David Frum is starting to annoy me:
The news that Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston have canceled their engagement doesn’t come as very much of a surprise. The arrangement looked from the start like an election-season pretense. With the election decently behind us, the pretense can be dropped.
Now Bristol and her baby can recede into private life for the next 3 years or so. But as she goes, Republicans and conservatives need to think seriously about the lesson she has taught us – or more precisely, about the illusion she has punctured.
Many conservatives carry in their heads a mental image of American society that’s a generation out of date. They imagine the existence of a huge class of socially conservative downscale voters, ready to vote Republican because of abortion and gay marriage.
The story of Bristol Palin should help puncture this illusion.
“Socially conservative downscale voters”? Who, exactly, does he think he is? Someone who puts on his socks two feet at a time?
I would venture to guess that young Ms. Palin is not the first, nor the only, American teenager (white, educated, rich or otherwise) who finds herself pregnant without meaning to. I’m almost certain it’s happened before. Possibly even in nice liberated upscale neighbourhoods. And that in many of those cases, the young mother decides (or “decides,” under pressure from her parents, boyfriend, teachers or all of them combined) to “erase” the mistake.
Are we to consider these young women more “upscale” than Bristol Palin, who chose to keep her baby in extremely difficult – and public – circumstances? Ms. Palin has an awful lot of moral courage. Calling her ugly names says more about you, Mr. Frum, than it does about her. And no, I don’t mean that in a good way.
[h/t Paul Tuns]
Andrea adds: What is interesting to me is that absent the word “downscale” this would be a valid question about whether those voters interested in abortion or marriage exist, or not. (Though for Pete’s sake, Mr. Frum, we already know you think they do not.) Or, one could refute the notion that unplanned pregnancy didn’t exist in those happy Leave it to Beaver days… it did, of course, but was dealt with differently with a quick wedding, and generally occurred under different circumstances too, ie not with someone you hooked up with once and didn’t actually know. “Unplanned” pregnancy has been happening for a while. The “upscale” response to these problems is this: Above all, do not wed! You might be saddled in a lifelong relationship that is not right. This allows young people to go from sexual relationship to sexual relationship, experiencing heartbreak after heartbreak such that by the time they reach 30 they are cynical and truly unable to form a lifelong relationship of any meaning at all. It’s really so much more civilized. (Turn up nose here.)by