Thursday, December 07, 2006


Social-CON Game

Okay, I took something of a light approach yesterday to the news of Mary Cheney's impending motherhood. But this reaction from social conservatives is simply maddening:
Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America described the pregnancy as "unconscionable."

"It's very disappointing that a celebrity couple like this would deliberately bring into the world a child that will never have a father," said Crouse, a senior fellow at the group's think tank. "They are encouraging people who don't have the advantages they have."

Crouse said there was no doubt that the news would, in conservatives' eyes, be damaging to the Bush administration, which already has been chided by some leaders on the right for what they felt was halfhearted commitment to anti-abortion and anti-gay-rights causes in this year's general election.

Carrie Gordon Earll, a policy analyst for the conservative Christian ministry Focus on the Family, expressed empathy for the Cheney family but depicted the newly announced pregnancy as unwise.

"Just because you can conceive a child outside a one-woman, one-man marriage doesn't mean it's a good idea," Earrll said. "Love can't replace a mother and a father."
The argument about conceiving a child outside a traditional family structure obviously echoes to the Dan Quayle-Murphy Brown flap of some 15 years ago. Calista Flockhart restarted it a few years ago when she elected to adopt a child alone.

But this isn't the same (if even single-parent adoption should even be considered intrinsically negative).

The major concern is that poor, unmarried young women will get the wrong message from wealthy single celebrities or otherwise powerful women who have the economic clout to raise a child by themselves.

There's a wealth of data showing that a child is likelier to experience up in poverty -- or be on welfare at least one point in his life -- growing up in a single parent household. One can understand that an impressionable young girl -- seeing a celebrity raising a child by herself -- might consider doing the same.

But that's not the case here. Cheney and Poe are in a committed relationship that they call marriage. This will be a two-parent household, though not the traditional variety. There is little danger of any economic hazards -- and hey, they "waited" to have kids until both parents were set in their professional careers.

Then, when Janice Crouse's wailing about Mary Cheney's decision
"encouraging people who don't have the advantages they have" is just nuts. What, she thinks girls will now want to dump their boyfriends for their favorite girlfriend and decide to have a baby together? Sorry, but the real world doesn't work that way.

If the issue is "love can't replace a mother and father," well, that battle was lost decades ago when courts across the nation ruled that single adults -- straight and gay -- could adopt children (Florida is a notable exception to allowing gays to adopt).

What's interesting here is that social conservatives would undoubtedly admit that there is a biological urge among women to want to have a child. Yet, they want Mary Cheney to ignore that urge -- for what would be ultimately a political decision rather than a personal one.

As I said, "maddening"!

UPDATE: The Blogger ate my homework -- or at least a major chunk of the end of my post. Now fixed (though I'm not sure I just wrote exactly what I had in mind last night!

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