Kids and politics are a bad cocktail
Politicians often want to have it both ways, but never more so when it comes to their families.
“My family deserves privacy”, is the usual refrain, and for good reason. The politican is the one who is running for office, not the rest of the troop. But for the Christmas card photo, it’ll certainly be one showing the family. Back-to-school day? The press pool is alerted to when the Head of Government will be dropping his/her daughter/son off at the local school. Impaired driving charge? No comment: our teenage child deserves the chance to grow up, and make mistakes, in privacy.
Every journalist gripes about the double standard, but it’s part of the game.
As far as using minors to help win office, is there a more blatant case than the one involving Bristol Palin’s 17 year-old boyfriend? As Levi Johnson sat in the “Vice-Presidental Box” at the Republican convention last week, I couldn’t help but think what was going through his mind.
His high school sweetheart is several months pregnant. Secret Service Agents are standing all around. His face is being shown on millions of television screens. School started on August 20th, and yet he’s been pulled out of class and flown down from Anchorage (on what can be assumed was a Republican Party-paid plane ticket) to demonstrate that when his so-called “Pistol-packing” Governor / future Mother-in-Law Sarah Palin says he’s going to marry Bristol — she knows of what she speaks.
If the teenage pregnancy story hadn’t leaked, the boyfriend wouldn’t have been at the convention. Where are the family values in that reality?
If Mr. Johnson has a part-time job, he’s now AWOL. If he plays on the football team, he’s missing practice. If there was a pop algebra quiz while he was playing the frog-marched role of a loyal boyfriend in St. Paul, what note will his mother write to get him out of hot water with the Vice-Principal?
As you may know, our son was unexpectedly asked by the Governor to attend the Republican Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Governor, who is responsbile for your school’s budget, isn’t easily denied. Please excuse Levi from class for as long as Senator McCain needs him — right now, his campaign staff aren’t telling me how long that will be.
Think of this time away from school as one long civics assignment. Thanks, in advance, for your support. We need it!
It’s all a bit much.
In the 5+ years that I worked for politicians in Ottawa, I was reminded daily about the sacrifice that families have to make when their parents / spouses are elected to federal office. The travel is relentless, so you’ll rarely see your newly-minted politician/parent. Your universe will literally be upended for the entire time. The bigger your parent’s job, the more eyeballs you’ll have on you.
Imagine what it must be like for Levi Johnson.