Tuesday, September 27, 2005


We noted Ruth Conniff's "Rick Santorum's America" (from the latest issue of The Progressive) and I'd wanted to come back to that this evening. Ruth Rosen responded to some nonsense from Rich Lowry and Lowry's nonsense is part and parcel of Rick Santorums. They're Richies, identical Richies and you'll find . . .

So from Conniff's column:

In one section of his book, he says liberals screwed up by trying to protect children born out of wedlock from cuts in welfare. Stigma and shame should attach to illegitimate births, he argues. But later he laments the high rate of abortion among poor, African American women.

Their war on women is nothing new. They want to preach responsibility. They want to. The people who support dismantling the social safety net, the people who think America means out for number one. The people who can't shut about how pios they are but share no Christ-like concern for the needy among us.

Targeting women is always a fun sport for the GOP. The trick is, they tell women in their party that they're not talking about them. Dan and Marilyn Quayle both kind of blew that out of the water so the party returned to the "welfare queen" myths of Reagan times.

They have to demonize someone. Single mothers? They're like the Amish to sitcom writers. Only more so. You can say anything about the Amish because they're usually not going to see it. (Usually. The reality is that some, as they enter adulthood, may indeed see it.) With single mothers feeling the economic pinch, there's not a great risk that you're risking losing a voter.

But the ugliness and the attitude expressed towards single women is reflective of the attitude towards all women. I know women who've run for office on the Republican ticket and have had to learn the hard way that there's a ball game to play to get the support. (I know many more, who faced with the reality that the attacks are all on women, disengage from supporting the party.)

But the attacks are worth it to the GOP because they send out the message that they want to send out. "Times haven't changed. It's still the same."

It's ingrained in the GOP. It's also ingrained in the DLC. (And they're hoping that traditional views hold in the emerging majority-minority areas. That's a big gamble.)

So you get these attacks from the right picked up by some foolish people in the center or center-left and there's no reality to it.

One day this spring, Leora, more than eight months pregnant, went to visit her doctor in the little town of Caldwell, Idaho. He told her she was becoming malnourished. "I told him, 'Well, when the summer starts I'll eat beter,'" she recalls. Leora, a U.S. citizen, and her husband, who is here illegally, have five children.
"I don't eat so that they can eat," she says. "They have to eat everything on their plate. Everything. Nothing can be left. If they leave it, we eat it. They get an apple, they have to split it three ways. We limit them from eating here in the morning unless it's one meal or cream of wheat. If I don't make that, they eat at school. Dinner is normally rice, beans. Every day. Rice and beans and sopa."
Leora and her husband are looking after two of his sister's children in the three-bedroom house they live in on a quiet residential block twenty miles from Boise. They scrabbled to get the $1,500 down payment on the $70,000 property, and paying the $700-a-month mortgage has pushed the family almost to the limit. When they fell behind on the mortgage after having to spend precious dollars on an operation for Leora's sister, they rented out one of the three bedrooms to a cousin. Because of that, the government temporarily stopped giving the family food stamps, forcing Leora to choose between relying on charity and not eating. And so the family relies on the largesse of the Rescue Mission, a Christian missionary group with offices in downtown Boise. It tallies the number of meals handed out, as well as the "decision for Christ" taken by its clients.

The above is from Sasha Abramsky's "Is Idaho the Future?" from the September, 2005 edition of The Progressive. (It's not available online. Sadly, Abramsky's latest article is. This one was worth reading.) But that's what's happening and not just in Idaho.

To blame victims of Hurricane Katrina for their poverty is shocking. If we're dealing with New Orleans, the section eight housing issue is only one of the many setbacks they suffered prior to Hurricane Katrina. To try to segment that down to women in poverty, unmarried women in poverty?

Here's a question for the little center-lefties, is motherhood work? Is it a job? If so, why do we require these women to hold two jobs?

That's the problem with the right, they want to say that motherhood is honorable occupation. But then they don't think anyone deserves payment for a valuable job. (To steal from Amy Goodman on another topic, it's a matter of emphasis.)

Feminists, including Ruth Rosen, know it's work. They're not the ones saying, "You must work at a paying job to have value to society." But that's what this whole attack on public subsidies says. It says these women aren't doing anything. They aren't important and neither are the children.

Pios America's always willing to (as Randi Rhodes notes) practice "save the fetus, hate the child."
But kids grow up. And when they do they're adults who will have impact (positive and negative) on our society. We're all in this together and that's why the social safety net is important.

It's not about I have X dollars so I'm better and screw you. It's about recognizing our obligations to one another (because we are a society) and realizing that if the country is to last, we need to make sure that everyone's floating in the boat and not drowning on the side.

That's not socialism, no matter how the right to scream that, that's about taking care of the society. Those who've villified government make comments about how everyone should be on their own. As though the ideal for the United States is non-stop rounds of the "reality" show Survivor. That's not how this country is supposed to work.

Pat Robertson was pushing flat-tax Monday. I did an entry on that quickly and it got lost. Jim had watched The 700 Club (he can stomach that nonsense and critique it). He had on the always chatty Steve Forbes (always chatty except about his deceased father's sexual orientation/s). They were pushing the flat-tax hard. Even threatening the viewers with the allegation that if Republicans didn't get it pushed through quickly, the Democrats would grab the idea because it's so 'fair' and then the Democrats would get credit. So contact your reps.

This is a religious show, right? This is a show that's not taxed because it's a religious show, right? And I'm sure Forbes' book that the CBN's online bookstore is pushing is a spiritual tract.

This demonizing of the less fortunate in society allows people to argue for a flat tax. As though the millionaire paying 100,000 in taxes is equal to the person making 10,000 and paying 1,000 in taxes. The progressive income tax operates under the belief that if you're lucky enough to make money in this society, you still have obligations. If you make more than others, you pay more than others. We're in the same boat.

The way things exist, with corporate welfare, people truly owe a debt to their fellow citizens. To deny that, to act as though X made it only because X is a hard worker and Y didn't because Y is lazy is insane.

But we don't think we have obligations to one another anymore. We don't think we owe a debt to our society. We think we did it all on our own. To note Randi Rhodes again, you don't pull yourself up by your bootstraps in the military. Everyone pulls together.

That's a notion that we used to apply to our society. Greedy Reagan times made it very fashionable for so called evangilists to go on TV and sell ideas and concepts that they have no basis for in the book they claim to read. As Billie noted of TD Jokes, his statements about Jesus being an entreprenuer have no basis in the Bible. So maybe center-lefts should think twice before promoting him?

But you see that. And it sets your teeth on edge. (I've read the e-mails.) And you see attacks on single mothers and that sets your teeth on edge. (Ibid.) I don't blame you.

It's bad enough when the GOP pushes this nonsense. It's down right disgusting coming from people who don't claim that party.

If it's too hard to understand, we live in a Bully Boy economy. And we've become a service econmy. There's no big plants coming in to our cities and towns to save the econmy. (The attacks on "Hollywood" are so laughable from the right since it's one of the few areas we still lead in -- in terms of exports.)

"There but for the grace of God . . ." used to carry some weight when we weren't told it was okay to be all about ourselves. Now it carries no weight. A hurricane hits and the visuals are devastating so maybe we can summon up a little bit of pity, a dollop. But that's really about all.
If we were concerned, as a society, we would have dealt with the homeless problem seriously instead of letting the numbers rise each year.

In 1987, a friend swore she saw Poppy Bush, while he was v-p, leave a food establishment and walk down the sidewalk, stepping over a homeless person in the process. If the story is true or not, I don't know. (The friend's very reliable.) But it does reflect the mood of the Reagan administration, Poppy's and Bully Boy's. It's not a hard stretch to picture any of the three carrying on a conversation as he stepped over a homeless person, never breaking his train of thought.

As people live paycheck to paycheck, one check away from being homeless, you'd think there would be a little more compassion or empathy for others. There's not. Not when center-lefties like Nicky K can repeat the nonsense they repeat.

The war on women starts with the Bully Boy. But it takes foot soldiers for it to work. That GOP-ers join in isn't surprising. That people who don't claim that party do is surprising. And disgusting.

Reducing single-mothers to a stereotype may feel good. May make you feel a little more moral, ride your high horse a little higher. But everyone of us is where we are because of how we were born. Even the "self-made." (Maybe not lottery winners.)

"Hey, I had it hard! I started off in poverty!" squeals a Queen Bee who gets where she is by stabbing other women in the back.

Nobody makes it on their own. You benefit from the society around you and to then argue that you made it all by yourself ignores the realities. There was a time when, as a nation, we would appreciate that. We don't now. Now we think we did all by ourselves.

The attack on "big government" has been so successful that some of the people who benefitted the most don't even feel the need to give credit to any of the various programs that they benefitted from.

In a just society, we would measure domestic work in our GDP. It is work. But we dismiss it and we want working class women to earn their keep because we don't think motherhood is a noble profession. While we, at the same time, attempt to glorify motherhood.

Feminism recognizes the right for people to make their own choices. It doesn't spit on a woman (depsite the right wing lies) because she makes the choice to be a homemaker. By the same token, feminists realize that not everyone has the ability or the benefits or the luxury of making that choice. So before Nicky K writes his next slam on feminism or before center-leftists rush in to repeat right-wing spin (even when they know where it's coming from), they might want to ask themselves how did they get so fortunate?

They didn't do it on their own. They can buy into that myth but it didn't happen that way. Did they attend public schools? That's not doing it on your own. Did your parents benefit from a GI Bill with regards to education or home loans? That's not doing it on your own.

Our public assistance programs haven't been healthy for some time but Bully Boy's reduced them and wants to continue to reduce them. And before someone preaches responsibility regarding pregnacy, they might want to ask why single mothers are targeted?

I know it usually comes from the ultra-religious but are they implying immaculate conception?
(If so, you'd think they'd want to subsidize.) There are a number of worthy programs in this country but that's not what Bully Boy or the Richies want to fund. They want to defund programs that teach people the basics of sex. Information they will need to avoid pregancy. They don't support programs that teach someone their self-worth.

Nicky K brought a prostitute (and returned her to the family that probably sold her into that life) so before someone rushes to applaud Nicky K or defend him, they might want to search out some facts.

They might also want to consider realizing that we all benefit as a society when we take care of the people who have less. While they preach respect to others, they might want to ask themselves how much respect they deserve as they attack the less fortunate from the safety of their smugness.

This has been all over (this entry), I know. This is for members and they know what this is in relation to. But people who keep pushing this demonizing of women, this month with the focus on single mothers, need to take a hard look at themselves. They should feel a little gratitude for what society's given them and what they were fortunate to get (or grab) instead of acting high and mighty about people in New Orleans, specifically single mothers, who have been under attack long before Hurricane Katrina swept through.

Maybe if that happens, we can remember our obligations to one another. And that a society, a just society, depends upon honoring those obligations.

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