This afternoon my daughter and I watched a couple of hours of Makers: Women Who Make America. I'd seen it before and she had seen parts of it but this is the first time we'd sat down to watch it together that way. It gave me the opportunity to share some personal memories that put some things in perspective for her.
I recalled where I was as particular dates were mentioned. 1972, when Title IX was passed, I was in the eighth grade and my older sister was graduating from high school. I got married in 1980, the year Oprah dared to ask for a paycheck equal to her male co-worker. A record breaking number of women were elected to Congress in 1992, the year my daughter was born.
Yesterday was a day of memories for me, too, as I watched Vice President Joe Biden on The View. He talked about the Affordable Care Act and how it will give women more choices because they won't have to be dependent on their jobs for health insurance anymore. When he said that I was suddenly back in 1984, driving my daughter to daycare, holding it together until I'd dropped her off and then crying the rest of my one hour drive to my job that provided our family's health insurance. Or on the phone with a neighbor, begging her to look after my baby whose fever was too high to leave her at the day care center, knowing that my paycheck would be docked if stayed home with her myself and we couldn't afford that. I cried on the way to work on days like that, too, knowing that I had no choice. I was the primary breadwinner while my husband was in seminary and we both hoped our situation would be different once he graduated and got a full time job.
Today I watched a clip of Elisabeth Hasselbeck and company on Fox News discussing the Vice President's comments, saying women don't go to work just for the health insurance and it's insulting to say that they do. I'd go back and pull a quote out of that one for you but, frankly, I don't have the stomach to watch it again.
And I can't tell you what I think of them or their opinions because my mama taught me not to use language like that.
But it strikes me that comments like those shared by Hasselbeck and Crystal Wright show their ignorance of the lives of those whose experience differs from their own. Could it be that when they say that “people” don't do such and such they're actually saying “real people”, “right people”, “good people”, you know... “people like us”. Because those other people just don't matter. Not as much as “our kind of people” matter.
And this, to me, is the difference between conservatives and liberals.
Conservatives, by definition, are trying to do the least they can. Conserve your resources, your time, your energy. Don't spend anymore than you have to of any of it. Look after your own needs and let everybody else take care of themselves.
Liberals want to do the most they can for as many as they can. Find the money somewhere because there are people who need it. Change the laws so everyone knows their rights are protected because they've endured enough and we shouldn't make them wait any longer. Your success makes life better for me, too, because we're all in this together.
I guess that makes me a Liberal.
My 8th grade school picture