Monday, October 28, 2013

Triple AAA

No I am not talking about the American Automobile Association, instead this acronym is for Another American Asshole. I don't read HuffPo, I can aggrandize the news myself by actually reading the sources the news comes from. As for an opinion, they have that to and I have mine, so how many others do I need to hear from prior to forming my own? But to the MEMYMINE generation unless its "liked" "tweeted/re-tweeted" and then done something else on social media for the umpteenth time, news has no validity.

Then I was perusing American Prospect which discussed an outburst on HuffPo by one of the HBO Vice "journalists." He apparently no longer works for the company and like many bizzarre rants and sexist crap I have read on Valleywag or Gawker, I immediately thought, oh attention seeking much? Many of the most recent outbursts have oddly, coincidentally paralleled promtions of sites, apps or IPO's so I am unsure if this is part of the new PR Strategy to further show how tech has no room for women or this dude is an AAA. As for the show Vice I watched it once and thought, wow this is not good and something that should be on Spike, as to say masculine would be the least of it. But it is on HBO thanks to Bill Maher, another interesting individual when it comes to his attitudes towards women. The episode oozed testosterone and not in a fun Brad Pitt, George Clooney way. So perhaps this explains it in some sort of pre-historic man way or the dude is on something.

The article is here and it includes the link to HuffPo and it does have a caveman feel. I wish he had lifted his shirt and pounded his chest, sadly no.

But it also goes in line with another article I read about why many women still vote Republican despite a party that has no alliegence nor connection to many of the issues women face with regards to work, family and other safety net issues that they wish to discontinue or unfund. However, I did note, that in reality the article was more about the role of religion with regards to feminism and that in turn the poltical alignment is more with regards to that is the dominant reason in the rejection of feminism. Nothing much has changed there, but when I read where a woman felt she deserved to be abused I think I might have a new husband for her.

Thomas Frank wrote an excellent book, What's the Matter with Kansas, that discusses these same issues, voting against self interest and the role of faith in making decisions. As a person of faith I have dutifully kept my state and my religion seperate but equal. Some may try that, they might like it.

Single Mothers With Family Values

Published: October 26, 2013

WHEN Jennifer Maggio was in her early 20s, she was raising two children by herself on the $750 per month that she earned as a manager at a furniture store in Vidalia, La. She went to college at night and was living in subsidized housing when she felt God urge her to make an unexpected choice. “I started tithing. To tithe while I was living on food stamps — that was a tough decision,” she said. “The conversation I had with God was: ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. This is about the pastor wanting a new truck.’ ”

She dropped a $75 check in the offering bucket. “I kept doing it, and the bills continued to get paid.” Within a year, she got a job offer from a bank in Baton Rouge and “went from food stamps to a six-figure income,” she said. Ms. Maggio credits God, not government assistance, with helping her climb out of poverty. She later married and founded Life of a Single Mom Ministries to help other women. She hates talking politics, but says she has always been an “extremely conservative Republican.”

Politically speaking, Ms. Maggio is unusual: in 2008 and 2012, three-quarters of single mothers voted for President Obama. It’s tempting to dismiss a Republican single mom as a dupe persuaded to vote against her own interests, a victim of what Thomas Frank called “the politics of self-delusion.”

This assessment is misguided. One polling firm called single mothers “the largest progressive voting bloc in the country,” but Democrats should not take single moms for granted, even as Republicans have shown that they would rather sabotage the basic functions of government than extend the social safety net.

The single mothers who reject the politics of their peers tell us something about the limits of the liberal effort to redefine cultural ideals. The left has recast marriage not as a lifelong contract, but as a civil right, a choice, one of many paths to empowerment. An old-fashioned covenant that binds two people in mutual submission sits uneasily in a secular ideology that holds personal autonomy as the highest good.

But that covenant still means something to many Americans — including single moms, who have every reason to be cynical about traditional marriage. Some have been persuaded by evangelicals that they have a stake in defending conservative ideas about gender and family. Others have found their own way to a rejection of the left’s vision of social welfare. Feminism fails to resonate with many of the women who seem most likely to embrace it.

Since the rise of homes for “fallen women” and unwed mothers in the early 19th century, American Christians have worried about their plight with a mixture of compassion and contempt. If some of these women — widows and deserted wives — were the epitome of the “deserving poor,” others were a pox on their community, a sign that God’s law had been broken by divorce or extramarital sex. Maternity homes for unwed mothers concealed residents’ names to protect the honor of their families. The Christians who ran these charities believed that seclusion from the sinful world, combined with tutelage in child care and God’s word, could rescue these women and return them to respectable society.

Today, conservative Christians see that God-fearing communities are not immune to unplanned pregnancy or divorce. The president of Focus on the Family, Jim Daly, candidly tells journalists that his alcoholic father was absent for most of his youth. The anti-abortion ethic has motivated outreach to single mothers, and a new movement is beginning that is distinct from the familiar network of adoption organizations and crisis pregnancy centers.

Evangelicals are assuring single moms that God has a plan for them, and it still includes marriage — just not in the way they expected. Rita Viselli found herself pregnant at age 35 with the child of a man she was casually dating. She was a recovering drug addict, the troubled daughter of a single mother herself, and a recent convert to evangelical Christianity. In 2000 she began a Bible study for single mothers in her living room in Southern California. She taught them what she had realized: “I have a husband. His name is Jesus Christ. I have decided that he will be my daughter’s father, and she has grown up being told that God is her father. He is real in our house,” she told me. “He has provided for me and my child better than 10 husbands could have.”

This connubial language pervades the small but growing world of evangelical single mothers’ ministries. It has deep roots in Christian spirituality. In mystical marriage to Jesus, medieval nuns and laywomen found one of the few paths to spiritual authority open to them, an escape from repressive reality. When Margery Kempe, an English mystic born around 1373, heard Jesus say “I take you, Margery, for my wedded wife,” she “felt the fire of love burning in her breast.”

Evangelicals are creating a theology of single motherhood that allows the church to embrace single moms without relinquishing heterosexual marriage as the sacred cause of the culture wars. Pastors are beginning to acknowledge single mothers in their Father’s Day sermons and offer practical help like free car tuneups. Pam Kanaly, one of the founders of Arise Ministries in Edmond, Okla., said many pastors worried that outreach to struggling single moms would drain their coffers: “What they fail to understand is that it doesn’t take much to help a single mom, and when a single mother is whole and healed, she is the strongest member in the church. She is the best worker, a leader, an icon in the church.” The new evangelical single mom is no Hester Prynne, but a Christian heroine who surpasses married women in her suffering and service.

A similar shift is happening among African-American Protestants as they grapple with the fact that more than two-thirds of black children are born to single mothers. Black pastors — aware of the persistence of damaging claims about black sexual promiscuity — have traditionally emphasized marriage and condemned sex outside wedlock. “A lot of single mothers don’t attend church because they don’t feel welcome,” said LaVeda Jones, who founded Praying Single Mothers in Grayslake, Ill., north of Chicago. “But churches are getting better now.” Ms. Jones opposes abortion and shares many of white evangelicals’ values, but there are limits to the right’s appeal to single moms: like most black Americans, she votes Democrat.

Single mothers who tilt Republican do not toe the party line perfectly. They often object to the relentless attack on public welfare. Most of the women I spoke to had received public assistance at some point in their lives. But they worried about the spiritual costs of long-term reliance on the state. Single mothers’ main challenge “is not income inequality, but their relationship with the Lord,” Ms. Maggio said.

Not too many single mothers identify as libertarian, but those who do are passionate about it. Sharon Secor is “a minarchist libertarian, an anarchist who acknowledges that there is a small role for government,” she told me. Her views owe much to a history of nasty encounters with the state, from adolescent trauma in the foster care system to more recent run-ins with Child Protective Services. A college dropout who has read deeply in history and psychology, she fled upstate New York for South Texas with her three daughters. There she could home-school without state interference. She earns a living as a freelance copywriter and is writing a survivalist cookbook. “I despise the Democratic Party,” she said. “The Republicans just take your money and let you go about your business, while the Democrats want to take your money and get into your business and run your life.”

By no measure is Ms. Secor a “typical” single mom, if there is such a thing. She wears dreadlocks past her waist, has nose rings, and tattoos on her ankles and back, and converted to Hinduism because its doctrines helped her cope with the death of her infant son. She has a radical view of personal responsibility that compels her to reject child support and accept blame for domestic violence she endured: “No dude can do anything to you if you don’t allow him to.”

Yet she shares at least one conviction with other mothers I encountered. All reject the rhetoric of modern feminism, which they hear as shrill self-pity mingled with a false portrayal of feminine ambition. When I mentioned Sheryl Sandberg’s recent advice to young women to consider the selection of a spouse their “most important career decision,” they cringed. “The left runs its mouth about choice, but doesn’t respect a woman’s choice to stay home,” Ms. Secor said.

A person’s politics form the rickety bridge between aspirations and real life. For these single mothers, feminism insults both: they see it as a cult of self-love that denies women’s basic yearning, not to be free, but to be secure. “It is not God’s design for a woman to raise children on her own,” said Jennifer Turpin-Miller, a single mother involved in Rita Viselli’s ministry. “Feminism says, ‘we’re so independent, we don’t need anybody’ — and I don’t want to be associated with that, because I can’t do it on my own.”

No woman has articulated this viewpoint more forcefully than Maggie Gallagher, the past president of the National Organization for Marriage and once a single mom herself. Ms. Gallagher grants that single motherhood doesn’t prompt a conservative awakening in most women — a teenage encounter with “Atlas Shrugged” did it for her — but she suggests that all single moms long for a husband and provider: “Most single mothers vote Democrat because they are women who are raising children alone and need help. Obama in particular, and Michelle too, offers her husband as a kind of psychological father and husband figure.”

Surveys reveal a growing “marriage gap” between affluent and poorer Americans, and Ms. Gallagher points to this as evidence that liberal elites see the importance of the binding marital contract, even if they “are not willing to preach what they practice.” When the marriage rate differs between classes, ideals may not. Though the scholars Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas interviewed poor unwed mothers in Philadelphia, they found that these women saw delaying marriage, sometimes indefinitely, as proof of their high regard for the commitment contained in those vows.

Ideals persist long after the reality of a culture changes. They provide a language for critiquing modern life. They reflect the human desire to bind ourselves to institutions and make hard promises. Conservative single mothers understand the family as a set of binding relationships crucial to human identity. Their commitment to traditional family values is all the stronger because they are raising children alone.

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