Senator Rand Paul went through a difficult and stressful parenting situation this weekend. His 19-year-old son was arrested for minor consumption and public intoxication at a North Carolina airport on Saturday. While it’s possible that this news will be dissected and opined about by cable news channels, we here at Mommyish just don’t feel comfortable judging a young man we know very little about based on a single run-in with the law that happens to countless teens across the country.
The news that Paul’s son, and frequent Presidential primary candidate Ron Paul‘s grandson, had been arrested made it’s way to CNN, where the politician understandably asked for privacy for his family. And the whole thing got us thinking less about one teenager at an airport, and more about how hard it must be for the offspring of politicians.
When I was a teenager, I threw a pool party while my parents were out of town. They left on the weekend of a friend’s birthday and I thought it was only fitting to invite 50 of our closest friends over to celebrate. Everyone brought blankets and sleeping bags, ready to camp out in my basement and living room. Oh, and we had plenty of alcohol, purchased by a kind college guy I was friends with. (I didn’t have a fake I.D. yet. But I did a few short years after that.)
Long story short, a jerk that I kicked out of the party for being a jerk called the cops and reported our underage drinking. My party got busted. Plenty of people scattered, taking off into the woods behind my house when they saw the cops. Others hid in my basement. The police officers were kind and understanding. They called my parents at 2 a.m. and woke them up in their hotel room. They saw our sleeping bags and told us that they were happy to see we weren’t planning on letting people drive home. They ate a piece of pie from the fridge, told us to be careful, poured out our alcohol and went on their way.
I could have very easily been arrested that night. I could have gotten myself into huge trouble and lost college scholarships. But you want to know what would’ve never happened? My mug shot would not have appeared on CNN. Because I wasn’t the child of a politician. I was the child of a school teacher and an engineer.
When it comes to celebrity offspring, we almost expect that they’re going to mess up at some point in time. We shrug out shoulders at teenage pop stars hanging out in nightclubs. We show our support for parents like Jon Bon Jovi, whose daughter recently had a scary incident with substance abuse and college partying.
Politicians are a whole different story. We consider their children’s lapses or misbehavior to be an indictment on their parenting. Politicians have to somberly address their constituency to explain their child’s actions. These kids have to worry about their parents’ reputations at all times, in all things. It seems like a whole lot of pressure for a child to grow up with.
A Senator’s son got arrested for drinking alcohol. My guess is that on that same day, countless other teenagers were arrested for alcohol-related charges all over the country. None of those kids made the morning headlines. And for that, I have some serious sympathy for the Paul family today.