LONG BEACH (gorewon2000.net) February 17, 2001 -- Clarence Thomas, who made a clarion call to forgo civility in a speech at The American Enterprise Institute's Annual Dinner, accuses those who disagree with rightwing "family values" policies of "intimidation".
People who say children should be raised in two-parent families "are often accused of trying to impose their values on others," [Clarence Thomas] said. He called such criticism "purely and simply an in-your-face response. It is, in short, intimidation." -- Associated Press, February 13, 2001
Where to begin with such specious swill? Well, first off, there is a world of difference between expressing a personal opinion, stating a personal opinion as fact, and trying to change public policy to control the behavior of others. I have no problem with the first, but a big problem with the second and third. For instance, I have a big problem with laws giving married or "straight" people special preference in matters of adoption. I consider those kinds of laws "impose[ing] their values on others." What else do you call it?
Secondly, all of us have two parents (as far as I know), regardless of their relationship to each other, or where they live, so I have no idea what a statement as general as "children should be raised in two-parent families" means… does it mean married parents? Parents who live and parent together? Parents who parent equally?
The fact is, I grew up with two parents who were married. Did I see much of my father? No, not really. Was it because he was a workaholic? No. Was it because he was out having a good time? No. Was it because he didn't love me? No. Why, then? Well, the reason I didn't see much of my father growing up, is because he was in the military. That's right -- the same military that the rightwing adores, is the military that separates spouse from spouse, and child from parent. And the military doesn't just separate families when a serviceperson is overseas. Nope. There are field exercises, maneuvers, "schools" and something called "pulling duty" -- just to name a few. All require that you be away from home for a time -- ranging from a day or two, to years at a stretch. Some assignments allow you to take your family along, and some do not. Period. Do you think the soldiers who served in the Vietnam War took their families with them?
Actually, had my parents been divorced and living in the same geographical area, and had my father been a civilian, I probably would have seen a lot more of him than I did. But they weren't, he wasn't… and I didn't.
And yet, we don't hear the rightwing attacking these military families for not doing what they "should" do, criticizing the military complex for its policies, or enacting laws to give civilian applicants preferential treatment over military applicants in matters of adoption. Nor do we hear the rightwing railing about widows and widowers (with children) who refuse to remarry. We don't hear them praising families where two parents live together, raise children together, but don't marry. And we especially don't hear them praising this kind of "two-parent family" when those parents are gay.
The fact is, the rightwing chant about "two-parent families" isn't about two-parent families at all. It is about what rightwing propaganda is always about: conformity, rigid gender roles, and personal sexual or religious morality. It is about telling successful families raising healthy, happy children that they are doing it the wrong way. It is about judging parents' romantic choices, and not their parenting. It is about making single parents (particularly women) feel inferior to their married cohorts, even if they are, in reality, superior when it comes to parenting. It is about attacking parents who make choices they don't approve of. It is about the same one-size-fits-all nonsense that rightwing propaganda is always about.
Perhaps Mr. Thomas doesn't know he is lying -- is just too... "intellectually challenged" to realize that he is -- so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.