IOKIYAR: Family Values Edition

The RNC has announced that Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant with her boyfriend’s child. It also says they will be marrying soon. Congratulations to them and of course we wish them the best.

Can you imagine, however, what would be the right-wing’s reaction if this had been Barack Obama’s 17-year-old daughter? It would take racial coding to a whole new level.

For that matter, can you imagine what their reaction would be if the Democratic Presidential candidate had cheated on his first wife, who was disabled, in order to marry a younger, prettier heiress?

And if the Vice-Presidential candidate’s teenaged daughter had had sex and a child out of wedlock?

Or if the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate chose to run for national office while attempting to raise a six-month-old infant with Down’s Syndrome?

Or if their own Vice-Presidential candidate’s wife was tragically killed in an auto accident and the candidate himself took the train back home every night to care for his sons?

As a Democrat, I believe strongly in family privacy. These things should not be the stuff of political discourse. It hurts families and children and makes a mockery of the idea that the right wants to strengthen American families. It’s a shame that the Republicans don’t believe the same.

In the meantime, memo to the Republican Party’s “family values” or “values voters” crowd: STFU.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.