Thursday, May 28, 2009

Should Have Taken The Car (And Other Radical Notes On Public Policy and Family Values)

In case you were about to get to work this morning, hold your horses. Megan Stack at The Huffington Post gives us a sneak preview of the latest episode in Wasilla's Bristolgate scandal. In the upcoming GQ, hunkalicious high school dropout Levi Johnston reveals that on multiple occasions Todd Palin offered to give Bristol a car if she would break up with him.

Definitely should have taken the car, Bristol. Of course, maybe she figured that if she didn't use birth control, and did have a baby, Todd and Sarah would have to give her a car anyway to take the baby to Baby Swim and Well Baby and Baby Baby. Or that Sarah would forget that it was Bristol's baby, and maybe think it was just another baby she had delivered herself by mistake on a fund-raising trip. Then Bristol would have had both Levi and the car. Talk about thinking ahead!

But back to poor, wounded Levi, who is now said to be interested in writing a book (and you tenure-track faculty think writing a book is so hard! Pish-tosh.) In an earlier interview, shortly after the Johnston-Palin "engagement" was broken, Johnston noted that the "snobby" Palins never believed that he was good enough for their daughter. He also said the greatest misconception about him and his family is that they are "white trash." Now this is not a phrase I would ever use, but I am with the most famous baby daddy in America on this one. He is definitely good enough for Bristol who, if you ask me, is a bit of a fixer-upper herself, and doesn't clean up half as good as he does. And if the Palins think Levi is white trash, who do they exactly think they are? Royalty? I ask you.

I bet if Todd had offered Levi the car he would have taken it.

The latest revelations from steamy Wasilla join the other family values story of the week -- no, not the first Latina to overcome a hard scrabble childhood and be nominated to the Supreme Court, you silly goose! -- but the California Supreme Court ruling to:

a) Uphold Proposition 8; and
b) Allow all gay marriages that occurred before Prop 8 to remain valid.

Hunh? So what this means is that marriage, in California, is only legal between a man and a woman, except when two men (or say, two women) get married in a limbo period between the State Supreme Court deciding that they have full civil rights and the wise people of California deciding that they do not have civil rights. Now, of course, the Prop 8 folks are gearing themselves up to enforce the dissolution of those marriages that remain by another act of wholesome, popular will that will probably also be funded by the Mormon Church. I mean, c'mon. Shouldn't they busy themselves with ending the slaughter of innocent fetuses or something? Or trying to persuade teenagers that using condoms is a fool's game? Or trying to buff up Sarah Palin's image so that she can be the Barry Goldwater of 2012? Get a life, people.

California is clearly digging itself into a very deep legal hole here. My question is, what happens when a gay couple who have married in Iowa move to San Francisco, say, tomorrow? Are they still married or not? Tune in next month as conservatives create more litigation than you can possibly imagine about something that matters less to the economic or political future of this country than you can possibly imagine.

My idea is this: take a leaf out of Todd Palin's book. With two major car companies going through bankruptcy right now, I think California might want to solve this problem by buying a lot of cars and offering them to gay and lesbian people if they promise not to get married. Or buying cars for family values activists if they promise to lay off gay and lesbian people who want to get married. Or both.

How's that for solving two difficult policy problems at one stroke? Why the Obama administration does not hire me is, frankly, a mystery.


Notorious Ph.D. said...

I think California has forgotten all about the legal hole (and I think you're right about that) because of the big ol' financial hole. Which perhaps could be partially taken care of by the sales tax revenues on all those gay & lesbian weddings.

Anonymous said...

Bravo. An interesting side note about family values. I am a social psychologist and I have done studies asking people who are strongly committed to family values to define them in an open ended questionnaire. Many of them answer by simply writing "family values", while others write one or two sentences about gender roles. It interests me that such passionate advocates of family values seem unable to clearly articulate just what family values are. When I ask about other values, such as egalitarianism, or protestant work ethic people write pages of stuff.

Speaking of gender roles, check out the "Men in Power" article (and comments) in the chronicle. I would love to see a radical commentary on that piece!

Tom said...

Great Post. I've heard people say in passing that the drive towards gay marriage actually represents a conservative turn in the gay rights movement (versus earlier attempts in the sexual revolution to, for example, do away with marriage altogether). Is that correct? And if so, then might not the preclusion of gay marriage give gay rights advocates no other option than to oppose state-sanctioned marriage altogether? (After all, if marriage is defined as only heterosexual, then it is prima facie discriminatory to grant it special rights.) If that's true, then there's an interesting irony that the anti gay marriage folks will actually be the catalyst in disestablishing the institution of marriage.

Historiann said...

I have a friend who grew up in Wellesley, Mass. Apparently, there is a scholarship to Wellesley College reserved for a top grad from the local high school. My friend was offered that scholarship--free tuition for 4 years. Her father offered her a new Mustang convertible if she took the scholarship and went to Wellesley. She went to Haverford instead.

I think she, too, should have taken the car (and the Wellesley degree!) I like your scheme for saving Detroit and marriage at the same time. Why you're not in Obama's (or Schwartzenegger's) cabinet is indeed a mystery to me, too.

Liz in Ypsilanti said...

Thank you thank you thank you for a most commonsensical answer to a bunch of tough questions. Here in Southeastern Michigan as we look for new ways to delicately ask our friends who still have auto industry jobs how they're doing, the "hot-button" issues (and the money and effort spent on them) are becoming increasingly irrelevant. I speak as Catholic whose diocese spent a lot of money last fall trying to defeat an initiative to open the state to stem cell research - and spent a lot of money a few years ago helping to get an anti-gay marriage initiative passed. There really comes a point where one wants to say, "Oh, come on! There are people going without food and medical care and in danger of losing their homes! Let's worry about that and not about who they cuddle with at night!"

Anonymous said...


Susan said...

TR, if you'd like I'll start a face book group to get you hired as a domestic policy adviser to the president. CA is already offering to buy polluting clunkers and give people money to a new car...

Anonymous said...

Conservatives create litigation? I hardly think so. And thank goodness Obama nominated an overweight 54 year old with diabetes rather than a 45 year old in perfect health!

Sisyphus said...

I haven't read the text of the prop 8 ruling, but someone passed along this explanation of it by a lawyer on Daily Kos:

basically this person says the ruling is as narrowly constrained as possible and can be seen as a loss for the pro-prop 8 people as a win; basically everything is preserved except the actual term "marriage."

I still like the idea of buying and giving cars to all the gays who promise not to get married, though. Hybrids, ideally.

GayProf said...

I could use a new car.

JackDanielsBlack said...

The real family values story from Wasilla is, of course, that both Sarah and her daughter chose to carry their pregnancies to term under difficult circumstances, thereby choosing life. And if you think that Levi is "hunkalicious", maybe you need to improve your taste (as it were) in men.

Tenured Radical said...

Jack:I know you think that is the "real" story, and a lovely one it is. But there are lots of family stories intertwined in the Palin saga, some nicer -- but perhaps not real-er --than others. For example, allowing two unmarried teenagers to spend the night in the same bed would be something that would be (is) OK in *my* family (although the bedside table would be fully stocked with condoms!), but I doubt that it is what James Dobson or the Palins mean by family values.

You and I probably disagree that childbearing is inherently virtuous, but I do get your point -- I just don't think it trumps all the rest of the stuff going on chez Palin.

And Jack -- I'm a lesbian. All comments about men as objects of female sexual desire have to be understood as ironic.

JackDanielsBlack said...

TR, it's true that Freud said that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but I think that from the standpoint of the unconscious he would find your comment about Levi verry interesting!

Though I have six siblings, I'm not sure whether it is virtuous per se to have children. I do believe, however, that it is virtuous to give them a chance to live once conceived, as both the Palins did.

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