Saturday, January 25, 2014

Going Down With Wendy Davis

I among others have suggested that feminists should not make Wendy Davis the poster-woman for their cause.

Do feminists really want to be identified with a mother who abandoned her children in order to go to Harvard Law School and then gave up custody because it wasn’t a good time for her?

Apparently, they do. Even the thoroughly estimable and often praised (on this blog) Kirsten Powers is rushing to defend Davis.

Her argument goes something like this: you would never accuse a male who left his children with their mother in order to go to law school or to serve in the military with child abandonment.

Let’s not call it a real argument. It sounds like it comes from a high school student who is learning how to play the double standard game.

Why do so many otherwise intelligent people torment themselves over the fact that men and women are different and that, to some extent, regardless of the culture, customs and habits affirm the difference.

Apparently, it’s just too much for some people to grasp.

The next thing you know they will want to ban “mother” and “father.” The new formulation will be gender-neutered parental person.

For the edification of Powers and others similarly tormented, it is true that males are normally not excoriated for abandoning their children when they go to war, but, then again, how many males do you know who are mothers?

Besides, if men are never said to be abandoning their children when they go to war, perhaps that means that everyone— except a few recalcitrant feminists— understands that they are not abandoning their children. They are protecting and providing for them.

After all, Naomi Schaeffer Riley’s column, quoted in a post yesterday, speaks for mothers who think less of a woman who abandons her children.

And Powers could also have read up on the work of Anne-Marie Slaughter, formerly head of policy planning in the State Department who chose to resign her post because her children, one of whom was a teenager, could not cope with her absence.

And, let’s not forget Sarah Palin. For all of her considerable political talents, Palin could not run an effective campaign for the vice-presidency and eventually could not do a good job as governor of Alaska because she was the mother of small children, one of whom was a baby with Down syndrome.

Obviously, Palin should have known this before accept her party’s nomination. And John McCain should have known it, too.

Obviously, mother and father are two distinct roles. A father might be a good caregiver, but he will never make a good mother. You do not have to have read too much Darwin to understand that a mother’s nurturance is of fundamental importance for a young child.

When a child loses a mother, human communities have universally replaced her with a substitute mother. As psychoanalyst and feminist Nancy Chodorow once explained: “Only women mother.”

Powers should put her high dudgeon in a lockbox. Her argument would be more persuasive if she did not indulge in intemperate rants, like this:

For crying out loud, she didn’t leave her children on the side of the road.  She left them to live with their father. It’s fair to criticize Davis for her misleading bio that implied she had been a single mother during law school. Instead, a misogynistic mob is determined to punish her for her parenting choices.

The fact that Davis did not leave her children on the side of the road is not a great recommendation for her moral character. She did leave them with a man who was father to one of them and step-father to the other. Apparently, Powers does not care that one of the Davis children had been abandoned by both father and mother.

Naturally, Powers calls out those who are criticizing Davis as misogynist. When reason fails, you can always fall back on name calling.

Who is Powers calling misogynistic? Why, mothers, of course. That was why I quoted Naomi Schaeffer Riley and why Riley quoted Anne-Marie Slaughter. If Wendy Davis turns off mothers, her political career, as Riley says, is over. Why would we not respect the views of mothers? They, more than anyone else, know how important it is to nurture a young child.

And they, more than anyone else will hold Davis in contempt because she abandoned and gave up custody of her children.

Here is the way Powers sees it:

But Davis never has said exactly why she made this decision, except to say that, “It’s not a good time for me right now.”  It’s reasonable to assume she made the best decision she could for her children. Which is probably why, in the end, both of Davis’s daughters are supporting her candidacy.

You do not need to know why she made the decision. She stated explicitly that her decision was not about her children it was about “me.” True enough, she did not lose custody of her children. She relinquished custody voluntarily. Perhaps she knew that if she didn’t the court would have taken them away from her. After all, she had abandoned them to go to law school.

What kind of mother believes that her children will be better off not being raised by her? Even by Powers’ reasoning— such as it is— Davis’s heroism consists in declaring that the best thing for her daughters was not to be brought up by her.

The fact that the girls are now supporting their mothers’ candidacy means nothing. There is no such thing as politicians children who do not support their parents.

Yesterday, I suggested that it would be a bad idea for feminism to jump aboard the Good Ship Wendy Davis. That ship is sinking fast. If Kirsten Powers is indicative, the efforts to bail it out are becoming increasingly desperate.

My advice: take your losses and move on already.


Dennis said...

The specter of a group of Democrat women sitting around making fun of a male's disability is indicative of how they really feel. Unguarded moments are when the real truth comes out. It is why much of the Obama administration is scripted and lacks transparency.
It is amazing how feminists want to play "hard ball" and demonstrate that they have the ability to compete in the arena of ideas, but as soon as it gets rough they need the protection of being a woman. Any challenge is sexist, misogynistic, a "war on women' or mean spirited.
Are we supposed to believe that terrorists, dictators, et al are going to take people who ask for special treatment seriously? It is one of the reasons our foreign policy is in such shambles. Take one look at the State Department and listen to the justifications proffered.
When I got reassigned to SEA duty in 1968 I had a wife and three small children. My family got every bit of money I made and I survived on Travel funds, hazardous duty pay, winnings from gamboling, et al. Does Powers think I enjoyed or desired to be away from my family and miss that period of their lives. Why does this woman think I, and the many men who have answered the call to duty, did this for? Just who does she think made her life possible?
This is the cold hardness of what feminism really is all about. There is nothing greater or more important than themselves. Only the travails of being a woman has value. It is why we are subjected to such drivel as "What do women want?" Why would women's wants be any more important than mens? We survive and prosper because of each other not in spite of each other.
Powers is only marginally better than the Wendy Davis' of the world. Today's feminists have no respect for life, the systems that make life possible, the people who make it possible, et al. There is a part of me that wants to see a week where women can only use what they have invented, but that would require seeing something larger than one's self. I suspect there is a reason why GOD ensured that one gender did not hold the key to the continuation of the species.
Feminism takes no responsibility for its actions for it is always someone else who must takes the blame. It is why the government is such an integral part of feminism. What government has ever not been a disaster and incapable of doing a significant part of what they are constituted to accomplish?
There are two very important concepts that drive every problem or issue we deal with today: RESPECT and RESPONSIBILITY. Something that Wendy Davis and her cadre will never possess. Understand the import of those two words and one has the solution to almost everything.

Anonymous said...

Misogynist... that's a good one. More debasing of language. No wonder Powers has a problem with the word "abandoned." She can't even get her own words right.

Oops, Kirsten... in terms of Davis' choices, you forgot about her abandoning her husband shortly after her Harvard Law student loans were paid off. Detect a pattern?

Please keep in mind Ms. Davis now aspires to be chief executive of the State of Texas. No judgment here, just evaluating the character of the people who have CHOSEN to run for high office.