Sarah Palin and the Lessons She Has Taught Her Children

Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources

By the time you read this commentary, Sarah Palin may or may not have been elected Vice President of the United States. There is and will be a great deal written about her qualifications. I prefer to talk about the lives she has touched and the lessons she has taught her children.

As Governor Palin delivered her nomination acceptance speech in early September, the camera momentarily caught her six-year old daughter, Piper, slicking down her baby brother’s hair with the tongue-moistened palm of her hand. It was incredible television. In the caustic rhetoric commonplace in high-profile politics we took a station break for a piece of humanity.

Where Did She Learn That?
It is wearisome listening to the debate as to whether a mother of five should seek public office. Admittedly, a saliva-enhanced hairdo hardly qualifies for a complete resumé on parenting. Yet, there is more to the picture.

Coddling a baby, gentling stroking the head, and patting down the Don King-do is learned behavior. Just think — this pitbull-hockey-mom with lipstick might have actually taught compassion and care to little Piper.

On April 18, 2008, Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig Paxson Van Palin. Her baby has Down’s syndrome. He will grow up to look a little different. He will need extra time to learn some fundamental skills, and other more sophisticated skills he may likely never learn.

In this so-called enlightened generation Sarah Palin did the most “unthinkable thing” — she let her child live.

Governor Palin and her husband knew months earlier that the child she was carrying in the womb had the genetic condition for Down’s syndrome. If people like Professor Albert Harris from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill had his way, there would be no child for Piper to groom. In lecture notes to his embryology class in February 2008, Dr. Harris wrote: “In my opinion, the moral thing for older mothers to do is to have amniocentesis, as soon during pregnancy as is safe for the fetus, test whether placental cells have a third chromosome #21, and abort the fetus if it does.”

This kind of rhetoric escapes little Piper. She does not realize how abortion-rights groups have vilified her mother for her pro-life beliefs. She does not know that those who oppose her mother’s life-affirming stance want to allow other mothers the right to terminate life like Trig’s before birth. Piper simply knew on that day her little brother — no matter how different he might be perceived by society — was having a bad hair day, and she wanted to help.

What makes the plight of Trig Palin so distressing is that many modern mothers would not only have killed this little boy in the womb, but would have accepted the reality of what they had done and moved on.

When it became legal in 1973 abortion, simply involved the removal of unwanted tissue, according to its advocates. They readily admitted that if it could be ascertained that this so-called “blob of tissue” was actually a life then they would understand its protection.

Today the abortion-rights advocate whistles a different tune. In the September 10, 2008, issue of “The Salon,” an Internet news and opinion website, columnist Camille Paglia wrote: “Hence I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue. The state in my view has no authority whatever to intervene in the biological processes of any woman’s body, which nature has implanted there before birth and hence before that woman’s entrance into society and citizenship.”

Ms. Paglia echoed the words of Naomi Wolf who argued in October 1995 (New Republic magazine) that she and others of her ilk should accept that in abortion a real life is lost. She went on to call abortion a sad but necessary evil in the interest of a mother’s right of autonomy.

Sarah Palin could have indoctrinated her children with the “my body and my choice” mentality. Her words would likely have given her oldest daughter, Bristol, a comfort level to decide to kill her unborn child because of a badly-timed pregnancy. But she didn’t. Instead, Sarah Palin said:

“Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives.

“We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed.

“Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this mixed-up world you live in down there on Earth. Trig is no different, except he has one extra chromosome.”

With her words and actions Governor Palin has touched the lives of her children and others who watched love modeled in the actions of a six-year old child.

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men (1 Peter 2:15).

May everyone pause for a moment and learn from the example of a little girl.


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