It's the Economy, Stupid

That phrase's "Stupid" of address is usually meant as a joking reference to the self, but after 8 years of culturally conservative policies undermining the very values that so-called family values voters claim to support, I'm not so sure I mean it that way this time.


Beginning on Jan. 1, a grandmother in Arkansas cohabitating with her opposite-sex partner because marrying might reduce their pension benefits is barred from taking in her own grandchild; a gay man living with his male partner cannot adopt his deceased sister’s children.

Social conservatives are threatening to roll out Arkansas-style adoption bans in other states. And the timing couldn’t be worse: in tough economic times, the numbers of abused and neglected children in need of foster care rises.
And so does gay-hatred further undermine families. But I really started thinking about that last statement: "...in tough economic times, the numbers of abused and neglected children in need of foster care rises." Of course, we all know this: in tough economic times, domestic violence in general increases. It also increases when soldiers return from war. Crime also increases. And the number of abortions, which we need to keep safe and legal but which are friend to no one, increase during tough economic times.

The conservatives talk a good game about family values, but all of the actual policies that actually create the conditions that keep families happy and healthy are social-democratic ones. The conservative approach to family values is to talk about what "should" be -- and their definition is very narrow, something like a 50s sitcom -- and then punish people who don't fit the mold. The progressive approach is to fight for the policies that make life better for the most people, but never quite get the sound-bite out there that explains, "while the conservatives talk about what 'should' be, they pursue policies that undermine your family -- do you want talk, or do you want reality?" 

Sadly, I think the answer for a lot of conservative voters is that they want talk -- in fact, they want hate-talk: they want to condemn and despise and feel-superior-to. Those terrifiying Palin rallies towards the end of the campaign showed that all too well. But I think there are a lot of people in the US who voted for McCain "because of abortion" who need to be told that while he and his ilk have talked the talk, their policies lead to more abortions not fewer. And while progressives focus on saying "keep abortion safe and legal," their policies reduce the number of actual abortions performed. ("No Coat-hanger" really needs to make a comeback as a protest sign: after 30 years of safe, legal abortions people have forgotten that the price for illegal abortion is women's health and lives.) 

I believe the anti-abortion voter is, in many cases, in the cases where the person is also a humane, thoughtful person, a pre-progressive. There are a lot of good people out there who want to support Huckabee*-like initiatives to help the poor, but who just get their craw stuck on this one issue, abortion. But it's the economy, stupid! Support progressive policies, and watch those abortion numbers plummet! By gosh, I think if we go fully socially-democratic, we might get them down near zero! Better peoples' educations and prospects, and they are less likely to get knocked up. Better their bankbooks, and they're more likely to want and have the resources to care for every child they have, and they'll have them on purpose.


Which reminds me, you really should watch the stunning conclusion of THE CHUPACABRA HUNTER, at that link.


*NOT an endorsement of Huckabee, but one should note that his willingness to spend state money on the health and welfare of poor people in his own state was meritorious from a progressive standpoint, and was also the lead fact-of-attack his fellow Republicans used against him during the R primary.


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