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What if it had been a Democrat's daughter?

Dannye Romine Powell
Dannye Romine Powell
Dannye Romine Powell writes on life in Charlotte and the Carolinas for the Local section of The Charlotte Observer.

Let's turn the tables.

Let's say that one of Barack and Michelle Obama's girls is now magically a 17-year-old.

Unmarried and five months pregnant.

How would the grass-roots segment respond? The segment that seems smitten by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's 17-year-old pregnant daughter Bristol and the 18-year-old hockey star who's the dad-to-be.

Would staunch Republicans have applauded the Obamas' decision to invite the young man – let's say he's an 18-year-old football star – to the Democratic convention?

If the young man were a Democrat, would Republican bloggers be swooning over this self-styled “redneck” who reported on MySpace that his hobbies are camping, fishing, riding dirt bikes and “just chillin' I guess”?

Would the GOP still be singing “Long live family values”?

If the situation had occurred in a prominent Democratic family, would the GOP label the pregnancy “human”?

Love child or welfare baby?

If the pregnancy had occurred in an African American family, would it be called “a love child,” as it was in the Australian Herald-Sun?

Or would it be relegated to the status of “another welfare baby”?

Would the groups who oppose premarital sex have been “buoyed by the decision to keep the baby” and called it “the embodiment of family values”?

So much is in the lens we wear.

Those who bashed Hillary for being vicious and vacuous go bananas over Sarah Palin, who supported the candidate who, according to the New York Times, opposed her own stepmother-in-law for mayor of her town. The left criticizes Palin for her lack of experience, but ignores the holes in Obama's resume.

The right criticized the media for not going after Sen. John Edwards sooner. The right initially wouldn't let Sarah Palin talk to the press.

Palin doesn't support sex education – except abstinence only. But she does, it seems, support her teen daughter's pregnancy.

It's all about whose side you're on, whom you believe in.

If so idealistic a term can still be used in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Dannye: 704-538-5230; dpowell@charlotteobserver.com

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