healthcare, politicians, politics, rants

The Party of Family Values, my ass!

Last night, I read a New York Times article about how the Justice Department is asking the Supreme Court to block the Abortion Law in Texas. The Biden administration is planning to challenge the law, giving the Supreme Court Justices the opportunity to take another look at it.

Not surprisingly, there were a lot of people commenting about the article. Quite a few comments came from conservative white men, many of whom wanted to know why women didn’t simply “abstain” from having sex. I had to have a laugh at that. In my experience, it’s usually not the women who are wanting sex the most. I mean, yes, there are lots of women who enjoy having sex, but I think men are the ones who are mostly driven to have it.

As we all know, when a woman gets pregnant, she’s usually pregnant for nine months. A man, on the other hand, can do his part in creating babies with a woman, then do the same thing with another woman the next day… and the day after that… and the day after that…

So why are we so focused on women when it comes to stopping abortion? Why aren’t we more focused on the men?

No… I don’t support forced vasectomies, just as I don’t think women should either be denied or forced to have abortions (and when I was a social worker, I did have a minor client who was forced to have an abortion she didn’t want). But I do think a lot of men need to be shaken up a little bit and reminded that if they’re so against abortion, there are things that they can do to stop them. For one thing, they can stop having sex for fun. Do you think that’s extreme? It’s what the men often tell women when this issue comes up. So many of them seem to think pregnancy should be punishment for what they deem as immoral, “slutty”, behavior. They don’t seem to think of the aftermath of what happens to the poor child who could be born into that situation.

A lot of men want to blame women for “getting themselves pregnant”. But no woman gets pregnant by herself. I’ve never seen a man’s name on a medical bill for a pregnant woman’s care, though. And I’ve never head of a biological man having to be on bed rest during a pregnancy. And when the baby is born, the man often has an easier time of going back to work. There’s no healing involved… no breastmilk coming in… no postpartum health issues.

Anyway, I managed to restrain myself from commenting too much on that particular piece, although I did comment that sometimes abortions are medically indicated. I added that at no time is it anyone’s business when someone else chooses to have one. A lot of women were adding their thoughts, and one guy was taking them on, one by one. He asked me what medical conditions might require a woman to have an abortion.

Seriously, guy? My response was that I wasn’t wasting my Friday night to teach this dude about obstetrics and gynecology. Instead, I directed him to the excellent video by Mama Doctor Jones that I’ve already shared in this blog more than once. She very clearly spells out why this new law, Senate Bill 8, is very bad news. Here’s the video again for those who missed it.

As Mama Doctor Jones pointed out, people who are pregnant are always at a higher risk than people who aren’t.

But, in short terms, someone who is pregnant and happens to have any kind of chronic disease, like diabetes, or lupus, or cancer, or someone who has mental health or addiction issues, or someone who can barely support themselves… those are all people who might benefit from having the choice to have an abortion. And there are other situations that may make someone consider terminating a pregnancy. At no time is it anyone else’s business.

I finally navigated away from the infuriating comments from the men on that thread and went to sleep. Then this morning, I woke up to this headline from the Washington Post— “Republicans fault Buttigieg for time off with newborns. Democrats say he’s showing the need for paid parental leave.“. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, became parents of two newborns in August. They spent over a year trying to adopt the babies, often coming close to success, only to have their hopes dashed. They finally got their wish, and now the couple is rightly taking parental leave.

Republicans, who often refer to themselves as The Party of Family Values, apparently don’t think it’s cool that Buttigieg is taking time to bond with his new babies. Tucker Carlson, of Fox News, actually mocked Buttigieg for taking paternity leave, saying

“Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child. Paternity leave, they call it, trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went…”

So… basically, the Republican Party is all for family values, as long as they’re “traditional”. All of these Republican men are so against abortion, but then they mock two dedicated parents for taking time off to nurture their new families? Republicans want to force women to give birth, but they object to allowing new parents time to actually care for their babies? That doesn’t seem very “family friendly” to me.

Many Republicans probably just don’t like the idea of homosexuals raising families. That’s a real shame, since most of my homosexual friends and relatives are some of the finest people I know and are wonderful parents. They certainly understand the importance of a loving and supportive family. Too many of them have been cast out of their families simply due to who they choose to love.

Now… I’m not saying that all Republicans are homophobes. I’m sure there are plenty of people who identify as conservative, but aren’t actually homophobic. The trouble is, too few of them are in public office. The United States is unusual among developed nations for not recognizing the need for parents–both male and female– to be able to take family leave. Slowly, things are changing. Bill told me this morning that even the Army is allowing new dads to take leave. I’m sure the positive effects of that policy will become apparent in the future.

President Biden is trying to introduce new policies that will make the United States a more family friendly place. Maybe if we had more policies that made having babies and raising children easier, there would be fewer abortions. Just a thought.

Republicans want women to have babies no matter what, but they don’t support allowing parents to actually take care of those babies. So what does that mean? The baby goes to a child care facility while the parent goes right back to work? Aren’t these the same people bitching about socialism and government overreach? Okay, so maybe the child care facility is privately owned and run… and super expensive! Wouldn’t it be better if we allowed the parents of babies to actually take care of their babies when they’re super young?

Recently, Buttigieg has been more present on the job. He recently commented about his new role on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”:

“It’s been wonderful,” Buttigieg said during that appearance. “It’s everything people tell you to expect and more. I think the biggest thing that has surprised me is just how much joy there is, even sometimes in the hard parts. Don’t get me wrong — it’s the most demanding thing I think I’ve ever done, that Chasten and I have ever taken on, but it’s just amazing.”

He sounds like a good dad to me. A good, and present, dad makes for a healthier family.

Even Fox News gives new parents six weeks of leave– which is not enough, in my opinion. But, in March of this year, “Fox & Friends” co-host Todd Piro took six weeks of paternity leave after his daughter’s birth. Piro was grateful for the time to spend with his new baby girl.

“I cannot thank Fox enough for providing all fathers who work here with such a generous paternity leave,” Piro wrote in an op-ed in April. “This experience has changed me in a profound way and in ways I won’t fully comprehend until my daughter is older. But for now — that smile coming from the crib each morning, immediately followed by morning snuggles — is what I will cherish the most.”

And other Fox hosts have also praised having the chance to take leave. When his third child was born in April 2021, Fox News host Jesse Watters admitted that he now supports paid paternity leave.

“Now I am pro-paternity. I used to mock people for taking paternity, I used to think it was a big ruse, but now, you know, I wish I could take six weeks,” Watters said.

But Republicans are still bitching about Pete Buttigieg’s “gall” at taking parental leave. They’re criticizing his leadership potential and making personal insults instead of working with him to make policies that actually benefit American families. They’re trying to force women who aren’t ready to have babies to stay pregnant, while denying them any assistance that would help them have healthy babies and actually raise those babies into well-adjusted and well-prepared adults.

Meanwhile, Democrats are lauding the idea of parental leave, as well as leave that would allow people to care for their sick and aging parents. Bill and I are in the “sandwich generation”– that stage of life in which we might have been really squeezed if we’d had children. So far, we aren’t affected the way many of our peers are– I have friends who are caring for their children, as well as their elderly parents. It really puts a strain on middle aged people and, frankly, makes them vulnerable to chronic diseases themselves.

I don’t think Republicans actually are the The Party of Family Values. I think they are The Party of Greed, Sexism, and Racism, and trying to control women’s bodies. There’s much more to living than working and making money. The conservative men, many of whom are drunk on their own toxic masculinity, ought to step aside and think about this for a minute. They say they’re against abortions because it’s an assault on the “sanctity of life”. They say adoption is a better choice. But Pete and Chasten Buttigieg have adopted two babies, and now they’re getting their chops busted by Republicans who mock them for wanting to have a family…

I guess “family values” for Republicans only apply to traditional couples. What a shame. I think Pete and Chasten Buttigieg are going to be fabulous parents. I wish them well, and I’m glad they took some time to adapt to their new life roles. All Americans should have that opportunity. Republicans should embrace the idea, especially if they’re serious about wanting to curtail abortions. Stop the slut shaming and moralizing and actually make some policies that would make the prospect of having children more workable and feasible.

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7 thoughts on “The Party of Family Values, my ass!

  1. Mary Beth Dooley says:

    Excellent blog this morning! I think society so often puts all the responsibility of caring for babies on mothers. Fathers are equally important in the early years as the mother. I was so fortunate that I had both my parents from day one. My mom & dad raised their children together. When I went away to college I realized just how blessed I am. My husband’s father was absent for most of his life. He has a wonderful mother and she did an amazing job. I respect her beyond measure. She raised 6 children one of which had Muscular Dystrophy and my husband start in life was full of medical challenges. His father was in the Navy and deployed most of the time. By the time Mike was 5 his dad was permanently gone. Mike was terrified of being a Dad because he didn’t have one. Well he’s the best Dad. We are raising our son together. I can’t imagine this journey without him. My point is paternity leave should be just as valued as maternity leave. You are right real famy values are valuing the entire family not some archaic role you think people should play. It is exhausting listening too people who can never understand what it’s like to be pregnant, have a period, ovaries or anything else a woman experiences because biologically it is impossible. The sheer audacity of this type of man makes me crazy. I am worried about what will happen the next election. The craziness of Trump will not die. It has a solid grip on this country and is choking democracy and civility out of America. I am more worried about the future than I have ever been before.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary Beth. I had an unusual upbringing myself. My parents owned their own business from the time I was 8 years old. They were always home, so I always had access to them. I was actually happy when they were out of the house.

      I really feel like a lot of Republicans are more interested in money and power than anything else. It didn’t used to be that way, but it seems that way now, especially post Trump. And so many people end up voting against their own interests because they’re more interested in supporting the party than the quality and qualifications of the individuals running.

      In Germany, new parents get a lot of time off… Americans would call it excessive. But the standard of living here is good, and there’s a lot less craziness and violence. I’m not saying there’s nothing crazy here… only that it feels much more normal than America does now.

      And again, this obsession with forcing women to have babies when they don’t want them is really disconcerting.

  2. The Republican Party has long been the Party of Big Money; it’s a trend that started early in its history (since the Grant Administration, I think) and manifested itself gradually. The modern GOP as we know it first flexed its political muscles in the 1912 Presidential election, which is best remembered for Theodore Roosevelt’s decision to run against his friend and former protege, William Howard Taft, as a third-party candidate. (TR was a contradiction in terms by today’s standards: a progressive conservative. Trump loyalists would call him and Dwight D. Eisenhower “Republicans in Name Only” or “RINOs.”

    The reason why it seemed like the GOP wasn’t like that before the 1990s was because its leadership was more circumspect about its policies, at least when it concerned its public face. This was partly because TR and Ike’s legacies as decent, patriotic Americans outshone lesser GOP leaders. I realize that both men had their flaws: Teddy Roosevelt relished war for much of his adult life and was an unabashed imperialist. Eisenhower avoided the use of U.S. armed forces (he avoided escalating the war in Vietnam during his two terms), yet his Cold War strategies of supporting pro-U.S. strongmen (in South Vietnam, Iran, and elsewhere) saw him relying on devious underlings such as Vice President Richard Nixon and cloak-and-dagger shenanigans by the Central Intelligence Agency. Nevertheless, both Roosevelt and Eisenhower were far more aware of ordinary Americans’ plightst than, say, St. Ronald Reagan or “Dubya” Bush.

    I’d say that you and I (who weren’t alive when TR and Ike were in the White House) first noticed how much the GOP loves power and money rather late in life. I voted for Reagan in ’84 and Bush 41 in ’88, so I can’t claim that I always knew the true nature of the GOP. I was 29 when I cast my first vote for a Democratic Presidential candidate in 1992. And I lived in a mostly-GOP dominated state, and still do.

    Republicans still deny this, but the modern “power at any cost” GOP got its second wind when our parents were in their 30s and 40s, I fear. We were too young (and in my case, naive) to notice. (That’s, of course, in the 1960s and 1970s, when conservative Democrats in the South and West left the party over the Civil Rights struggle and joined the other side.

    Forgive me for rambling on; I sound like a Poli Science prof giving a (dull) lecture, but yes…the Republican Party certainly loves to grab and attain political power.

    • I used to vote Republican mainly because I didn’t know better. I suspect many people vote the way they always have, without considering anything else. In my defense, I didn’t have the Internet in my life on a consistent basis until about 1999 or so.

      • Same here, my friend.

        Also, I was a Cold War era kiddo, and as liberal as I am, I detest Communism with a passion. So obviously I have a few conservative traits in my political worldview. I just don’t roll with the anti-woman, racist, wealth-at-any-price philosophies that dominate conservatism here and elsewhere.

      • I saw firsthand what communism does. I am not for it, either. But capitalism isn’t necessarily the answer. Especially when it’s coupled with sexism, racism, and hypocrisy.

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