Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I was about to write about the Palin pregnancy, but that will have to wait -- after all, it's not especially important unless you're a national talking head in need of jabberpoints. In the background, though, Michele Bachman, Congresswoman from Minnesota, was drilling into my consciousness. She is youthful; her complexion is perfect; her smile is latex; her gestures are reminiscent of the simulacra at Disneyland.

Minnesotans, she informed us, are nice. The cameras panned across the sleekest, blondest, whitest cross-section of America one can imagine. "Yes," their smiling faces echoed, "nice is nice. We are nice too. Nice and sleek and blond and white. Hooray!"

That speech was followed by a sleek, once-blond white guy with a brown, adopted daughter. He spoke about his brown, adopted daughter with several references to John and Cindy's brown, adopted daughter -- yes, the very same one the Bush campaign identified as McCain's "illegitimate black child" during the 2000 primaries. All the sleek, blond, white delegates applauded.

Back to teen pregnancy: years ago, when I still was married and living in a relatively upscale community, our next-door neighbors arrived at our door one afternoon. It was odd, because they weren't friends -- just "wave to" neighbors -- but there they were, at the door. Sure, we said, come on in. Coffee? Tea?

Well, it wasn't the most comfortable session. They'd come to tell us their teenage daughter was knocked up, due any day, and that they would be raising the child. "Um, sure," we replied, "that's nice." Why were they telling us that? Were we supposed to care? Did they think the child of an unwed mother living next door would bring down our property value?

Half an hour's worth of uncomfortable tea and cookies later, they left, and we went back to waving, driveway to driveway. The baby was born, and grew. Within a few years it was evident, even from next door, that he was a "special needs" child. They all moved away -- to the South, I believe -- a year or two before my marriage ended.

We were not at all concerned that the illegitimate baby's grandfather was deputy chief of the volunteer fire department. In that community, you put out your own fire if you could -- because if you called the fire department, they'd destroy your house. It didn't really matter who was deputy chief, that's just the way it was.

Does that have anything to do with Sarah Palin's daughter's pregnancy? Probably not.

They're doing dead war heroes at the convention now. I think I'll go out for ice cream.

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