We are the 99%

July 6, 2005

Senator Santorum, Author

Well it seems that our very own jr. Senator, Rick Santorum, is getting some press for his recent addition to the Nation's collective bookshelf - a 400 pager entitled "It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good."

Maeve Reston, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has this piece on it.

However (as of July 6 at 1:22pm), there's nothing on the Tribune Review website about it. Too bad, I would love to see what they think of Rick's moralizing tome.

Reston wrote:
Many early conversations about the book yesterday on the Internet centered on a section in which Santorum advocates parents spending more time at home with their children -- part of the book's central theme that fostering the traditional family headed by a married man and woman can solve many of society's ills.

"In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might find they don't both need to," Santorum writes.

Many women, he adds, have told him that it is more "socially affirming to work outside the home than to give up their careers to take care of their children."
That ideology, he says, has been shaped by feminists who demean the work of women who stay at home as primary caregivers.

"What happened in America so that mothers and fathers who leave their children in the care of someone else -- or worse yet, home alone after school between three and six in the afternoon -- find themselves more affirmed by society? Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism," Santorum writes.

"Sadly the propaganda campaign launched in the 1960s has taken root," said Santorum. "The radical feminists succeeded in undermining the traditional family and convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness."
I haven't seen the book, but Santorum (a father of 6 who pulls down about $145,000 a year) is pointing out that he feels that families with young children might need to be more honest with themselves if they think that they need to have both parents working.

There are usual slams at "radical feminism" and the "propaganda campaign of the 1960s" to round out the quotations. I do like Rick's assessment that "radical feminists succeeded in undermining the traditional family."

Let's remember what the "traditional family" was like before the "propaganda" of the 1960s. There was little question as to the limited set roles of allocated (by "tradition") for women in this society. With few exceptions, a woman was to stay at home and cook and clean and raise the children - and futhermore, she was to like the fact that she was doing it.

The "success" of feminism (radical or otherwise) in the US 50 years ago was, it seems to me, to undermine the "predetermined-ness of "traditional" gender roles . If, after all is said and done a woman wants embrace those roles, then no one can question that decision, of course. But to limit half the population to a small set of life choices, all in the name of "tradition" seems, well, rather demeaning all around.

And that's probably what scares the bejesus out of our lil Ricky. It's not about the "professional accomplishments don't equal happiness" line, for if that were the case, then where is our jr Senator during any discussions of American entreprenurship? If he's warning us that "professional accomplishments don't lead to happiness" then why encourage anyone with that particular carrot?

Unless, of course, there's a difference set of rules for men.

Elsewhere in the book, Rick's compares abortion to slavery:
But unlike abortion today, in most states even the slaveholder did not have the unlimited right to kill his slave.
And questioned the value of a college education:
The notion that college education is a cost-effective way to help poor, low-skill unmarried mothers with high school diplomas or GED's move up the economic ladder is just wrong.
But he has given us a wonderful gift:
"You see, all politicians know that when you engage in any traditional values issue, especially abortion, the news media immediately labels you ... Adjectives like intolerant, rigid, far-right, mean-spirited, extreme, hard-line and zealous will routinely be used to describe you," Santorum said.
Fine by me. Rick Santorum - an intolerant, rigid, far-right, mean-spirited, extreme, hard-line zealot.

Hey it fits, doesn't it?

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