Drunk Driving 201...beyond "don't drink and drive"

I've always been outspoken about driving while impaired. Don't do it.

But it doesn't stop at just saying, "Don't do it." Talk to your family members and make it clear that home safe is better than dead. We'll deal with the how and the why and trouble and grounding and all that...once we're home safe and alive to deal with it! So, parents, talk to your kids. It's not just about assigning a Designated Driver. It's about giving them their power to say, "Hey, dude, you were supposed to stay sober and you didn't. Lemme call my parents." And teens, it's about standing your ground. No matter what, don't get in the car if you feel the driver is impaired. Sure, your mom's "gonna kill you", but in the morning...she'll be glad you're alive to yell at and ground until you're 23.

I'm a parent of a 16 year old. I've been very fortunate to have him home with me for schooling, where I've been able to impart so much of my values and prevent the typical peer pressure from causing permanent injuries. But I'm not blind. My son *will* drink....eventually. Probably before he's legal. I don't want to compound such an event with the tragedy. I've talked to Nick about this: call home. Call a cab. Don't fret the grounding---get home alive!

Parents. Kids. Talk. Please. Angry and grounded is always better than dead....or wishing you were dead!

Adding insult to injury...

I just read an article from the Times in London which has me shivering.

The parts that concern me follow (with my pithy comments after each quote):

Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”

Excuse me? People are out of work, the ecomony is tanking, banks are failing...and the entire country is going to watch the tragedy of a teen-age girl marrying her boyfriend because she got pregnant?

There is already some urgency to the wedding as Bristol, who is six months pregnant, may not want to walk down the aisle too close to her date of delivery. She turns 18 on October 18, a respectable age for a bride — and the same age as Barack Obama’s pregnant mother when she married his Kenyan father. The Democrat has already declared Bristol’s private life off-limits as far as his campaign is concerned.

Respectable age??? Uhm, when I got married in 1990, I was 20 years and 6months old...and everyone said I was too young! And there's concern the bride might not want to walk down the aisle too close to her delivery date.... People, the cat's out of the bag. It doesn't matter when the wedding happens, we already know why it's happening. (And frankly, considering all else that's going on, I really don't give a damn, except to point out the utter failure of abstinence-only education!)

When McCain picked Palin as his running mate, Bristol’s pregnancy was regarded as a potential liability with voters. The idea was to keep her condition quiet initially. However, rumours quickly surfaced that Trig was Bristol’s son. News that Bristol was pregnant, making it a near-biological impossibility for her to be Trig’s mother, had to be rushed out.

Is it a sign of how the Republican campaign had no good choices that the potential for scandal inherent in this pregnancy wasn't enough to keep Palin off the ticket? Or is it sad that this tragedy (a pregnant teen) had to be made public knowledge to get the public's eye off the possiblity that the exact same teen had already been pregnant and the family was passing her child off as her sibling?

The ice-hockey player wrote on his MySpace page he was a “f****** redneck” and stated, “I don’t want kids.” But a McCain insider predicted he would marry Bristol whenever his future mother-in-law wanted. “It’s a shotgun wedding. She kills things,” the source joked.

This is funny? How? Forcing two people to marry because politics demands it??? What's next, marrying off Meghan McCain to Prince Harry? Or perhaps to someone in the Middle East to cement relations with the US?

It's clear to many people that teens having babies is not good. Not good for the teens. Not good for the babies. Why would any parent compound this situation by pushing or forcing their child into a marriage they may not want or be ready for?

However, Palin has a remarkable ability to galvanise the evangelical voters and social conservatives who form the Republican base. The party boasted last week that it will probably surpass its fundraising goal of $100m for September and October. Much of it is because of the grassroots enthusiasm for Palin, boosted by her decision to have Trig and to support her pregnant daughter.

I've quoted that one out of order because I want to highlight the last four words: support her pregnant daughter. Let me say this: When you stand opposed to making sure your daughter is competent in preventing pregnancy and STDS (by being against any real sex education) and you stand opposed to abortion, you have no choice but to support your pregnant daughter!

As for the wedding, I hope this young woman is not going to suffer too much for her mother's political interests. And I truly do hope her wedding is a very private affair---that the country doesn't literally come to a stop because a teenage girl marries the father of her coming baby.

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