The Definition of Family: I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

This weekend is the Values Voter Summit - yet another wearying conference where hateful conservative demagogues gather to preach at each other about how awesome they are and how horrible the rest of the world is.  This one features a veritable who's who of the hate movement, including the likes of Bryan "All Muslims are inbred and violent and should be deported from the U.S./Gay sex is domestic terrorism" Fischer, Christine "Masturbation is adultery" O'Donnell, and ex-Senator Rick "Man-on-dog/Frothy Mix*" Santorum.  You know, most of us who pay attention to this kind of thing were already aware that these are terrible, terrible people who should never be allowed any authority over other peoples' lives, but it's truly breathtaking the things they'll say in their "natural habitat", so to speak, surrounded by other like-minded haters.  Here's a clip of ex-Sen Frothy Mix, courtesy of Right Wing Watch, explaining how there are no families in poor neighborhoods:

The size and scope of government is directly related to the virtue of her people. Go into the neighborhoods in America where there is a lack of virtue, what will you find? Two things. You will find no families, no mothers and fathers together in marriage. And you will find government everywhere. Police, social service agencies, why? Because without faith, family and virtue, government takes over.
You know, we knew they wanted to redefine "family" to cut out all same-sex pairings, even those with children.  That's not news.  But now it seems Frothy Mix wants to go a step further and eliminate from the definition of family anyone except one woman, one man, married to each other, with children (probably only ones that are biologically theirs, but that's just an educated guess on my part).  Single parents and their children?  Are not families.  Grandparents raising their grandchildren because their children are single parents?  Are not families.  Hetero couples with children, who can't afford the $75 for a marriage license or who don't choose to partake in that social tradition?  Are not families.

I've got two big fuck-yous here.  The first is this:  You know what makes a fucking family, Mr. Frothy Mix?  Choices and love.  The choice to spend your life with someone.  The love you feel for a siblings of the heart, whether they are siblings in blood or not.  That makes a family.  There is a family-in-your-sense-of-the-word out in TN, two hetero parents, three charming daughters, living in one house with their cats and dog.  I have absolutely no blood relation to these people at all.  But for the year and a half that I lived in that part of the world, we called one another family.  My now-ex and I would go to family gatherings at their house.  When the husband graduated his military training and his parents couldn't make the drive up for graduation, my ex and I drove through the night to be there, because that's what family does.  I refer to them as my heart-brother and heart-sister, and their children are my nieces.  My fiance and I live together, with no children and no plans to, and we won't be married until Prop H8 is finally repealed.  We are still family, because we have chosen to be.  On the subject of single parents and single parenting: my parents divorced when I was 18, and my brother was 14.  For the years that my brother lived with my mom and my father lived elsewhere, were we no longer a family?  What about a man who has lost his wife and is parenting his children alone?  Because his wife died, are he and his children not a family?  That suggestion is sick, abhorrent, and morally wrong.  I cannot say it strongly enough, Mr. Frothy Mix.  Kindly remove your head from your rectal opening and look around you at the diversity of families that populate the world.  We are not all one-man-one-woman-2.5-kids.  That is not the only way of doing things.  And it is sickeningly disrespectful of millions of people and the families they have been born to or chosen, to claim that "there are no families" because you don't see enough married hetero couples with children.

Second, what the fuck is up with this way of referring to "poor neighborhoods" like it's another planet populated with a strange alien people called "the poor"?  The way you phrase this, it's *abundantly* clear you are not talking *to* poor people, but *about* them.  Are you poor?  From a poverty background?  No?  Then STFU on this moralizing-at-the-poor thing.  This is not the only place I've seen this attitude crop up recently, and it's also disgusting and wrong.  People living at or below poverty level are still, y'know, PEOPLE.  Not moral problems to be fixed, not some endangered species you need to discuss how to handle.  PEOPLE.  

Look for more to come from this Values Voter Summit, including a rant on the idiocy of the name.

*The "Frothy Mix" thing came from his offensive comments about gay marriage a few years ago, when gay sex-advice columnist Dan Savage decided to hold a reader contest to make up the most offensive/grossest definition of "santorum" they could.  The definition ended up being "The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter which is sometimes a byproduct of anal sex."  Savage put up a website touting that definition and readers and activists across the internet Google-bombed it to bring it to the top of the search rankings.  Go ahead.  Google "Rick Santorum".  I'll wait... Anyway, those of us who dislike his policies with great intensity will sometimes refer to him as Mr. (Senator, when he was) Frothy Mix because of it.


Mamana said...

First - darling girl, I am so proud of you; you are becoming the person I wish I had been long ago.

Second - I really can't wait to see what "values" they come up with. How about honesty, integrity, giving service to the needy, tolerance and acceptance? Those are my values, so my message to this conference is:

Please don't even think you speak for all of us, with your false and selfish "values" - you are welcome to them, but leave me with mine. The best thing about America is the total diversity of people and beliefs. There is no end to learning. I still choose to, why won't you?

BrianWS said...

This post is epic.....and brilliant.

Jadelyn said...

Amen. And...thank you. :-)

Sonneillon said...

This kind of thing goes hand in hand with Carl Paladino wanting to turn jails into dorms for welfare recipients so they can take lessons in "the personal things they don't get when they come from dysfunctional homes," such as... personal hygiene.

I don't know where this view of America's poor is coming from, but holy shit it's offensive and it's spreading.

Sonneillon said...

You're most welcome. Glad I could help. As someone who is currently on food stamps and living on the charity of her parents, whose husband has completed his bachelors and is currently in a program for his Masters, but has been forced out of his job (which was actually related to his area of study) into a job in pizza delivery, this kind of anti-lower class rhetoric is fairly significant to me. The folks who perpetuate it are usually vastly ignorant of what, exactly, poverty IS... and how it's institutionalized, and how it's cyclical, and how difficult it is to break out of it once you've fallen in. My husband gets special aid to continue to pursue his education, but for his Masters, he was forced to pay tuition out of pocket and then get it reimbursed. The reimbursement check was lost in the mail temporarily... and thus, our bank account was emptied of every single cent we had to live on for this winter. When you're poor, all it takes is one mail screw-up, one tax misunderstanding, one drunk ass hitting your only car, and whatever you've scraped together (but not too much, lest you lose the aid that makes it possible for you to try to save!) is just gone.

I'm not going to address everything that's wrong with Paladino and Santorum and their ideas because I'd be here all night, but the short answer is easy enough: Everything. When it comes to poverty, these guys need to STFU&L... for a few long, gritty, illuminating years.

Jadelyn said...

WORD. That is all.


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