September 13, 2007
Women are Fickle, You Say?By Christopher Chantrill
Listen to the ladies in Iowa.
Stephen Spruiell did, and what he heard isn't good news for Republicans. Stephanie Frederick, who's "always been a Rush Limbaugh listener," says of Sen. Barack Obama: "A lot of what he had to say really made a lot of sense to me."
Of course, Frederick has a problem with Obama's position on abortion. Her friend Heidi Kelding, "a self-described conservative," she said she was drawn to Obama's candidacy because "We need something new," but that she would find it hard to get past his views on abortion.
These ladies are tired of the Republicans. For Kelding:
Woman is fickle, sang Luciano Pavarotti, now departed. But women are not fickle about the things that matter to them: relationships, children, health care, houses, and education.
It's interesting though, that if we try to enumerate the big domestic problems in America, leaving aside minor problems like uncontrolled immigration and terrorism, they would be marriage, neglected children, sky-high medical costs, ruinous house prices, and useless education.
Perhaps women have failed to pay attention to the things that matter because, in the last half century, they have listened to teachers like Simone de Beauvoir. They have been taught that the essence of life was "shaping the world" through participation in "productive labor" in the public economy as recommended in The Second Sex.
Only in the special world of Beauvoir where woman's maternal role makes her the "victim of the species" does this make sense.
Generation X women are starting to walk back from the feminist fantasy. Penelope Trunk, "Brazen Careerist" from Yahoo Finance, tells it like it is.
The challenge for conservatives is to learn to speak the language of the new Generation X-ers. Because what we offer gives them what they want. If families and children are returning to first place in the hearts of women-even educated women-then it's time to conduct a national conversation.
Why is it that women, who know that no two children are alike, can abide one moment longer the failing system of government education devoted to the principle of one-size-fits-all?
In his Ways of Seeing, lefty John Berger sneers that in western art "[A] woman's presence [in a painting] expresses her own attitude to herself, and defines what can and cannot be done to her."
Apparently what you can do to a woman in 2007 all across the world is take her children from her and dump them into a barely functioning government school for twelve years and all she does is lie back and think of England.
Even slum-dwelling mothers in the Third World have more self-respect than that. In Newsweek Jason Overdorf writes that
This means that 60 to 75 percent of poor slum-dwellers are paying private school tuition! Can Gen X mothers be far behind?
The conservative independent women of Iowa tell us that they are not listening to Republicans this election cycle. It looks like they will get a President Clinton, a Speaker Pelosi, and a Majority Leader Reid.
When these ladies are ready to listen to Republicans again, and it may be sooner than we think, we had better be ready with a story that women want to hear. Republicans want what mothers want, an education system that responds to the individual needs of every child.
When mothers get to send their children to the school of their choice then other beneficial things start to happen. Parents won't have to move to the high-priced suburb to get good schools; that means they can save on housing costs and spend more time with their children. Women will be able to open their own neighborhood schools and teach neighborhood children. Adults in the neighborhood would regain authority over the neighborhood children. Maybe rich philanthropists will start endowing ordinary schools instead of plutocratic universities.
Then we can say that America respects its women-as mothers as well as productive laborers.