Bristol Palin has gotten a media drubbing for hypocrisy in her new role as abstinence advocate—but such attacks are wholly undeserved, writes Nancy Gibbs in Time. The “true hypocrisy,” one could say, was at the Republican convention, which portrayed a falsely simple happy-ending message. In fact, “life is much messier” than that: Bristol’s path from “sinner” to ambassador is representative of reality.
Bristol’s main message was chiefly about teen parenthood: “It is hard, and exhausting, and bittersweet” when what’s normal is “hovering just out of your reach.” And on abstinence, “Bristol has been right all along,” Gibbs writes, both when she called it unrealistic, and in her current push for kids to postpone sex, but use contraception if they’re having it. “This message isn’t hard,” Gibbs concludes. “It just isn’t as tidy as Just Do It or Just Say No.”