May 12, 2013 6:20 AM

Today in Weapons Grade Stupid: If not for all those single mothers sucking at the public teat....

The census demographers said that single motherhood, on the increase since the 1940s, has accelerated mindblowingly. The birth rate for unmarried women in 2007 was up 80 percent in the almost three decades since 1980. Just between 2002 and 2007, it was up 20 percent…. Statistically, you can avoid poverty in America by getting a high-school degree and waiting to get married before having a child. It’s really that simple.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away- for simplicity’s sake, we’ll call it “Minnesota”, there lived a sportswriter who was pretty good at his craft. As sportswriters (not normally my favorite life form) go, Joe Soucheray was definitely upper-echelon. Not generally known for the jock-sniffing that characterizes most sportswriting, Soucheray had a way of finding a story and making it interesting. Still writing for the St. Paul Pioneer Press after all these years, Soucheray has taken up dabbling in social commentary. The results have made me realize that Soucheray is just another knuckle-dragging Conservative who sees nothing amiss about blaming our problems on single mothers.

Right; if only they had a man in their life….

in a perfect world, all children would be born into stable families with two loving parents (the respective genders are another issue altogether). Here in the real world, single-parent households are increasingly common. Not ideal for raising children, certainly; but it is what it is. The question’s simple: do we punish single parents (usually mothers) for having a child without the benefit of a wage-earning male partner in their lives, or do we accept that we have a collective responsibility to care for children?

Soucheray’s argument can be boiled down to the belief that a woman needs a man before she has a baby. That simplistic view obfuscates the reality that men can abandon a marriage or relationship before a baby is born and avoid responsibility for the life he’s helped to create. Women become single mothers for all manner of reasons; not all of them having to do with a man abandoning them. Are we to judge them for circumstances that are often beyond their control? Is Soucheray really that insensitive and intolerant? As if I even need to answer that….

A woman carries a baby for nine months, and if she gives birth sans wage-earning partner…well, someone needs to step up and raise that child. In many cases, it’s the mother; we should be grateful that the child is being cared for, not judging the mother for not having a man with a paycheck in her life

[W]hen more than 600 out of every 1,000 children born to women in their early 20s have single mothers, can anybody come up with a percentage for how many of them will flourish?

Single mothers in their early 20s instantly become the have-nots, statistically, in income and education. For so many women to have so many children without a husband is a complete abdication of personal responsibility, which leads to a complete shunning of any civic responsibility. We are going broke. And if you think taxing higher-income earners more is the answer, you haven’t done the math. The men who are party to these births are, of course, just as irresponsible, just as uncommitted to a civic responsibility to take care of their own.

The truth is- and Soucheray would know this if he cared to do a modicum of research- is that we’re NOT going broke. That’s a Conservative canard which has become an article of faith among the intellectually and morally lazy. Money is not our issue; what we do with what it most certainly is. As long as we’re bailing out Wall Street, subsidizing the military-industrial complex, providing tax cuts to the wealthiest among us, and allowing corporations to pay nothing in taxes (I could go on)…. We may be morally bankrupt, but we’re certainly not financially bankrupt.

Taxing the wealthiest may not be the answer in Soucheray’s mind, but asking everyone to pay their fair share is simply the right thing to do…and the extra tax revenue could fix a lot of problems. Why Soucheray is standing up for the 1% is something I’ll have to leave for another time.

Instead of blaming single mothers for our problems, how about we take a hard look at where our financial priorities lie? It’s safe to say that for Conservatives like Soucheray the social contract is an outdated abstract concept that appeals only to losers and Liberals. No, it’s far more important to throw yet more money at our military and providing tax breaks for the “job creators” who never seem to create jobs.

Instead, Soucheray would punish young women for having children out of wedlock. Here’s a newsflash, Joe: This is the new reality. You may not like, and it’s certainly not ideal, but this is the world we live in. Are you REALLY proposing to penalize single mothers- and, more importantly, their children- because they don’t have a man in their lives?

As if putting a ring on it is always the answer….

We hear a hue and cry for all-day kindergarten, which I suppose makes sense because the children have no place else to be if their single mom is fortunate enough to have a job. Whole bureaucracies have been created to cut general assistance checks and food payments and housing vouchers and health care provisions. All because there is no conventional family in place to take care of these obligations.

I am hopelessly conservative in these matters and not in tune with all the wonderful life choices encouraged by liberal dogma.

Right; because caring for our fellow human being when we could be paying for bombs, guns, and yachts for Wall Street scions is positively criminal. Accepting the world as it is and trying to make things better is…gasp…SOCIALISM!! If single mothers REALLY cared about their children and their own future, they’d recognize and admit that without a man in their lives they’re of little use to society. Shouldn’t they get married so they’ll have an income stream sufficient to providing for the needs of their children? Isn’t the social contract just another way of encouraging dependency?

Like too many Conservatives, Soucheray uses “Liberal” epithetically and “Conservative” as if it’s the very definition of rectitude and virtue. That’s every bit as dimissive and offensive as it is untrue; I’m surprised Soucheray’s arm isn’t in a sling from all the self-congratulations. I could spend a good deal of time, brain cells, and column inches arguing that Conservatives are the biggest part of the reason for the mess we’re in, but that’s another argument best left for another time. I’m not sure I could begin to do justice to the depths of Soucheray’s ignorance and arrogance here (the word “Neanderthal” comes immediately to mind).

Might I suggest, Joe, that you go back to your cave and stick to sportswriting, where ignorance and a lack of simple human decency isn’t necessarily an impediment to success? Oh…and you might want to take care of those scabs on your knuckles before they become infected.

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on May 12, 2013 6:20 AM.

A suggestion for those on the Rabid Religious Right- try reading your Bible was the previous entry in this blog.

Ah, so this is the infallible, immutable Word of God is the next entry in this blog.

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