If you read anything I have written about Sarah Palin, you might have noticed that I dislike her profoundly.* I think it's a disgrace that somebody so unapologetically stupid could have become a governor and a vice-presidential candidate.** However, after taking the time to familiarize myself with the blogs and articles of conspiracy theorists dedicated to "revealing the true parentage" of Palin's youngest child, I have come to feel a deep compassion for this poor woman.
Until today, I had no idea that there were so many of these completely loony people who are scarily sexist. They engage in endless scrutiny of some obscure photos of undetermined origins, studying baby Trig's ears (I kid you not) and trying to figure out how many Trigs are in existence. Since multiple Trigs need to exist to support the insane versions of events proposed by the conspiracy theorists, they keep coming up with ever new versions of Trig. One of the most ingenious versions came up with 3 different Trigs: one who's dead, one who's Bristol's baby born before the baby she acknowledged having, and the baby Palin's husband had by his mistress (whose existence, like the existence of Trigs #2 and 3, has never been proven).
The conspiracy theorists treat Palin and her daughter Bristol with so much venom that everything I have ever written about Palin sounds like a compliment. They don't, however, have a bad word to say about Palin's husband Todd. In their version, "the high-heeled spawn of Satan"*** (a direct quote from one of the conspiracy theorists' websites), which are Palin and Bristol, conspired to fake Palin's last pregnancy for unidentified reasons.
These conspiracy theorists explain their determination to "reveal the truth" about Palin by claiming that she is unfit as a politician and a danger to society. I wholeheartedly agree that she is both. But so was Bush. So are most of Republican politicians (have you read my posts on the Texan Republicans' platform?). According to many people, Clinton definitely was all those things as well. But have we heard any suggestions that these men's children were not theirs? Seeing as 1 in 10 men are unknowingly raising somebody else's child, it is a lot more likely that many of our male politicians would be more fruitful subjects for this kind of research.
As I mentioned before, anything that has to do with Palin's motherhood is irrelevant to her qualifications as a politician. Just like anything that has to do with Bush's or Obama's fatherhood. The argument that politicians often put their parenting on the agenda in a political discussion means simply that they are trying to distract us from what they are actually doing as politicians. We should not allow them to involve us in these games. This is politics, not a soap opera. I know that it's easier to bash Palin as a bad mother or a fake mother or admire her as a good mother than to analyze what her presence on the political scene means for the future of this country.
All these discussions about the origins of the baby are actually very useful to Palin. Those who promote these conspiracy narratives are doing her (and by extension the crazed Evangelicals who support her) a huge favor. By transforming her into a soap opera (or a reality TV) character, they make any discussion of her politics irrelevant. Who cares about boring stuff like political platforms, ideology, elections, etc. when this huge drama about a baby (or two, or three babies) is going on?
Let's stop discussing how Palin is doing as a wife and a mother and finally take a look at what the hell she is doing as a politician.
* See here, here, here, here, here, and in many other posts. Just enter "Palin" in the search box if you are curious.
** I consider it just as much of a disgrace that somebody as unapologetically stupid as George W. Bush could have become a governor and a two-term president. Palin and Bush are equally stupid, they are both an equally sad joke as politicians, and my dislike for them has nothing to do with their gender.
*** I'm not going to link to these people's blogs because I don't want to give them extra hits. You can find them easily enough yourself, if you really want to.