Monday, September 01, 2008

Family Values

Ah, traditional family values: Daddy goes off to his job, Mommy stays home, raises the kids, cooks the meals, keeps the house clean, and they all sit around the table for supper, say grace, and enjoy the comforts of a warm and loving nuclear family together. No homos, no lesbos, no mixed-race marriages ...

Here is a term that has never meant much to me, viz, how the Republicans use it. But I can offer this: Governor Sarah Palin, recently chosen to be John McCain's running mate for the upcoming Presidential election, does not seem to be the embodiment of such things as the R's like to wave about.

She has five kids, Palin does. The baby has Down's, and the oldest of the teenaged girls, seventeen-year-old Bristol, is at least five-, and maybe seven-months pregnant. While Daddy is out fishing and Mommy is running the state house and for VP, who is taking care of those kids? (Sarah Palin opposes sex-education in the schools, by-the-by, and it seems evident they didn't talk enough about it at home, either.)

Wherein the "family values" that the Republicans love to wax rhapsodic about?

Mommy needs to drop by the house once in a while, you know? Just on the "family value" front, it seems as if maybe those kids could use a little more hands-on help ...

At the risk of sounding paternalistic -- since it seems somebody needs to in this case -- a woman with five kids still at home, including a baby, ought not to be spending the next few months 24/7 on the road -- if "family values" means anything close to what the R's claim it does.

Sure, Obama has two little girls, too. And he's been quick to say this unfortunate pregnancy has no place in the campaign.

But he's also a Democrat. They tend not to slap you in the face with such phrases as "family values." They know that it sometimes takes both parents working to keep the wolf from the door, and they don't sneer at families who have to do it. And that kids make mistakes.

Understand, I know that kids make mistakes, too, and that parents can't always stop them. A pregnant teenager is, by itself, no big deal, and not something that ought to matter in a political campaign -- unless you make a big deal out of "family values," or think that sex education ought not be taught in the schools.

I do think his choice for a running mate is going to come back and bite Senator McCain on the ass, though.


Yooperman said...

I think a criticaldistinction needs to be made between having values and living to those values perfectly. Identifying positive values as a goal is where the 'family values' discussion needs to center. To date I haven't heard a member of either party lay claim to lving perfectly by their goals. However, to me, the critical difference lies in keeping the values as a positive goal or setting the standard to the lowest common denominator since 'no one can meet those goals anyway.' If Mrs. Palin sees that she can contribute the most positive value by being the VP, isn't it selfish to put her family in front of the millions who would otherwise benefit? To be fair, if she's on an ego-boosting power-grab, then running for VP IS a poor decision. The biggest problem I have with democrats (past and present} is the attempt to sieze the moral high ground , claiming 'family values' while simultaneously deriding those attempting to live them and honoring deliberate choices leading away from those same values.

Formosa Neijia said...

If you're not a Republican, then you may not be familiar with how that has already played out with McCain and some of the more uptight Repubs.

The Repubs that espouse Family Values the most already hate McCain for various things. He's not the poster boy for that wing of the party.

Remember when McCain appeared in the movie The Wedding Crashers? He got castigated for appearing in a "raunch fest" (Matt Drudge's words). T&A doesn't exactly appeal to the family values crowd.

Palin's appeal to that side of the R. party is her stance on abortion. Not other things like...ahem....her daughter being pregnant out of wedlock.

EvMick said...

If I understand correctly you seem to be saying what I've thought all along. That is....double standard. The demoncrats need not be held to the same standards as Republicans.

Thank you for makeing that clear.

Dan Gambiera said...

yooperman, if you don't live up to them you can't use them as a club to bash your enemies.

If you want to make an issue about sexual morality you have to be Ivory Soap pure.

There's something repulsive about Henry Hyde sleeping with another man's wife and blasting Clinton for what he did with a single woman and referring to what he did at age 41 as a "youthful indiscretion". Or Senator "Tappy McWidestance" Craig. Or David "Whores and Diapers" Vitter.

I don't really care what these men did as long as it wasn't with a dead woman or a live child, but they spent years at the forefront damning everyone else for lesser sins.

Dan Gambiera said...

evmick, that's not it. What we're objecting to is holding other people to standards that one doesn't live up to oneself.

Bobbe Edmonds said...

"What we're objecting to is holding other people to standards that one doesn't live up to oneself."

Agreed, I have a saying I use when teaching instructors: Don't hold your students to a standard of expectation that you yourself could not achieve if the roles were reversed.

Evmick, I defy you to show me where Steve said D's shouldn't be held top the same standard as the R's, point out where he wrote that, if you will. He didn't even IMPLY it. But I have to admit, looking around, the historical (and current) stance from the G.O.P. has ever been "God, Country and Family...In that order". It's the backbone of every Republican campaign for the last 30 years. (Don't take my word for this...Check out what Regan ran under & go from there). And every time a Republican takes office, we get the unmitigated torrent of laws and amendments that make America suffer in the name of God, Country and Family, and aren't we lucky, slap, slap, slap.

The Democratic Party, like the Republicans, isn't without faults. No one's denying that.

We're just not trying to pass them of as safety features and force the rest of you to upgrade.

Steve Perry said...

Nope, I didn't say different standards. I said that if you are going to claim the high moral ground, you have to demonstrate you have a right to it.

If you allow that "family values" have a certain definition, then if you don't stick to that, you don't get to own it.

If you believe that a woman's highest calling is to raise the kids and that she should consider them first, last, and always before anything else, then exposing one of your children to the wolves and coyotes of the national press to run for office in a way that is going to cause her considerable trauma? That sucks.

If my teenaged daughter was pregnant and not married, I would decline the job offer and that big ugly spotlight -- if my children came first. Maybe that's just me. Maybe putting your daughter's face all over TV and YouTube and having her have to deal with that is your idea of tough love.

Not mine.

What I think is that Palin put her own ambition before her children. Nothing wrong with that, lot of people do it every day. But if you claim that family is more important, you need to demonstrate that.

It's called "hypocrisy," and what it means is you talk the talk but you don't walk the walk.

If you pass laws to put gays in jail and you publicly allow as how they all should burn in Hell, then if you get caught playing footsie in the men's room with another guy, that's what I mean.

If you allow that drug users should be put under the jail and you get caught milking six doctors for heavy-duty painkillers, that's what I mean.

It's wrong whether it's a D or an R or an I or somebody who doesn't like any of those. It just seems as if a lot of the righteous who sometimes get caught with their pants down are R's, and that doesn't shine a good or godly light on them when it happens.

Steve Perry said...

Ooh, the Huffington Post is having a field day:

It just keeps getting better.

Biting McCain on the ass, oh, boy, is it ...

Yooperman said...

to Dan Gambiera:
I have to disagree with you, although I agree that family values should not be used as a club.

To your way of thinking, if I have ever touched a hot stove and burned my finger, I am disqualified from warning my children not to touch the stove because it's hot. None of us are perfect, but instead of lowering he standards, shouldn't we be trying to upliftother people?

Dan Gambiera said...

YPM, if you can't uphold your own standards you have no moral authority to force them on others. It's as simple as that. Take the same beating that you're willing to dish out or give other people the same pass that you give yourself. Anything else is hypocrisy, dishonesty and a complete lack of moral fiber.

When Newt Gingrich demands that his own driver's license be revoked for being a deadbeat dad I'll start to take notice. When Larry Craig walks up to prison and asks for ten to twenty because of his "unnatural" (his own words) behavior decent people will look at him with something besides a sneer.

These guys have made careers out of demanding that other people live up to standards they won't themselves. It doesn't matter if they had a teary-eyed photo op at church when they confessed that Jeebus had forgiven them for whatever they had done. If they've done it they have to take the same lumps as people they don't like or stop flapping their cake holes about it.

Dan Moran said...

Heh. Yeah, Democrats don't need to be held to the same standards as Republicans. Maybe, as an exercise, you can contrast the divorce rates in Massacheussets with those in Alabama. Just for chuckles.

Anonymous said...

If you can't live up to the values you want us all to live by, then maybe those values are a little unrealistic?

Nothing worse than a hypocrite on a high horse.

Formosa Neijia said...


"in addition to Palin's daughter being five months pregnant, she's hired a private lawyer to defend her in her abuse-of-power investigation; was a member of a political party seeking Alaska's secession from the Union; and that her husband Todd was arrested 22 years ago for drunken driving. Jeez, the Republicans sure have a distorted view of 'family values,' huh?"

See, this is the kind of BS I expect from the "Shrub lied" crowd. Only her daughter being pregnant could possibly fall under the category of "family values." But logic and reason have no place in red meat for the partisan crowd.

If that's the best the "Shrub lied" crowd can do, then she's doing pretty good.

As for morality, he's a saying from the other side of the fence: People with no morality at all will always succeed in living up to that standard. People with a higher standard will always fail to live up to it.

That truth of that paradox will never be embraced.

Steve Perry said...

Hey, the D's sling some mud. You get to do that when it gets slung at you first.

None of it should be issues, but it all is, and when you sign on for a tour in the fish bowl in this day and age, you certainly know what you are in for.

I don't care that the husband got popped for drunk driving, or whether Mom kicked her heels and did stupid stuff in college, but let's face it, Obama has been tracked back to the womb. They are running down half-brothers in Africa -- explain how that figures in to his fittness as a candidate.

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone -- and that isn't anybody in politics.

I'll say it again -- my morality is such that I wouldn't put my little girl's face on the cover of newspapers and on TV stations around the world, making her the most famous unwed pregnant teenager in the world, to get a job. Any job.

Would you?

Formosa Neijia said...

No, I wouldn't want that either. But that's our wonderful media's fault.

Worg said...

I think this may have torpedoed the GOP. It remains to be seen, but I can't see this as a good move. I don't think it was well thought out, I don't think there was much of a vetting process, and I think that it's a great example of one of the impulsive snap decisions that Mccain is known for.

If they get in there, get used to lots more of the same.

The reason her hypocrisy about family values is under such heavy attack is this: it's hypocrisy.

The democrats aren't cutting funding for single mothers and then trotting out their kids as living banners for a hallucination of family values from the 1950s.

They're also not in favor of cutting sex education programs (while drastically increasing war budgets) while their own daughters are unwed mothers, underage.

They're also not trumpeting a hard right christian cryptofascist dominionist agenda when their daughters are cavorting around fornicating under the hockey bleachers.

Enforcement of Leviticus begins at home. Perhaps Palin has more in common with the Taliban than she would like to admit.

Unless, of course, she's yet another republican hypocrite. Imagine that.

Maybe she can get some spiritual counseling from Ted Haggard.

Steve Perry said...

Sure, it be the media's fault. The days of turning a blind eye while JFK boinked everything in skirts are gone. Thing is, everybody in public life knows this, and they know that if they run for national office, every rock in their yard is going to get turned over.

If you have something crawly under one of those rocks, or if there a skeleton in your closet you don't want dragged out and held up to the light, then you need to consider that choice to run or not.

Unless she is terminally stupid, Palin had to know her daughter was going to get pilloried in the press; she knew it was coming, and she did it anyhow. That's the crime here. Whether the press ought to be doing this or not, they are, and if you know that, it's on you.

If you are against sex ed in the schools and your kid comes up with a bun in the oven, that also is going to be seen as a reflection on you. If they don't learn it at school, then they need to learn it at home, hai? So, who gave the daughter The Talk? It obviously didn't take.

Questions of character are legitimate. That Bill Clinton was decorating his intern's blue dress with his DNA was their business, and that he lied about it didn't surprise me, but it does say something about his character that he did both. You lose points for being a fornicating liar in some circles ...

If Palin tried to get her ex-brother-in-law fired, I can understand that, but if she got rid of the guy who wouldnt do it? Not so good for a "reformer" going up against the corrupt political machine in Alaska.

Too much about the woman is unknown, and most of what I do know, I don't like.

Worg said...

"You lose points for being a fornicating liar in some circles ..."

No no no.

You lose points for getting CAUGHT.

No matter how cynical I get, it's never enough to keep up.