Beverly Beckham: Life’s a Tripp — a troubled one

Bristol Palin with her son in a scene from her TV show, “Life with Tripp.’’
Bristol Palin with her son in a scene from her TV show, “Life with Tripp.’’ –Lifetime

Bristol Palin, Sarah Palin’s can’t-stay-out-of-the-news daughter, made waves again last week for laughing, instead of reprimanding her 3½-year-old son, Tripp, when he used an antigay slur to address his Aunt Willow. According to Bristol, who took to her blog 24 hours later, Tripp used a different word, and she added, “I guess the temptation to label my three year old son is just too great for the lefty papers to resist.’’

But if you watch the video, it’s clear what he said.

For those who don’t know, Bristol Palin has a reality show, “Life with Tripp,’’ which airs on Lifetime TV and is about a single mother, Bristol, raising her son, Tripp.


Why is this a TV show? Because it’s cheaper for networks to film real people messing up than to pay actors to entertain us. And Palin messes up a lot.

This latest incident with Tripp was filmed and went viral — a whining, clearly in need of discipline, 3-year-old hellbent on swimming in a pool he can see from his hotel window, repeatedly telling his aunt and mother that he hates them because they won’t let him swim, then hurling a word at them that no 3-year-old should know.

The sisters did not leap out of their seats and say to Tripp, “Where did you hear that?’’ They were not horrified. They looked at each other and laughed.

Two years ago, Willow posted homophobic rants on Facebook attacking a user who criticized the premiere of her mother’s reality show. (Yes, the mother had a reality show, too, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.’’)

Here’s what the Palin girls don’t seem to get. That not too long ago in America, there would have been a lot of nasty words pigeonholing them, too — Bristol, for having a baby, Willow for sticking by her side. People snickering and pointing and laughing and judging. Because for decades in this country, unmarried teenagers who had babies were not given book contracts and TV shows and celebrity.


They were given the boot, kicked out of their homes, their school, their lives, and whisked off to a relative’s or some wrongly titled “home’’ where they hid until they had their babies. And because there was no place in society for unwed mothers, most gave up their babies. And lived the rest of their lives as if they never had them.

What the Palin girls don’t seem to know also is that there was no place in society for children like their brother. There was no such thing as “inclusion’’ for children with Down syndrome, only exclusion from school, from community, from life. And ignorant people saying hurtful words that made other ignorant people laugh.

How do you go from being part of a group that is maligned and denigrated and kicked to the curb to being the kicker? How is it that Bristol and her sister don’t know that it’s only because of time that they are the persecutors and not the persecuted?

“My faith is everything to me,’’ Bristol Palin told Robin Roberts on ABC News prior to her TV show’s debut. “I know that God’s on my side.’’

This is what bothers me the most. The conceit that Bristol Palin believes there are sides and that God is on hers, and that the left is anti-God and out to get her.

“People are going to see the real Bristol on the show,’’ she also told Roberts last month.

It didn’t take long. She got this right.

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