Over at Classically Liberal, they raise in interesting question that someone really ought to ask John McCain. As we all know by now, Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol has a 17-year old daughter who is pregnant by her 18-year old boy friend. I don’t see how this has anything to do with Palin’s qualifications for vice president.
But here’s the thing: In McCain’s home state of Arizona, the age of consent is 18, with no “romeo and juliet” exception for people near in age. If Bristol and her boyfriend had sex in Arizona, he would be guilty of a Class 6 felony, punishable by 1 to 2.25 years in prison. I think he would also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
So the question for McCain is: Should Bristol’s boyfriend be sent to prison? Or is this part of Arizona’s criminal code a stupid idea? Unless I’ve misread the Arizona code, it pretty much has to be one of those, right?
To be fair, these laws are probably not enforced very often when the lovers are this close in age. But most states do enforce the drug laws. In a post at The Art of the Possible the lovely and talented Jennifer raises some issues about these laws that suggests a question for Barack Obama.
Obama has admitted to using both pot and cocaine, and it doesn’t seem to be hurting his chance of election. It certainly doesn’t bother me.
But here’s my question: Since you’ve been a legislator at the state and federal levels for several years without trying to repeal the laws against pot and cocaine, would our country have been better off if you’d been sent to prison when you were a teenager?
Of course, if Obama had been caught and sent to prison (like a lot of other young people) he probably never would have been allowed to rise up in his community and run for office.
As Jennifer points out, the moral principle at work here is very strange: Despite claims to the contrary, it’s okay to do drugs in your youth, and you can still become an important politician, as long as you never got caught.