There’s a meme being tossed around as a criticism of Sarah Palin, runningmate to John McCain in the upcoming presidential election. The idea is that since Palin is a mother with a family, she shouldn’t be spending time in politics. This is the type of rhetoric we used to laugh at when I was growing up in the 1980s as old fashioned, conservative thinking. It’s remarkable that these criticisms are coming from Obama supporters who must be self-described liberals.
The insult to women is obvious. Michelle Malkin launched an attack on the media who would continue this line of argument while failing to question the many successful mothers we see every day on news programs.
What struck me is the implied insult to fathers packaged up in this meme. When I was growing up, the culture typicall accepted that fathers spent their time working, came home expecting dinner and flopped down in front of the TV for the rest of the evening. Mother’s took care of raising the kids, preparing meals, cleaning house. A mom was liberated if she had a job in addition to all of this.
It doesn’t work that way any more.
Every father I know works his ass off participating in the family. Yes, most of us have full time jobs, but we come home to help out with the cooking, cleaning and nuturing. Perhaps it’s just the crowd I associate with, but we understand that being a father includes getting up in the middle of the night to change a diaper. And if my wife is busy with some other obligation, I am perfectly capable of caring for our two little kids.
When I hear the argument that Sarah Palin’s family is somehow suffering for lack of attention from her, it implies that any contribution from her husband is discounted. Futhermore, it implies that fathers, in general, make no contribution. We do.
I am proud that made it through washing out cloth diapers in the toilet! There’s hardly a more macho job for a dad than dealing with the dirtiest jobs. Ultimately, it’s this meme that ought to be flushed down the drain.