Say what you will about the Palins but they illicit some fairly strong responses from people. Last week a man in Wisconsin shot his television when teen advocate Bristol Palin advanced to the finals of Dancing with the Stars despite scoring in last place with the judges (sending the higher scoring Brandy packing). Someone else sent a threatening letter to Palin along with a white powder to her DWTS rehearsal space. While I can understand being annoyed that a consistently poor dancer is advancing through the power of fan vote but when the SWAT team needs to be called in, I think it’s time to calm down.
Sarah Palin and her brood have managed to prompt fierce loyalty or bitter hatred from people all over the world for the former vice presidential candidate ‘s opinions. Even the Palin children are scrutinized; Bristol’s younger sister Willow was under fire this week for calling a fellow classmate a f****t on Facebook (the young man’s family plans to sue), prompting camp Palin to issue a public apology after a media firestorm. Personally, I was more shocked that this was cause for a media firestorm. I mean, what are the headlines; 16 year old girl calls other 16 year old names on Facebook, world mourns? While Willow’s choice of words weren’t the kindest, 16 year olds call each other names on Facebook all of the time. The boy in question was taking shots on the younger Palin’s mother and she got offended and reacted in a fairly age appropriate fashion. The fact that there was clearly nothing better in the world to talk about then a teenager lambasting another teenager on a social networking site when there are two wars, a recession and an EXTREMELY important Dancing With the Stars finale taking place made me a little sad.
The fact is that Bristol and Willow Palin are not their mother. Bristol has demonstrated herself to be much more media savvy then her mother throughout her DWTS run and previous appearances on the View. Her comment that people are voting for her because they can relate to her may not be too far off; after all, her day job was medical assistant and she’s essentially a “normal” person. To say “Well, her mom is famous and thinks ____” is kind of insulting to Bristol, because she may not share her mother’s opinions on every single matter. A perfect example of this is Senator John McCain, who is against gay marriage and repealling “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” while his daughter Megan (a lesbian) is a gay rights activist. It’s also unfair for the world to take potshots on the Palins without expecting them to fight back a little bit. If the world can’t take a little splashback from a 16 year old girl who is not in the public eye, then don’t dish it out. Shows like Family Guy have spoofed the youngest Palin child Trig but creator Seth McFarlane cries foul when Bristol calls him out on it and tells him to keep his opinions of the Palins focused on their mother. Every armchair dance instructor blogs about Bristol’s abysmal performance but then whines about her when she stands up for herself. Political pundits claim Palin is a non-issue on the political front, yet tune into Fox News or her show Sarah Palin’s Alaska and hang on every word she says. Freedom of speech works both ways; you can’t hide behind it to attack the Palins but then denounce it when they fight back.
Regardless of your opinions of the Palin matriarch (mine aren’t too positive, so I’ll leave them out in the interest of unbiased writing), Bristol and Willow Palin are individuals onto themselves and should be judged as such. If you hate her dancing that much, take the time to vote for someone else or just don’t watch. A girlfriend of mine watches and she will tweet the results, express her opinion and show her support for her fave (sparing the TV’s in her home). If you can’t stand the sound of Mater Palin’s voice or her idiotic views, don’t watch her show. They’re Palins; they’re not that scary. If you don’t pay attention to the mother, they WILL go away. Don’t seek out her 16 year old daughter’s Facebook page, just ignore them like those monsters on the Simpsons and then the big bad Palins won’t be able to hurt you anymore.