Thursday, April 12, 2012

In Defense of Ann Romney and other "working" moms

It’s not like Mrs. Romney needs me to defend her, of course, but I continue to be disturbed by the reality that “accusation” is the greatest and most effective tool in electoral politics.  The nature of the “accusation” is not nearly as important as the “accusation” itself (as long as the “accusation” gains media traction).  It is the reality that politicians seem to find it necessary to “accuse” an opponent – or in this case, an opponent’s wife – even though the nature of the “accusation” is not clear but is clearly political.

DNC chair Hillary Rosen has taken exception to the notion that Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney thinks highly enough of his wife that he actually respects, and depends on, his wife’s opinions and perspective on the things that affect women.  Does Mrs. Romney’s opinion not count only because she is a housewife and stay-at-home mom?  Does Mrs. Romney’s opinion carry no weight simply because she has devoted her life to making a home and raising her own children?  Does Mrs. Romney’s opinion not count only because she is married to a successful businessman?  What exactly is the nature of Ms. Rosen’s “accusation”?  That Mitt Romney respects his “non-working” wife’s opinion – or – that Mrs. Romney chose to make a home and raise children rather than to take a paying job and complicate her life by forcing her to make choices she otherwise would not have to make, such as working late vs. getting to the PTA meeting on time, etc? 

I think maybe if there is someone who does not “get it”, it is Ms. Rosen who has insulted every stay-at-home mom (not necessarily including the “Real Housewives” reality series “moms”) AND the husbands who respect them, support them, and love them.  I suspect if there is a “War on Women”, it is perpetuated by those who continue to use women as a means to a political end, ostensibly in the name of “defending” them while taking cheap shots at them.  Were it not for the insults, one might suspect Ms. Rosen and the Democratic “defenders” of pandering. 

Ms. Rosen is only partly correct in saying many women are “forced” into the working world because of tough economic conditions.  Yes, there are men who as primary breadwinners have lost jobs and there are many women who have been abandoned by their men and forced to make choices they may otherwise have not made, but it is patently unfair to dismiss an entire segment of the US population only because they have chosen not to take a paying job but to stay home and work there.  And it is the most profound insult to suggest these women have nothing useful to say! 

As Mrs. Romney correctly pointed out, it is probably THE toughest job there can be; made even more challenging by the many not-so-well-to-do moms who make their own choices according to their own sense of what is truly of value.  These many stay-at-home moms drive used cars, not luxury cars.  They live in working-class neighborhoods, not in gated communities.  They sometimes go to the Laundromat because they cannot afford even a used washer or dryer.  They use generic brands rather than name brands.  They watch flea markets and rummage sales for good value, not soap operas.  In short, they are real women with real lives and real values devoted entirely to the well-being of their families.  Unlike Ms. Rosen, they do not have to defend themselves for their choices; and they should not feel compelled to do so.

I have no idea what kind of mom Ms. Rosen is, but judging by her words I suspect she has an elitist mentality when it comes to women who forego paying careers – and outright disdain for wives of affluent men who do not struggle financially.  Or is it only her disdain for all things and persons Republican who would dare challenge her president?  One can only speculate, of course, but the tables are turned now.  It is Ms. Rosen who has been forced to defend herself and the ridiculous comments she has made.  Good luck defending that which is indefensible. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not only did Mrs. Romney not need to work, but why should she take a job away from someone who might really need it?