I learned in Gail Collins's New York Times column today that Bristol Palin--yes, the governor's daughter, yes, the new mom--is now advocating abstinence as spokesman for the Candie's Foundation, which fights teen pregnancy.
Forgive me, but isn't this a little like asking Bozo the clown to play Hamlet?
I mean, there she is with the baby, saying "I just want to go out there and promote abstinence." Promote, I guess. Practice? Obviously not. She said of her baby, "You have so much responsibility. It's just hard work all the time." Well, maybe, mom. My kids are grown now, much older and, thank goodness, wiser than you. And, sure, babies are a lot of work; I can remember that. But they are also, or they can be, the objects of great joy and great love. I don't know whether any of that has reached you yet, but I hope it has. Your mother's had, what, five kids; she can probably talk to you about the joy, if you ask her.
The evidence, anyway, is that teaching abstinence doesn't work unless you teach sex education along with it. Gov. Palin has said that her daughter opposes "explicit" sex education which is, of course, the only kind that does any good.
Bristol Palin teaching abstinence just seems silly. Will the baby appear at the events? It's a little like John Edward preaching marital fidelity. Just not quite there, somehow.
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