but it sure was back in 1959 when all this took place. The couple was arrested. The charge? Basically, being married. Back then, interracial marriages were illegal. They plead guilty to the charges and were sentenced to one year in prison. Eventually the sentence was suspended as long as the couple agreed to get out of Virginia and stay out for 25 years. They listened and fled to Washington. Did the trouble stop there? No. The couple faced discrimination and missed their home back in Virginia – a home where their respective families still lived. Did they just shut their mouths and accept things were the way they were? Did they just accept that it was fine for whites to marry and it was fine for blacks to marry but it was not fine for a black person to marry a white person? It was, after all, just the way things were. Always had been. No, they didn’t accept it. Mildred wrote a letter to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy who forwarded that letter to the American Civil Liberties Union. Years past with no progress but finally, the case went before the US Supreme Court who voted unanimously in the couple’s favor. State laws were overturned to recognize that two consenting adults should be allowed to marry regardless of the color of their skin and it all started with a letter.
What does all this have to do with your blog post? What does it have to do with gay rights? Let me tell you, but first, let me ask you a question. How is it that an unwed, teenage mother can’t understand how important it is to move forward? Let’s forget gay marriage for a moment. Let’s forget your attack on the President of the United States for expressing his opinion (he did mention he felt legalizing gay marriage was a state level decision, but maybe you missed that part). Let’s talk about you as a single Mom and talk about what someone in your position would’ve gone through only a short time ago. You wouldn’t have been going on press tours. You wouldn’t have been seen or heard from until you got back from visiting your “Aunt out of state” with no more baby in your belly. You would’ve been hidden away and not given the chance to speak at school to educate younger generations about abstinence. More importantly, you would not have that beautiful baby boy in your arms every day. He would be living somewhere else with another family because you would’ve given him up for adoption. It sounds harsh, but its the truth. Unwed mothers were practically unheard, and not really all that long ago, dear Bristol. Unwed teenage mothers were even more scarce. If they dared to keep the child and not hide their pregnancy, they would become pariahs – and not just the mother herself but her child and her family as well. It just wasn’t done. But that changed and now you have more than your son. You have a platform. You speak and people listen. You have the power to influence people and you have the power to make change. I guess I’m just disappointed you’ve chosen to use it the way you have.
Whether you like it or not, things are changing. Photos like the one above – the first same sex couple married in Manhattan - are going to become far more common. History is unfolding, Bristol. The President decided what side of history he wants to be on. You need to make that choice too – not for your mother and not even for yourself. You need to look at your child and decide what you want him to think of you, not as a mother but as a person. Imagine if you found out your mother was one of the people rallying to stop interracial marriages. Imagine if you found our your mother was one of the people trying to keep women from getting the vote. Maybe imagining your father would be a better example there, but the point remains the same. Do you want to be one of the people fighting for change or do you want be one of the people fighting to keep everything the same? This is just the way it is. No need to change it.
Here’s the deal, Bristol. I think you’re a smart woman and a wonderful mother but you’re so married to your own opinions that you can’t see the truth you’re holding in your arms. Sometimes the things we thought were right just aren’t. If you thought about marriage the way you want others to think about marriage, that beautiful little boy you clearly love so much wouldn’t be here and you’d still be a virgin or at the very least, you would be married to Levi and I don’t think any of us wanted to see that happen. I’m not your biggest supporter right now but even I will admit you can do better.
And for the record, Glee doesn’t make people support gay marriage. Logic does.