I’ve been watching the coverage of the reunion of Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston the last few days with some interest. Not because I’m deeply concerned about their every move, they’re private citizens and deserve to have a slice of life to themselves. I’ve been more interested in the way that the media has been covering the story.
First off, let me say that since the couple went to Us Weekly to announce their engagement, the media has every right to cover this. They wanted to announce it publically and they have. The repugnant part of it all has been the follow up.
Rewind with me couple of years before we get to that to look at what the media did with them from the start. When we first became aware of the couple and the out-of-wedlock pregnancy, the media scrutiny started. Many claimed that this was simply to see what kind of parent Sarah Palin is because at the time, she wanted to be the second most powerful person in the land. What it practically came down to was the media ripping down teenagers for a decision that was not the best under the circumstances.
Fast forward to now and I have seen even more to indicate that people are piling on as this young couple attempts to put the past behind them and build a life together. Comments about how she’s probably pregnant again and things like “white trash wedding” have come into play. These comments couldn’t be more unfair. How many of us can claim we have been perfect in our lives and would welcome the media scrutiny that this couple has gotten? Dare I say that many of us would have things that we would rather keep hidden from public view because we made a bad decision and paid the price for it.
Bristol and Levi have made decisions that weren’t the brightest in retrospect. And based on who Bristol’s mother is, they are being forced to play out this series of decisions in a very public way and I believe it shouldn’t be that way. These two are adults and private American citizens as well. They deserve to have a level of privacy as they begin this new phase of their life and work to overcome the problems before them. Personally, I say hats off to them for taking the level of responsibility that they have to raise their son in a balanced home that includes the both of them. Further, I have heard talk of marriage counseling and that too is a great step that will reap dividends for this couple for many years to come.
As to those who say that Bristol’s decisions are a direct reflection of her parent’s abilities and example, I would say not so fast. How many of us did exactly what our parents said not to do when we were teens? How many of us as parents cringe to think that our kids will do something that we said not to do and reflect badly on us? As a parent, you do the best you can, whether you are a regular working stiff in America or the former Governor of this country’s largest state. When they get to a certain point, kids make decisions of their own and you do your best to make sure they have the skills to make them good ones. Even then, there’s no guarantee that they’ll do what you want. In the end, the reflection on Todd and Sarah Palin in this instance shows that there has been a background of good solid values because it appears that Bristol and Levi are living up to their responsibilites.
That begs the question, can we now leave them alone, and in the end, shouldn’t we?