Pew Research recently released a study that said four out of ten households with children had a woman who was the sole or primary breadwinner.
This news didn't sit well with the guests Wednesday on Lou Dobbs's show on "Fox News." In addition to the host (who has previously spoken out angrily against such damaging abuses as St. Patrick's Day -- honestly! -- suggesting that we might as well celebrate St. Jin Tao Wow Day), the panelists Juan Williams, Erick Erickson and Doug Schoen were outraged by what apparently they see as a precursor to the end of civilization. Mr. Erickson was perhaps the most devastated by the news. "When you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society, and other animals, the male typically is the dominant role."
Forgetting for a moment that Erick Erickson is not a biologist -- or perhaps a thinking, sentient human -- and clearly doesn't believe in "looking" at anything with open eyes, which would seem to be the first criteria in doing such a thing, and even allowing for people to have neanderthal opinions that don't allow for women to be accomplished and do more than cook and have babies, it doesn't appear that the panelists took into consideration changing conditions of society, like the increase of divorce that would require a woman to be the sole breadwinner. Or a weak economy (not just currently, but for many years) which has forced women back into the marketplace for two-income families.
It's just an idiotic, harmful attitude all around, and one more easy mark to spot for anyone wondering why the conservative GOP has difficulty attracting women to vote for them.
(Mind you, why they should have this deeply-backwards attitude is made all the more odd when they should remember that even the most recent standard-bearer for the Republican Party, Mitt Romney, himself acknowledged that he had binders full of women available to work.)
But the funniest and most pointed part of this whole story was when an equally-outraged (albeit from the other side of the coin) Greta Van Susteren of the same network wrote a blistering critique on her blog --
"Have these men lost their minds? (and these are my colleagues??!! oh brother... maybe I need to have a little chat with them (next thing they will have a segment to discuss eliminating women's right to vote?)"
My immediate reaction to Ms. Van Susteren was --
1. Maybe you need to have a little chat with them??!! Maybe, if you really don't want to be surrounded by these attitudes, you need to work at a different organization.
2. Seriously, this is the first time you've noted attitudes like this at "Fox News" in the corridors??!!
3. Forget the corridors, after all maybe you sit in your office all day working, but do you even watch your own network??!!
4. You think it's a quip that they'd want to have a segment on eliminating women's right to vote??!! Have you not been paying attention to "Fox News" supporting GOP efforts to block minorities from voting -- with voter ID cards, eliminating early voting, vote challenges, creating long lines to discourage voting??!!
5. Your problem begins with asking "Have these men lost their minds?", rather than acknowledging that they have.
6, Yes, these are your colleagues. And you are their colleague. You are all one. The world's perception of you is colored by its perception of them. Welcome to the club.
7, When you take a step back and see what the rest of the world not living in the far-right bubble has seen for years on "Fox News," it's probably not a great sight and pretty sickening when you're on the receiving end, is it? Welcome to the world.
8. If you were really, thoughtfully outraged by all this, you might want to consider writing more than three sentences about it.
For all the outrage, though, the good news here that transcends everything is to see Lou Dobbs in fine, ranting form. That's the Lou Dobbs we know and love. Happy St. Jin Tao Wow Day to him!
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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