The Use Of A Child, Ctd

A reader writes:

Count me as one of the fans that appreciates your continued beat on the Sarah and Trig Palin spectacle.

There's something that has always struck me as unusual about the timeline and the wanton risks associated with Trig's birth, and I observe it from the viewpoint of a parent of a child with special needs. My daughter was born with a chromosomal abnormality whose physical manifestation was, among other things, a congenital heart defect that required immediate intervention and support. While my daughter did not have Down Syndrome, her heart defect (Tetralogy of Fallot) was most common in children with DS - about 50% incidence. The heart defect was in fact one of the 'soft markers' for a prenatal diagnoses of Down Syndrome. Notwithstanding the immediacy of my daughter's cardiac defect, there were many other prenatal tests that we were going to 2-3 times a week as the due date neared closer, all standard in cases like hers.

When she was born, there was a team of neonatologists, pediatric cardiologists and NICU doctors and nurses there to help in any way possible.

I've gone over the Palin's scenario in my head a thousand times, and could not once imagine going through the steps that Sarah went through in terms of a.) traveling that far away in the third trimester and b.) waiting that long to get to the hospital. A Down Syndrome child is a high risk pregnancy and rest assured doctors would want to immediately evaluate a DS baby for muscle tone and oxygenation to determine if they needed to go to the NICU for assistance. Even if a cardiac defect was ruled out prenatally, I am guessing a cardiologist would want to verify with an echocardiogram.

To channel my inner Rummy, there are simply a lot of 'known unknowns' that need to be verified once the baby is born. So what I am getting at? At this point, I almost wish Trig was Bristol's. I can at least buy some sort of nobility in wanting to shield your daughter from the stigmatization, and this sort of thing wasn't that uncommon a generation or two ago.

But the alternative scenario is that Sarah Palin simply had a high risk pregnancy and yet made the infamous travel choices anyways, health of her child be damned. I suppose I am colored by my own personal experiences, but having a DS child and making those engagements and flights speaks to an ignorance and narcissism that is dangerously distorted. All this before the kid even dreamed of being a prop.

We've gone over this a million times, but I remain agnostic about what really happened. I wish Trig were Bristol's as well. The story would make more sense. But my point is - and has always been -- that no one in his or her right mind can take Palin's various accounts of her pregnancy seriously without asking many questions that have never been answered. That's why I think that journalists should remain skeptical. I mean: Richard Blumenthal was called out on his own embellished war stories - but Palin has never even been asked about her baby stories by a serious magazine or newspaper and never asked to account for all the questions on national television. Yes, it's much harder to get proof of a maternity than war service, but it would be extremely easy for Palin to end these questions once and for all with what must be mountains of documentation of the birth. But still: nothing.

Lisa Miller and Jon Meacham believe there is nothing even faintly curious about the Palin family's account of this miraculous birth and have no interest in verifying the story or not. They believe everything Sarah Palin has said about her strange one-month public pregnancy. They have every right to do so. But they cannot pretend to be journalists when they do.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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