Willful Ignorance

I have been avoiding writing about politics this week because the “stay-at-home Mom versus working Mom” stuff makes me tired and we still have 7 months to go. The trumped up and fake debate about women’s so called choice to work or stay home with their kids gets trotted out every election cycle as a wedge to drive voters into slots. Talk about Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – why didn’t they run the old clips from the Hillary Clinton “cookie” flap from 1992?

Let me be very clear [picture Obama’s non-pointing emphasis hand gesture]  – there is no Working Mother Wars, just like there is no War on Christmas, no War on Guns and no War on Religion. The real war is the War on Truth, also known as Willful Ignorance.

The willful ignorance of potential voters is the one we should really put some money into correcting. Truth panels and issues only debates! Three month campaign season limit! Reform the electoral college! Mandatory paid holiday for voting!…and other fantasies.

I heard a woman on NPR this morning say she was voting for Romney because “He’s not a communist like Obama”. Seriously folks, my blood pressure can’t take seven more months of make believe. Truth is an optional requirement for any stated opinion about politics anymore. Politicians & talking heads lie purposely all the time because they know you can never unmix the Kool-Aid. Once you hear a false statement, even if they apologize for it later, it is out in the world and repeated. And re-tweeted.

Josh Mandel, as opportunistic a politician as you could hope to meet, lies about Senator Brown, who he is trying to unseat, and the lies get repeated. And published. Mandel is a well-funded irritant that needs watching and countering.

In all this Hilary Rosen v. Ann Romney coverage I would love to see more focus on what it means to be able to choose to stay home with your kids rather than work for wages, rather than Rosen’s words and Romney’s gloating.

There is a very deep layer of classism and racism buried in the word “choice” when used by people like the Romney’s of the world. Pick up a little women’s history once in a while folks! The idea that women can stay at home and raise their kids if they “choose” to live on one paycheck is a white middle class assumption stemming from the industrial revolution and codified by post-WWII American prosperity. Some people dream of being able to make that choice.

As soon as we let ourselves get distracted by the us-against-them we no longer have to examine the assumptions and biases we perpetrate in our culture. On the backs of all women… I am sliding into a  feminist studies lecture so I will stop.

Lecture notes will be posted at the end of the semester.

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