An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Silly Semantics

The week of April 9th Ann Rosen, a democratic talking head, blurted out during an interview that Mitt Romney's wife Ann, "… hasn't worked a day in her life." Predictably, the Republicans rolled out the outrage. Supposedly Rosen and by extension all democrats and the Obama administration have no respect for the work of raising children. Ann Romney tweeted: "I made a choice to stay at home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work."

Republicans trying to position themselves as champions of women in general and stay-at-home mothers in particular hits a few snags. Chris Hayes, filling in for Rachel Maddow, does a wonderful job of deconstructing the fake outrage. From Romney's own book, No Apology, p. 251:
Welfare without work erodes the spirit and the sense of self-worth of the recipient. And it conditions the children of nonworking parents to an indolent and unproductive life. Hardworking parents raise hardworking kids; we should recognize that the opposite is also true. 

And then there's this delightful clip of Romney on the campaign trail:
… even if you have a child, 2 years of age, you need to go to work. and people said, "well, that's heartless." And I said, no no, I'm willing to spend more providing day care to allow those parent to go back to work. It will cost the state more providing that day care, but  I want the individuals to have the dignity work.
The entire segment is worth viewing. You can see a parade of this year's Republican Presidential candidates saying much the same verbiage about the dignity of working for a paycheck. If you're not rich, the work of raising children is just not good enough.

I will nitpick on only one point in this interview: it was not Connie Schultz's mother who first made the observation that how we treat people we do not have to treat well says a lot about us. I do like the aphorism that you should not marry anyone until you see how s/he treats the waitress. But credit where it's due - Dostoevsky : "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons."

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