Me, a Palin Fan?


I can’t believe I’m about to write a post about Bristol Palin. I should preface this by saying I am not a fan of Sarah. Not in the least.  But Bristol? I think I may be a fan.

Let’s back up a little.

Truth be told, I hadn’t given Bristol Palin much thought. I did feel a little sorry for her, what with her teenage pregnancy and love drama being thrust into the national spotlight because of the campaign. Then I sort of rolled my eyes when I heard about her stint speaking about abstinence. And I was a little relieved when the on again off again thing with Levi was finally off for good. But all of that took up about fifteen minutes of my life and not too much brain power. As it should be really.

Then came this season’s DWTS—Dancing with the Stars. Yes, I am a fan. I own it. Leave me alone.  I’m not a die-hard-must-see-every-episode fan, but it’s fun and makes me happy, so I watch. Well, I had to boycott the season Jerry Springer was a part of the cast just on principle, but that’s another story.

Back to Bristol.

Again, there may or may not have been a little more eye rolling when I learned she was part of the cast this season, but I certainly wasn’t routing against her. I don’t root for or against anyone from the beginning. Okay, maybe I was rooting against “The Situation” but that’s a Jersey thing.

So I watched, and Bristol, while she was not fantastic, she was holding her own. I was impressed.

Then came the controversy last week when music star Brandy, clearly a better dancer, was voted off, leaving Bristol as part of the final three couples. Entertainment and talk show hosts speculated about the possibility of Tea Party supporters and Sarah Palin fans calling in and skewing the results. One show teased the story with “If Bristol wins, will it ruin the show’s credibility?” Ruin the show’s credibility? What?

It’s a reality show. It’s entertainment, people. Fans help to determine the winner. Bristol Palin obviously has a fan base. But so does every other contestant.  The fact that people may call in to vote for contestants they like regardless of dance ability is not new, nor should it be a surprise.  No, Bristol is not the best dancer on the show.  But the show has its judging system in place, and it’s that system that put her in the top three. Don’t get on Bristol’s case or Sarah’s, or their fans if it’s not working quite the way it “should.”

Whatever. I am honestly not that worked up about a celebrity dance competition. I’m not here to argue GOP conspiracy theories or reality show credibility. I hope the best dancer wins, but if not, oh well. I don’t care.

It was not Bristol’s dancing or the controversy itself that really got my attention—it was the way Bristol has handled it all.  And it got me to thinking about how she’s handled most things since her mother became a national hero or villain (depending on which side of the aisle you sit on).

It got me to thinking how I would have handled such things when I was her age—not even half as well.

Bristol did not go looking for the limelight. She was put there at what must have easily been the most difficult time of her life.  And there’s been a spotlight on her ever since.  She’s not shying away from the spotlight, but she’s not abusing it either. She’s simply living her life; and if she’s taking a few perks here and there, well so be it. I think she’s earned it.

During an interview in which she discussed her decision to join the DWTS cast, she said something like, “People are going to criticize me whatever I do, so why not dance?” The girl had no prior performing experience and knew she would be scrutinized; yet she took the leap and went for it anyway.

When controversy erupted, she handled it with grace and poise.  She is not particularly articulate or eloquent. But when the pressure is on, she does not crumble. She does not resort to badmouthing or name-calling. She stays focused. She more than holds her own. For someone her age and with her background, that’s saying something.

I certainly don’t agree with most things Sarah Palin does or says. But as a mother, to have raised a young woman who performs with grace under fire, well, as much as it pains me to make such a statement– Sarah must have done something right.

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