Archive for April, 2012
The liberal press is making much hay over Mitt Romney’s inevitable loss in November if he does not secure the Latino vote. The meme goes that Mitt is alienating Latinos based on his stance on immigration.
Wrong. Romney is alienating Latinos based on his stance on illegal immigration. The more I think about this, the less sense it makes. Every country has a right, no, an obligation to secure its borders. Every country has a right to set in place procedures that govern who comes and goes in that country. Illegal immigration has been a thorny issue in the United States because we can’t figure out first, how to protect our borders and second, what to do with those folks who have already entered illegally. The problem is how to handle this in a manner that tips the hat to human dignity. The problem is NOT the virtue of the illegal immigrant. The illegal immigrant has committed a crime by entering the country illegally. Dealing with the criminality with some semblance of decency is our challenge but ignoring it is not an option.
Do Latinos want the situation ignored? Does dealing with a Latino who entered our country illegally somehow reflect on law-abiding Latinos? I think not. Law abiding Latinos should support efforts to humanely deal with folks who are here illegally. Some of our attempts to deal with the problem, such as the Arizona law now under review with the Supreme Court, are missteps in my opinion but that doesn’t mean we should do nothing. In fact, I find Mr. Romney’s notion of “self deportation” one of the best ideas going. If we make conditions intolerable for illegal immigrants (i.e. deny employment for starters) then they will want to go home.
The bottom line is Mitt Romney does not have a problem with Latinos. Latinos have a problem with Latinos and with facing up to their responsibility to support an effective immigration policy in the United States.
With “Rosengate” virtually gone from public discourse, as I knew it would be, there remains one related item that still gnaws at me. On HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”, Maher, a blunt, rude, confrontational SOB if there ever was one, made the following comment:
What she [Rosen] meant to say, I think, was that Ann Romney has never gotten her ass out of the house to work.
No one is denying that being a mother is a tough job. I remember that I was a handful. Okay, but there is a big difference in being a mother, and that tough job, and getting your ass out of the door at 7am when it’s cold, having to deal with the boss, being in a workplace, and even if you’re unhappy you can’t show it for 8 hours, that is a different kind of tough thing.
Now, I won’t get into whether or not Maher’s (or Hillary Rosen’s) comments actually apply to Ann Romney. I don’t know enough about Ann Romney to discuss her work history. But if we take Ann out of the picture, what Maher said is 100% dead on accurate.
As this debate about “working” women has gone back and forth there has been a politically correct bit of foolishness that has bothered the crap out of me.
Work in common parlance is defined as an effort that is rewarded with remuneration from another party, typically called an employer or a boss. By that definition women who earn money doing something at home, work at home. My wife works at home. Women who are not compensated for what they do at home, do not work at home. Do they expend lots of effort? Sure they do. Is raising kids, cooking and keeping a house clean hard “work”? Of course it is. But it ain’t a job and it doesn’t pay the rent and no amount of politically correct talk will make it any different.
So why do we tie ourselves in knots talking about what used to be called housewives, working at home? The feminist movement is largely to blame for this. They fought for equal access to the workplace and equal pay, both lofty and righteous goals, but along the way they passed judgment on women who did not want to enter the “rat race”. By the way, that is a concise way of describing the world Bill Maher referred to. It’s the rat race. Women who chose to stay at home and devote most of their effort toward raising children and “keeping house” were judged sell-outs, or not living up to their potential. This of course, is nonsense. Being a housewife is as valid a choice as sitting in the corner office sixty hours per week.
So now, when housewives hear that they don’t work, it is equivalent to hearing that they don’t contribute and that understandably gets them angry. Well let’s set the record straight. Housewives don’t work, in the sense of earning a living. They do contribute beyond measure. In fact I think it’s high time the old-fashioned word housewife returned to its former prominence. Women who steer the family ship deserve a title that rightly distinguishes them.
Working women and housewives are not the same. One is not better than the other. They are simply different. Why can’t we acknowledge that difference without a volcano of debate erupting?
Postscript: We won’t even touch the fact that most working women must pick up the housewife role at the end of the work day, adding to the complexity and resentment attached to these issues. That is for another post on another day.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) guards our 2nd Amendment rights with great virtue and patriotism. Yet somehow, I doubt the photo above would ever be used on one of their posters. The person pictured is Guardian and The Nation contributor Gary Younge who covered the recent NRA convention in St. Louis, Missouri. He described his experience to Chris Hayes this past weekend on “Up with Chris Hayes“.
Younge encountered folks who you would find quite decent and pleasant so long as the topic wasn’t guns. Once guns was the focus, there was a pronounced paranoia regarding whites being the target of an insurgent black America. A persistent theme was the need to have a gun because the threat to personal safety was ever-present. There was also the completely irrational notion that the federal government, led by Obama, was coming to take your guns away. As Younge points out, this fear flies in the face of Obama’s failing grade with gun control groups.
When you couple Younge’s observations of racial paranoia with the paucity of blacks at the NRA convention, you get the distinct impression that whites with guns represents a free nation while blacks with guns represents this:
Fans of the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate know that John Iselin was the hapless tool of his wife, a Communist plotter played by Angela Lansbury. A running joke in the film was that Iselin (modeled after Joseph McCarthy) always named a different number of Communists who had infiltrated the department of defense. His wife helped him settle on a number with the help of a bottle of Heinz 57 ketchup.
Fast forward to 2012 and truth becomes stranger than fiction. Tuesday, Florida congressman Allen West told a gathering that there were between 78 and 81 Democrats in Congress who are Communists. I desperately wanted to find a video of the original John Iselin declaration but RightWingWatch.org did my work for me.
Now could someone just tell Allen’s wife (who by scary coincidence is named Angela) to get him a bottle of ketchup so he can settle on one number?
The Occupy [fill in the blank] Movement has gotten some (deservedly) bad press and has temporarily faded from view. Critics pointed at the crudeness (and sometimes criminality) of the crowds. There were cries of no real message, no action plans, just slackers camping out instead of punching into work.
This observation is not particularly profound but if Occupy never has any future impact whatsoever, they have one lasting legacy. Were it not for Occupy, we would not be talking about wealth inequality in such a concise and powerful way — the 99% vs the 1%.
Almost as if a Hollywood script were being followed, who has the Republican party cast in the role of Presidential nominee? After his triple crown victory in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin, it is quite clear that Willard “Mitt” Romney will be Barack Obama’s opponent this coming Autumn. Mitt thinks a few hundred thousand dollars is chump change for speaking fees. Mitt starts the betting at ten thousand dollars. Mitt casually brags that his wife drives two Cadillacs. Mitt has a lobbyist on the payroll to help him get a permit to renovate his California mansion to accommodate an elevator for his cars.
In short, Mitt is the walking poster boy of the 1%. Let’s be clear. There is no inherent shame in being wealthy. I believe Mitt worked for just about every dime he has. It’s a matter of how you carry that wealth. Mitt seems to carry it totally oblivious to the fact that most people don’t share his experience. It is not so much what has gone into Mitt’s pockets but what comes out of his mouth that defines him.
While the Occupy movement never endorsed Barack Obama or his policies, you have to think they are tailor-made for him this year. They came along just in time to frame the debate in a way that makes some forget about Obama’s mistakes. By changing the language we use concerning wealth inequality, Occupy has made it virtually impossible for Mitt Romney to be elected President of the United States. That is the ultimate political impact even if that was not their original intent.