Especially when that bullshit is so patently in a topic that I know, inside and out. If that situation arises, than I am bound to stick my Nosy McNoserson into the thick of it and SAY something.
Which is why I need to Stay OFF the NPR page in Facebook.
It was innocent enough. First a headline stating Louisiana's new policy requiring women seeking LEGAL abortions have an ultrasound prior to the procedure.
My comment? "So we should require any man who whips out his penis to view castration videos. You know, just in case."
I got lots of "like" on that comment. Really, I was just trying to point out the one sided nature of this law. All on the woman, yet again. All under the assumptions that women haven't thought through their reproductive choices, and if they KNEW more, they may choose to carry the pregnancy to term. Cause really, women are silly, hormonal creatures and they need help to know what they want.
I left it alone after that for I could feel my blood starting to get heated, and what good would that do?
Oh, but today. Today I got into it.
It was this headline:
Sigh. I just HAD to get into it. I just HAD to...
Let me break this down for us all.
The issues of child care, poverty, womens rights and the rights of children are heavily intertwined. Overlying many of these issues are confounding issues of racism and sexism. This can make this issue get super heated because with all of this tangled up, the facts get obscured.
However, strip it all down and the fact remains that the US wants to punish women for having babies. The babies that the US needs to grown it's future citizenry and economic base. Which isn't the point, apparently. Because Women - the silly hormonal creatures who can't make informed decisions about their reproductive health - either shouldn't be having a baby ( but no abortions!) OR should be committed to the idea that they will now be staying at home post childbirth, regardless of their income or mental health.
Apparently, according to many of the NPR commenters, having children is a "Life choice", and if "You can't afford it, you shouldn't have kids".
Refer back to my point: The US needs babies to grow it's economic base and citizenry. Of course, some would like to control the "type" of people who are reproducing. I suspect these people are also those who want "their " America back.
The other comments were around "Why should I pay for You to stay home". Parents, as we all know, are Lazy. Furthermore, the labor of raising children is worthless ( which is why early childhood educators are often paid minimum wage). I think there were some comments about "Breeders" vs the responsible working populace. Of course, we know that Parents spend no money on anything. They sit at home, waiting for someone to pay them for breeding.
Sigh. Bigger Sigh. I was getting tired. There were no facts being used, only opinions about who should be allowed to have children, who shouldn't and the archaic idea that no one is responsible to anyone else unless you are related by blood. And even then, it's iffy. Pointing out that the policies were intrinsically misogynistic was inflammatory. I was another bleeding heart liberal who wanted free stuff for everyone!
Let me tell you some things I do know from a personal and professional viewpoint.
1. Healthy Happy Moms = Healthy Happy Babies. Worrying about money and health care and if you are going to have a job after having a child..or worrying that every time that child gets sick that you are going to get fired? Not healthy.
2. The first 5 years of life are CRUCIAL in brain development. This doesn't mean that a child MUST be with blood relatives, but rather that the care the child receives should be optimal. It is less important Who provides the care. In the first 5 years, the foundations for brain development is well established. Experiences grow the brain. No experience or poor quality ones means No brain growth. The more we understand the brain, the more we know that it isn't K-6 where the real "stuff" happens. That is just the consequence of the 5 years prior, the brain starting to use all the information it has been acquiring for those 5 years.
3. There remains a pay gap between men and women in the US. Women are generally paid less than men for the Same labor. Women in "traditionally" female jobs, such as Teaching and Nursing? Paid less. A double whammy for being female AND in a traditional "job". Being a woman in Early Childhood Education? Barely worth it. You are doing a job that anyone could do, and you should be grateful we are paying you minimum wage. Plus, because you are a polite nice woman, you are happy to subsidize the lower pay of other women by accepting less than a living wage.
4. A majority of people receiving child care assistance are working very difficult jobs, for very little income. They ARE working full time, and then some. They don't receive benefits such as paid time off, or health insurance. When their child is sick, they don't have sick time to cover it. They get fired from jobs because of having children who need to stay home due to illness or school vacations. I worked as the Improper Payments Specialist for the State of New Hampshire. Very, Very little of the "Fraud" was being committed by working parents not in their jobs or other wise trying to bill for services they did not receive. It was usually small business owners ( women) trying to make up the crummy wages by billing full time, all the time. Was it worth it? Not usually. If we caught them, they got banned from utilizing the child care program for many years AND a Fraud conviction.
5. Hordes of Single Mothers are out there, wanting to raise babies on their own. Because our welfare system is collectively so wonderful, it is worth living in poverty to get these super benefits.
OK, I must stop laughing now. Do you know what the income limits are for your state?
For New Hampshire, the poverty level for a family of 3 is $18, 310. Living the good life, they are. For many young families, the income of the second parent puts them over the line for assistance, so it becomes worth it to NOT live together because they will get the assistance they need that way. Our system is actively encouraging young families to not stay together. If they do, they get nothing. No health care. No child care. No housing subsidy.
Nice family values there, right? Don't stay together because if you do, we penalize you. Either lie to us about your situation ( and be punished if caught) OR don't stay together in order to get the most minimal benefits.
Quite a little Gordian Knot there.
Oh and did I mention that in order to get benefits you MUST be working? The time limits of TANF ( cash assistance) changed in 1996, when the 5 year life time limits were introduced. The old trope of the "welfare queens" is passe. There are no "welfare queens". Did I mention that if you have another baby while on TANF that there is a penalty? Cause there is. They take away a percentage of the cash you receive for having another baby. You know, for "choosing life" and all.
So kids, what have we learned?
Women are incapable of making rational decisions.
Choose Life - If you are white and rich and married.
Mothers should be prepared to stay at home with any baby they do have. Because we don't promote quality child care through subsidies for low income families, nor are parents able to afford what it would really cost to provide care to a child. Any mother who chooses to work for personal or professional reasons? Selfish bitches. Should have never had a baby in the first place.
Poor People should be prepared to be punished. Because they are poor. Stupid poor people.
Children born to poor parents get to be doubly punished with bad underfunded schools, cruddy non existent child care, and bad public policy which penalizes their parents for staying together. Stupid poor kids.
Every (White) man for himself. If you worked harder, you wouldn't be poor. If you were smarter, you wouldn't be poor and under educated.
If you are a woman, you can't be trusted to make decisions....AND your labor is not worth as much as a Man. Plus you are a selfish bitch if you like working and want to be a Mother. Mothers should be all sacrificing, you know. The Cult of Motherhood Demands IT! Until we lose our shit and drown our babies in tubs. Then we should be killed for betraying the cult.
If you are a child, we don't care about you. Until you arrive, undereducated and in poor health, at the doorstep of the economic workforce...and then, well, what can you expect? Me to pay for You?
Challenging anyone on any of these views makes you a "bleeding heart liberal", a communist, a socialist, a dreamer, a hippie, someone who is crying "victim" and asking others to "pay your way"...Cripes, and I didn't even get INTO institutionalized Racism in this discussion.
There are moments when I deeply fear for the seeds that America is sowing. Deeply Fear.