Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Page 168 of 195

An Open Letter to Sarah Palin

Dear Ms. Palin,

Last week, when I first learned that John McCain had selected a woman as his running mate, I admit that I was excited.  Although I decided a long time ago that I was voting for Barack Obama, I have respected John McCain since his first attempt to run for president and at first thought that his selection of you as running mate was somehow a sign that the Republican Party was moving forward.

Boy, was I wrong.

First of all, I would like to apologize in advance for yet again dragging your pregnant teenage daughter, Bristol, into the spotlight.  This is undoubtedly a painful and embarrassing time for her, and what she needs right now is privacy and the love and attention of her family.

That said, I simply can’t ignore what her pregnancy represents.  She is a living symbol of why your belief in abstinence-only education is in fact out of touch with the reality of Middle America.

Do you know, Ms. Palin, which American states have the highest teen pregnancy rates?  I do.  As of 2004, the following states had the highest rates of pregnancy within the 15-19 year old age group:

  1. Nevada
  2. Arizona
  3. Mississippi
  4. New Mexico
  5. Texas
  6. Florida
  7. California
  8. Georgia
  9. North Carolina
  10. Arkansas

Out of those 10 states, two (Texas and North Carolina) are staunchly red, electing Republican candidates in the past four elections.  Seven others lie somewhere in the middle.  California stands as the lone blue state in the top ten states for teen pregnancy.

The majority of U.S. states leave the decision of whether or not to teach sex education up to the school district; unfortunately, many of those school districts opt for not, or instead disseminate inaccurate information.  Arizona (#2), for example, has been accused of teaching biased and outdated information on pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. In Mississippi (#3), it’s a requirement that abstinence-only education be taught (however, it is not required that birth control methods be explained at all).  Georgia (#8) actually requires that sexuality be taught, however, abstinence must be stressed and birth control education is not required. Several of the other states don’t require that sex education be taught at all; those that do are only required to teach sexuality, with an emphasis on abstinence.  Overall, one third of secondary schools in the United States avoid teaching sex education entirely.

$1.3 billion has been spent on abstinence-only education programs, but Ms. Palin, I’m having a hard time seeing how these programs work.  As I’ve shown you (and as you probably already know, being such a staunch supporter), those very states that have failed to educate their youth about sex are the same states you are pandering to.  Those states are the most likely to vote for you, despite the fact that another Republican presidency is bound to produce more babies amongst their teenage children.

Abortion needn’t even enter the discussion here, Ms. Palin; although I’m pro-choice, I understand where you’re coming from and respect your beliefs about life. What I do not – and will never – respect is your ignorance toward what average Americans really need. What they need is education about sex so that their daughters don’t end up in the same predicament as yours.

The joke that is…Sarah Palin

I haven’t much felt like writing, so I’ll keep this short and sweet.

I am absolutely appalled at John McCain’s choice of vice presidential candidate.  Although there’s never been any doubt that I’m voting for Barack Obama (except for a brief dalliance with Mike Gravel), I’d respected McCain much more than G.W. and even sort of liked his personality despite disagreeing with his politics.

But this is going too far.  Sarah Palin is barely fit for her current position, nevermind the White House.  She’s a mother of five who pays more attention to her political career than her children, as evidenced by both the fact that she took an eight hour flight while in labor and by the fact that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant.  And to add insult to injury, she’s a former beauty queen! Perhaps she’d fit in better in Hollywood than D.C., given those qualifications.

Regardless of Palin’s qualifications (or lack thereof), what’s most vomit-inducing is the fact that McCain actually thinks a stunt like this will somehow impress the American public and get them to vote for him (and he may very well be right, in which case confirming my belief that the American public are idiots).  Sure, Obama’s been accused of the same – choosing Biden to lend credibility to himself and the fact that he’s often criticized for inexperience.  The difference, however, is that Biden is an actual politician.  Sarah Palin is a joke.

Peter Sunde of The Pirate Bay is my hero.

I’ve been following Italy’s somewhat fascist attempts to block The Pirate Bay and today, wrote a blog post on the subject for the OpenNet blog.  Before adding the company’s logo to my post, I sent a quick query via the website to confirm that it was permissible to use it.  Peter Sunde, co-founder of The Pirate Bay, quickly replied:

Hi Jillian,

if you use our logo we will have to sue you of course. I will send my staff
of 1337 lawyers to your place, make them arrest you after we bribe the
police to make it a high profile case and force the news magazines to write
a big article about the problem for the human kind if you steal our

That is teh awesome.

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