Let me begin by clearly stating my biases — I like the Palins. They are dear family friends. My wife, Nancy, worked with Sarah on her most recent book, she worked with Bristol on her book, she edits Bristol’s blog on Patheos, and I represented Bristol in a lawsuit — when a man sued her after he profanely accosted her at a bar. (He lost.) In the years since my wife first flew to Wasilla to meet the Palins and work with Bristol, I’ve seen just a fraction of the non-stop hatred and vitriol directed at the family. Much of the hatred is quite public — and publicized. Imagine, for a moment, how you’d feel if a hostile journalist quite literally moved next door to monitor your family. Then there are the periodic stalkers — including one who recently invaded Bristol’s home. Like many celebrities, the Palins live in a world where people can make money by selling rumors about them. And the press is all-too-eager to humiliate them.
So, while it hasn’t been much noted in conservative press, it should surprise no one that the liberal side of the Internet has virtually melted down over the news that Bristol Palin is pregnant. Crowing over the unwed pregnancy of an “abstinence advocate,” many on the left aren’t letting the facts — or their alleged principles — get in the way of a good mocking. To be very clear, while Bristol has said that she aspired to abstinence herself after becoming pregnant as a teen and experiencing the challenges of teen motherhood, she’s also advocated both abstinence and birth control as means of preventing teen pregnancy — even cutting a Public Service Announcement with an MTV reality star where she supported abstinence, he supported contraception, and they agreed that both methods kept kids from having kids. This nuance is of course lost in the avalanche of mockery, always justified by the ever-present reminder that, “She has a blog” or “She puts herself in the public eye” — as if rules of decency simply no longer apply if you appear on television or write on the Internet. Yet it’s always worth remembering that the Left’s principles are situational, as the Palins know better than most.