Mitt Romney is trying to pivot back to women, after declaring a jihad on Planned Parenthood and staying silent during his employee Rush Limbaugh’s ugly attacks on a private female citizen and the 2010-2012 Republican war on women. Mitt Romney is pretending that Democrats have a war on moms because some female pundit made a comment he was able to spin for distraction in spite of any legislation to back up his claim.
So far, his theatrics are working. Pundits far and wide are falling for this callous, shallow trip down the rabbit hole. But just a few months ago, Romney said, “Even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work…I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.”
Romney says he asks his wife Ann about women’s issues.
This “asking Ann” response does not comfort women, nor are we blind to the many ways Mitt Romney is an established patriarch from his religion to the way he tied his dog Seamus to the roof of his car. The mere fact that Ann Romney was attracted to someone who worships in a religion where “worthy men” receive a “patriarchal blessing” kind of tells me that we are not on the same page. Did she also sit by silently on that infamous car ride while the Blessed Patriarch left Seamus tied to the top of the car during a 12 hour road trip? Will she speak up for us as she did not for Seamus?
I’m not seeing Ann as the best conduit for aware and prescient compassion, but that’s not because she is a stay at home mom; I have plenty of friends who have made choices similar to hers in terms of working at home as a caregiver for their children. But none of them would sit by while their husbands abused a pet and all of them stand up for single mothers and struggling, impoverished children, even though they also enjoy above average economic privilege.
We are told Mitt Romney cares about “moms” because he thinks being a mom is a job. Oh, really? As usual, Mr Etch A Sketch said the complete opposite just months ago.
But first, my question to Republicans is, ‘Would you value a man or a poor woman who stayed home to take care of their children?’ Ponder that for a while, because of course, Republicans Hallmark (as a verb) motherhood of wealthy married women with insincere sentiment meant to make up for their disingenuous acts, while at the same time removing economic and legal support for other mothers/parents.
The job of staying at home to parent itself is not valued; but rather, the notion of the good, docile, submissive wife as mom is valued so much that it is put on a pedestal. However, the actual job of parenting is not valued because it does not generate income, and making money is the core value of the Patriarchal Republican system.
To not judge a person based on purely their income ability, to value other contributions – this is egalitarianism in action. Egalitarianism is a value system based on what is best for our children and each other as a whole, instead of how much capital we generate in a survival of the fittest game called American life.
Romney thinks that parents who stay home lack ““dignity” — mothers on welfare need to go to work, because staying at home to care for children is not work. Just this January at a town hall in Manchester, New Hampshire, he said, “Even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work…I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.”
Watch here via Media Matters:
“While I was governor, 85 percent of the people on a form of welfare assistance in my state had no work requirement. I wanted to increase the work requirement. I said, for instance, that even if you have a child two 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 giving daycare to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.'”
So, Romney’s message seems to be that women who are poor should be forced to go work so that they can have the dignity of work, which implies that caring for children is not work. To this end, under Romney, the state subsidized child care, which he claimed would be just as if not more expensive than “welfare” for poor mothers, but allowed the woman to have the dignity of work. Bill Clinton agreed with this line of thinking. It’s not that the fundamentals are off; it’s that Romney tried to take ownership of being an advocate for stay at home moms, and yet he clearly doesn’t rate them all the same, which tells me that he is not seeing the job of childcare overall as the valued commodity. Taken in concert with many of his other “ideas”, it’s hard not to be offended by his cheap, double talk pandering.
Contrast this with a man who doesn’t need to ask his wife what the issues are, because he’s been paying attention. Maybe we women are more comfortable with someone who has seen what a single parent goes through, like President Obama, and whose policies reflect compassion for those experiences. Do I want to rely upon Ann Romney to convince her husband what women face? Not so much. No wonder women are supporting President Obama.
The problem of leaders like Mitt Romney who champion killing Planned Parenthood while they claim to be the champion of stay at home moms is they shouldn’t even be an option in this century. Yet this is the far right, authoritarian, patriarchal paradigm we are operating under.
The Right is all for “freedom of speech” when it comes to Rush Limbaugh and “dissent” when it comes to Fox News selling lies as opinions, but when a woman speaks to economic injustice and has the temerity to do it in a blunt, ungraceful way, well – it’s time to crucify her for her rudeness (her lack of femininity?) instead of examining the message for the possibility that she might have had a point.
Does she have a right to her opinion, or is that right only held by those who toe the corporate patriarchal line? That question was rhetorical, of course.
If you’re even remotely awake, you know the answer. Calling women sluts is okay — we never heard Romney condemn Rush Limbaugh (who is basically employed by Romney’s Bain Capital), but a woman saying that a wealthy woman has no clue about the concerns of the average mom is unacceptable. This is nothing more than the usual glib pandering and glitzy distraction from the mountain of anti-women legislation behind the Republican Party, which speaks more bluntly than any words can as to their true agenda.
From forcing us to ask our employers for birth control to rendering us possibly pregnant at all times, the Republican Party has put us back in our submissive place and taken our medical freedom and privacy away. They have staked their flag on our uteri as their property. It’s done.
And now all that remains is to shame those women who dare speak up against this theft of liberty by calling them names like “slut”. Shaming as a control tactic is nothing new to the patriarchy, which also impacts men by holding them to a value scale based upon their income, their “virility” and their willingness to use power over others while devaluing their worth if they fail to excel under this paradigm.
One of the tenets of patriarchy is the use of “isms” to divide the people who are not in actual power. Thus, there are class systems set up and “isms” used to pit them against one another for resources. The division among the lower classes and minorities benefits the people in power, and yet it is accepted as the norm. The modern symbol for continued, undiluted, inexcusable and yet proud and unspeakable patriarchy is the Republican Party.
Fear of attack, fear of war, fear of the other – these are the standard get out the vote tactics for the party that most embodies the patriarchy, the Republican Party. Their entire platform is based on the paradigm of war against other humans.
Don’t even think of selling me the war on moms, Republican Party/mainstream media. The war on our uteri, the war on our fundamental freedoms, the economic war on the 99%, the war against the poor and the hungry, the war against education, the war against justice – these are all wars against moms.
In the end, matriarchy embraces very different values than patriarchy. Giving birth symbolizes hope and love; a mother values feeding our hungry and poor, a mother loves her child and sees value in her child no matter how much capital they generate. A mother does not put a dollar sign on her baby, and devalue all who are not going to become billionaire hedge fund managers who fire people with pleasure. A mother sees value in caring for her baby after he/she is born, not just when he/she is in her uterus. A mother doesn’t want to send her children off to die in a war, or to kill other people’s children.
Inherent in the notion of motherhood is humanity; the war paradigm that glorifies unregulated, survival of the fittest, vulture capitalism as the highest (materialism as religion) achievement of mankind inherent in patriarchy is the enemy of humanity.
Go sell your war on moms some place else, Mitt Romney. We’re all stocked up here.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.