I read an article in the Dayton Daily News a couple weeks ago that has been buzzing around in the back of my mind ever since. Entitled “Breakdown of Marriage Costs Us Billions Each Year”, the piece was written by Kathleen Parker, who contributes weekly to the “From the Right” half of the paper’s “Balanced View” op-ed section.
The reason this particular article won’t leave me alone is that I don’t like anyone pointing fingers at me and saying something is “my” fault. I tend to take that shit personally. But okay, Kathleen Parker was quick to qualify her statements (“exceptions notwithstanding”), so that means I’m probably NOT the one she’s talking to, right? Let’s go with that, because otherwise I would have to put on my angry eyes and stare her down. You seriously do NOT want to have to deal with my stink eye.
Kathleen Parker says:
I don’t understand how this can possibly be true. I’m certainly no economics major; I’m also not a psychologist; nor am I a divorce attorney. Clearly I can’t claim to be any kind of expert on this subject. Except for the bit where (a) I’m a taxpayer and (b) I failed to form a “stable family” insofar as the Christian definition goes, since I’ve been divorced umpteen times.
When I was between marriages, I had to work, which means I was a taxpayer. Oh — and I also worked WHILE I was married, so that means I was a taxpayer a lot of the time in the course of my adult life.
[[[ For the purposes of this post, we’ll overlook the bit where I served in the military, thereby qualifying me as one who should be “allowed” to ask for government aid. I’m going for “unexceptional” here, and serving in the military isn’t something most adults do. ]]]
So basically, per Kathleen Parker’s equation, I cost myself money.
I charged myself. I, a divorced person, needed help, which cost me, a taxpayer, money. Gotta tell ya, I didn’t mind it a bit. And since I’m impacted by it every bit as much as Kathleen Parker … why is SHE all aflutter about it?
Being divorced automatically means that, as the sole parent, at least half the time, you have to work for a living. I would go so far as to suggest that divorced women are actually much more likely to work than married women, who might have the luxury to choose to be a stay-at-home-mom. “Exceptions notwithstanding.”
Let’s think about this for a minute.
Married women who are stay-at-home-moms aren’t really taxpayers, because they aren’t contributing financially to the government pool of cash which seems to be what we’re arguing about. And then there are the stay-at-home-dads, too. Their opinion can’t count, either. All stay-at-home-parents are henceforth barred from voicing an opinion, since they do not have taxable income. “Exceptions notwithstanding.”
This means the only people allowed to have an opinion are those who earn taxable income. And most divorced parents aren’t able to stay home because how else are they going to pay for water without a job? And as taxpayers they are contributing to the government pool of money. Even if only incrementally, because they are getting shit hours and minimum wage pay. But still, generally speaking, they are taxpayers.
If a taxpayer asks for government aid, it’s ridiculous for other taxpayers to get all bent out of shape if the government decides that particular taxpayer qualifies for assistance. If a taxpayer asks for aid, it’s usually because — HELLO — they aren’t making enough money on their own.
But they are still paying taxes — and because of the divorce, they are more likely to be doing so.
Kathleen Parker says:
“lack of attention to the reasons why marriage matters in the first place”
Oh, Kathleen Parker. Pray, will you tell us why YOU think marriage matters in the first place? I’m sure your answer has something to do with man-n-woman fitting together perfectly and being all in the image of God (whom we refer to as “Father” so where’s “Mother” in this perfect explanation?). I’m sure that to you, marriage matters because of some “in His glory” crap. I’m sure that to you, marriage is all about a Christian union.
Let’s break shit down here for a minute, Kathleen Parker. Marriage, or declaration of partnership, was around a long time before Jesus dirtied his sandals by walking around on this stupid planet. People bound together because of survival — strength in numbers — and because it’s easier to get shit done when you have more hands contributing to the matter at hand. Namely, feeding one’s face.
Men have penises.
Well, most of them do, at any rate. There are a few men about whom I would question this statement. So perhaps here is a good place for a qualifier: Men have penises, “exceptions notwithstanding.” And women have vaginas. And together they make babies.
But life is about more than just making babies, isn’t Kathleen Parker? Unless you’re part of that Quiverfull cult whose members actually believe that NO, Andi-Roo, life actually IS all about making babies. So again, “exceptions notwithstanding,” life is about more than making babies. Which means that marriage, too is about more than making babies. I know some people who would make horrendous parents and I hope they never forget to use protection.
Marriage matters to me because it means I’m in a partnership with someone. I don’t have to handle the responsibility of making it through this fucked up world alone. We handle our finances together, we make parenting decisions together, and we laugh together at people who put giant, plastic, holiday-themed blow-ups in their front yard. I could do all this shit alone, mind you, and I HAVE done it on my own. It’s more fun when there’s someone to share it with.
But I asked you a question, Kathleen Parker, and I’m interested in the answer. Why do YOU think marriage matters in the first place? Please tell me you have a better answer than just something along the lines of, “Cuz God said so.” That would be uber shitty. That would mean you’re trying in a rather round-about way to put some religion into our government, which is a big no-no. We aren’t all Christian, you know.
Kathleen Parker says:
“this report isn’t concerned with the well-educated who are typically better equipped to cope with dysfunction”
I want to understand how college education makes someone better equipped to deal with hardship. Seriously. It’s been my experience that people fail or succeed based on how douche-y they are, regardless of diploma.
What I’m getting from your stance here is that you are prejudiced against the poor.
If you only had an education, you wouldn’t be poor.
Having gone to college, you are somehow magically endowed with the superpower of being able to more wisely choose a spouse. And if that superpower fails to manifest itself for some reason, because let’s face it, sometimes God makes mistakes, as in the case of Brussels sprouts, and you marry a real douche-meister, your degree will likely THEN manifest itself (better late than never) and you will be equipped either to get your douche-meister in line (mayhap via frying pan?) or to leave his sorry ass.
Poor people obviously have no superpowers, because they didn’t go to college. So they are doomed to marry douche-meisters. They also don’t have frying pans, which only leaves them with divorce.
Hold on a minute there, Kathleen Parker. I happen to know several poor people with frying pans. I also happen to know several people who don’t need them, because even without college, they still somehow managed to find a partner lacking in douche-osity.
Getting serious for a minute, let’s be clear. People suck regardless of education level. The only thing an education guarantees is a greater potential for deviousness if the party in question attended debate or legal courses. “Exceptions notwithstanding.”
Kathleen Parker says:
“to ignore the marriage deficit among America’s middle class is essentially to be complicit in perpetuating a society of winners and losers”
To ignore SOMETHING is essentially to be complicit in perpetuating a society of winners and losers, but I’m not convinced the missing component is MARRIAGE. I think it has more to do with you continuing to say stupid shit like divorcees are contributing to the deficit. I think it has more to do with the Right continuing to refuse to acknowledge what it means to be poor. I think it has more to do with Republicans being greedy assholes and not wanting to help fix the problem. I think it has more to do with people in general more eager to point fingers outward than inward.