Two Other Quick Thoughts…

…about the debate.

1. I had hoped Gwen Ifill had asked a question about abortion last night—and it's not because Biden would have done well with his answer; his answer would have been almost exactly as disappointingly incomplete as his answer on same-sex marriage. It's because Palin's position on abortion (against abortion even in cases of rape and incest) is extreme to the point of newsworthiness. Perhaps Ifill was hoping Palin would volunteer the information when she was asked what policy differences she has with McCain, but of course she did not, instead spouting nonsense about how there are bound to be differences when you've got "two mavericks on the same ticket!" *wink* At that point, I was hoping Ifill would specifically inquire about Palin's abortion views, which are outside both the American mainstream and her own party's platform, but, alas, she did not. It was a big gap in the debate, in my opinion, on a subject I don't think Palin could have folksied her way out of.

2. The reflexive invocation of The American FamilyTM—Mom, Pop, two kids, a dog, and a cat in a little white house on Main Street in Smalltown, USA—was getting on my last good nerve last night. How many families do you know that fit that description? I know three—and one of them is a step-parent situation. Now, please understand I'm not denigrating families who fit this description (one of the three families of which I'm thinking is Misty's, who's a cool mom married to a cool dad with four kids so cool they almost make my ovaries twitch); I'm just pointing out that there are lots of other kinds of families in America, and, between the single moms, and homes headed by grandparents, and gay parents, and single-person households, and deliberately childless gay and straight couples, and unmarried long-term partners, and polyamorous relationships, and parents living with adult children, and best friends living together, and all kinds of families-by-design, I'm not sure that The American FamilyTM is even the most common construction anymore. (And, as Spudsy noted on the phone last night, most Americans don't live in rural small towns anymore, either.)

Often it's just a semantic thing: Instead of saying "so American families can pay for their kids' education," politicians (especially the Dems) should be saying "so American parents can pay for their kids' education," "so Americans can afford an education," so as not to suggest every family is made up of parents and children and acknowledge that many people pay for their own education. Once, it's no big deal—but you hear that shit over and over and over in every debate, every stump speech, every policy proposal, and it gets old. After awhile, it's just alienating for the millions of families who don't fit that unspoken description—not to mention actively hostile to the millions of people who would love nothing more than to look like The American FamilyTM but aren't allowed to. Talking about one specific family design like it's the ideal to which all of us should aspire, when not all of us want to and many of us legally can't achieve it, is just gross. And I really wish that American politicians would give it a fucking rest.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus