Having a few foreigners on staff requires us to do a bit of explaining when it comes to American politics. Usually, any questions posed to us are answered rather quickly, and we take great pleasure (and pride) in seeing their faces light up with understanding. However bizarre our way of doing things may appear, one thing is clear: democracy is of the utmost importance in the United States. No matter where they come from, foreigners understand and respect that.
But there is one question we just haven’t been able to answer to our satisfaction — at least not without exposing the absolutely disgusting hypocrisy of people who claim to be interested in preserving the beautiful tradition of freedom and autonomy that this country represents. The question was posed simply enough: “The conservative party’s devotion to preserving the life of the unborn is admirable, but their concern seems to only extend to the unborn. Why are people so devoted to life in the name of God treat the very children they have saved as unnecessary burdens on the state, to be excised like so many malignant tumors?”
The question had arisen shortly after an article on Mother Jones had started to make the rounds around the newsroom, one in which the conservative presidential candidate Rick Santorum, stated in no uncertain terms that the nation is “falling apart because of single moms.”
Santorum believes that welfare is “paying” people to have sex. He doesn’t come right out and say it, but his emphasis on single mothers makes his point clear: welfare pays women to have sex. The Republican party wants to take away the oral contraceptive pill, make abortion in every instance illegal, and force women to carry even still born children to term, at the risk of their own lives. Essentially, they want to take away a woman’s ability to decide when she starts a family — or make any other reproductive choice for herself.
And they also want to penalize the result of having no choice as to when they start a family once they do. Per Santorum, the cause of crime in this country is directly related to the number of single-parent households and the only way to stop it is to no longer assist them financially. Not only does he have plans for welfare, he also believes it is essential to eliminate the head-of-household exemptions provided for unmarried parents filing taxes, while tripling the exemption for parents who are married — so long as they are man and wife, not any other configuration.
The answer to the question was quite embarrassing, for obvious reasons. It has become quite clear that the conservative party doesn’t actually care about the unborn children they are fighting so hard to preserve. If they did, they would understand that education and access to healthcare and day care are essential. But they mock education and hate the idea of providing healthcare or any other form of help, and they rail against women who try to raise children on their own.
This clearly isn’t really about creating better lives for people, but creating a society in their image, regardless of what doing so will have on personal liberty, privacy, and society as a whole. Put simply, these individuals are an embarrassment and a threat to this country and everything it stands for. Please known that they do not speak for all of us.
Header image by Gage Skidmore.