Despite the leftward tilt in Tuesday’s election, voters in three large states — California, Arizona, and Florida — passed propositions defining marriage as heterosexual only. There are several reasons why these propositions passed, but one stands out as worthy of mention, at least regarding the California vote.
The pro-amendment forces were running a devastating ad showing a self-satisfied San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom shouting wild-eyed at a rally that same-sex marriage was inevitable “whether you like it or not.” The announcer then said darkly, “It’s no longer about tolerance. Acceptance of gay marriage is now mandatory.” Many fence sitters were turned off by Newsom’s arrogance.
It’s not just Newsom’s arrogance. The whole gay rights movement is increasingly dominated by shrill activists whose in-your-face tactics turn off straight people. Their behavior confirms the fears of many, that the gay rights issue is not about simple tolerance; it’s about defiance — brash, arrogant, fist-shaking, you’d-better-accept-this-or-else defiance. Normal people will react negatively to that kind of pushiness every time, regardless of the merits of the cause.
Sarah and Todd Palin have just announced that their oldest daughter, Bristol, age 17, is five months pregnant. Bristol and the baby’s father intend to get married.
They likely timed the announcement to ward off the sick rumors that their infant son, Trig, was actually Bristol’s. I am more interested in the stark contrast between how the Palins are handling this and something Obama said a few months ago.
Barack Obama, March 29, 2008, Johnstown, PA:
“I’ve got two daughters, 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”
Sarah Palin, September 1, 2008, campaign statement:
“We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support.”
I don’t care what your political persuasion is, which of these two statements is the more compassionate and humanitarian?
Kathleen Parker takes a break from the rantings of this political season to reminisce with a friend about what’s really important. Hint: it’s not the government.
The family is what gives our life meaning and makes our nation strong. The family is also what keeps government at a respectful distance — working for us and not the other way around.
All our political choices should be made in the service of that understanding. That’s all. And we’ve got work to do.
Kathryn Jean Lopez recently wrote a review on the movie Juno. She made some good observations about the phenomenon of arrested development that seems to be more widespread among young men these days (as typified by a character in the movie).
More interesting, however, was the response that Lopez received from a reader. Here are some key snippets.
Feminism’s second wave has had many, many unintended consequences, one of which is that men, not just women have been liberated from their traditional roles. Many men simply don’t feel the need to grow up because women have quite plainly said they don’t need or value men. “You say you can take care of yourselves? Fantastic! I’m gonna go invent computer games and play them for as long as I want.”
. . .
You (women) said you could take care of yourselves, and you’re doing so just fine. You treat them as disposable, dispensable, replaceable components of your lives and so they’re disengaged from you and they choose not to make commitments to you. The dissolution of a commitment to marry and have children has enormous negative financial and emotional consequences to a man. Why should they make such commitments when women consider such commitments easily violable, valueless, and trivial? Is there anything about the response of men to our culture and the choices of women that really surprises you?
The two genders are like magnets — let the opposing polarities face each other, and there is a strong attraction that binds them together; but try to force the same polarities together, and they repel each other.
Like it or not, men and women are different, and any effort to force them into absolutely equal roles is doomed to fail. This does not mean women must be forced into a box. It means simply that men and women have innate but unique qualities that should be respected and encouraged.
Mark Richardson debates feminists who argue that in marriage, men have all the autonomy while women carry all the burdens of parenthood.
If a man held autonomy to be a key aim in life he would never marry and never consent to an active fatherhood. Marriage and fatherhood lock men into a life of work and responsibility in which there is rarely time or money for a man to do as he pleases.
It’s not an easy thing for a man to adjust to and increasing numbers of men appear to be opting out or at least delaying their commitment to married life.
Most men, though, do sacrifice the larger part of their autonomy to work, marry and have children. They do so because of an impulse to find love and a soul mate; because of a sense that becoming a husband and father are the proper “offices” for an adult male through which their lives are completed: because of the instinct to procreate to pass on something of themselves to future generations; and because of paternal instincts to have children to love and to guide to adulthood.
Men are in their natures protectors and so there is a level at which meeting the burdens of fatherhood is a self-fulfilment.
Well spoken! Feminists who disparage the male gender and the institution of marriage understand neither. Men and women have different but symbiotic roles — that’s a biological fact of life that we ignore to our peril. It is true that some men abuse their role and mistreat the women in their lives. But they usually end up just as unhappy as the women who abuse their roles.
Traditional marriage, when lived by a man and woman who really love and care for each other, is the best arrangement for human happiness for everyone involved — husbands, wives, and kids.
A recent AP report reveals growing evidence that non-traditional family arrangements are significantly more likely to be harmful to children.
Many scholars and front-line caseworkers who monitor America’s families see the abusive-boyfriend syndrome as part of a worrisome trend. These experts and observers note an ever-increasing share of America’s children grow up in homes without both biological parents, and say the risk of child abuse is markedly higher in the non-traditional family structures.
“This is the dark underbelly of cohabitation,” said Brad Wilcox, a sociology professor at the University of Virginia. “Cohabitation has become quite common, and most people think, ‘What’s the harm?’ The harm is we’re increasing a pattern of relationships that’s not good for children.
If empirical evidence strongly suggests that traditional two-parent families are best for kids, then why are some still so determined to defend non-traditional arrangements as acceptable alternatives? Because it’s not about the evidence; it’s about the twisted concept of “freedom” that our culture is determined to defend at all costs.
The traditional family arrangement is best for kids for the same reason that a regular maintenance routine is best for cars — that’s the way they were designed. When we start taking shortcuts and making exceptions, we risk creating problems.
Career expert Penelope Trunk presents evidence that Generation X’ers are rejecting the myth that parents can “have it all” — two high-demand careers, and kids.
Generation X knows that the belief that both parents in a family can have demanding, time-consuming careers outside the home is an antiquated one. Time has shown that it just doesn’t work.
Sure, girls can grow up to be anything, and boys can start companies and become millionaires. But there’s a limitation that no one talks about: Two parents working more than 60 hours a week each is bad for the marriage and bad for the kids.
Thanks to Gen X, the power-couple-as-parents setup will likely go down in history as just another terrible idea conceived by baby boomers.
The Gen X approach is more balanced: One full-time career, and one (ususally Mom) part-time, with plenty of room to devote to raising the kids. The result? Families that may not be quite as wealthy, but are a whole lot happier.