Monday, June 13, 2005

A Little Dip (for the Chip on My Shoulder)

I must stop reading the editorial page.

It pisses me off.

There are times when I read it with interest, with an open mind, and try to be kind to those whose views I do not agree with. Freedom of speech is a good thing.


If you are writing an editorial letter and you know NOTHING about the lifestyle that you are bashing, you should take all your hatred and loathing and self-serving attidude, mix it with water and bake it into a nice little brick, tie it around yer neck, and throw yerself in the nearest deep deep pond of unknowingness.


Early last week an editorial letter was published from a local woman, something to this effect: "I am a 25-year old single mom of a 2-year old girl. I am working full-time to support us and taking college classes when I can. I am asking the president, the governor, everyone in political power, to please please stop cutting money for affordable child care programs. Child care costs so much, and I really need those programs to make a better life for myself and my daughter. Thank you."

I. Love. This. Woman.

She represents all mothers. She represents all people who care about children. She represents Jesus God Allah Mohammad Goddesses everywhere. "It takes a village to raise a child."

Damn right.

Child care is an expensive proposition. I have children who have been and are currently in a child care situation. The place we use is run by the city, in an old elementary school, and has an excellent staff. It's not...NOT...the Taj Mahal. But they have an excellent curriculum, they use students from Local University as staff, they are kind and respected and the children and parents love them. Cost varies, as the babies require more hands-on time and the pre-k can take themselves to the potty and so forth.


It costs approximately $700 a month to have a child in the baby room.

Seven. Hundred. Dollars. Each. Month.


Now, imagine you're a single mother. You're eeking out a living. Where are you going to get that kind of money? If you use our facility, and have a child in the baby room and one in the pre-k room, you will spend $1200 a month on child care.

Question: How can a single mom afford that?
Answer: She can't. Not without help.

I am all for the city, the state, the nation doling out grants or scholarships or funds to help parents find affordable child care. I don't care if my tax dollars are used this way, because these are CHILDREN we're talking about. And parents. They deserve our help.

In yesterday's paper, some local guy wrote an editorial in direct opposition of the single mom's plea. He wrote to this effect: "How dare that woman ask for a handout for child care! In my day, a 'single mom' was a woman who had never been married, and her children deserved a certain bad nickname. She deserves nothing, as that child should never have been born out of wedlock. When I had small children, I worked 40 hours a week and my wife stayed home with them and that's the way it should be. This 'single mom' does not deserve my tax dollars."

The man's name is listed in the paper. And I've never so much in my life been tempted to write him an anonymous letter telling him all about the fire and brimstone that would eat his ever-lovin' flesh once he died. Because that certainly isn't a very Christianlike attitude. And from what I remember, the Bible is all about The Golden Rule and taking care of others, especially women and children.

Who is he to dictate what this woman should and shouldn't ask for?
1) He is a man.
2) He will never birth a child.
3) His manner of speech indicated that he was in his 50s or 60s, and even if he were a woman, he'd have no idea what it's like to raise a child in this day and age.
4) His children were able to stay home with mom because either he made a great deal of money, or they were able to just make it financially.
5) The term 'single mom' is applied to all women who are raising a child alone. This includes divorced women as well as those who never married and are in all manner of relationships.
6) What does he propose this mom do? Kill her child? Give her up for adoption? Leave her child home alone? Marry some ya-hoo she doesn't love or care for so she can give up the title 'single mom'?
7) Does this man have a compassionate bone in his body?

I have to stop. I'm sputtering and waving my arms above my head and clenching various body parts in anger and frustration. It's men like this who should be banished to some new island planet somewhere, who obviously don't care about women or children, who appear high and mighty and spout that statement I often hear from well-to-do Republicans I work with: "If they couldn't afford kids, they shouldn't have had any."

FUUUUUUCK YOU, MR. WILLIAM ATKINS! You are NOT a Christian. You should NEVER be left alone with children. You are a self-serving misogynist. You will receive your day in hell soon enough.


At 10:48 AM, Blogger Cecil B. said...

The sad thing is, to some degree that is a christian view. He assumes this baby was born out of wedlock and since we're not supposed to fornicate until we're married...

But fuck them, you're right.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

Apparantly in his day, men never died and left their families to fend for themselves.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Lost said...

All I could think was why does this man think he has any right to comment on this woman or her life? He just took the worst interpretation of her words that he could and ran with it. "Christians" like that are scary scary people. Doesn't he sound like one of those men that calls his wife "the little woman"?

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Serra said...

This guy sounds like the Barefoot and Pregnant school of marriage.

Let's beat him with bars of well-cured Castille soap (don't laugh--them suckers are HARD!) slid into socks!

At 3:38 PM, Blogger annush said...

I really hate STUPID people. That guy should be shot.

(my CHRISTIAN take on it)

At 6:14 PM, Blogger Pisser said...

Oh, hon. Do you live in a small town? Or small-ish? Because I used to read the paper in TX, and not only was it written at the 3rd grade reading level, but people are arguing about RELIGION in the editorials. I'm talking Protestant vs. Catholic b.s. ALL these dumbfucks make the baby Jesus cry! :(

It just FIGURES that his last name is Atkins. O Atkins, source of all that is evil and hateful in the world...begone!

At 6:20 PM, Blogger Bear said...

Well... most likely this asshole has one foot in the grave and the other foot on a banana peel. He obviously had a lot of regard for his wife and any and all of the other women in his life... which only makes me wonder what sorts of issues he must have to be so fucked up to begin with.

Luckily, not many people pay much attention to the prattle that spills from the useless gobs of fuckwads like this wizened up old gomeral..

He obviously has quite a social life to have time to sit and write hateful shit like this, so my guess is that he will be lying in his own piss and shit and nobody will give a hairy rat's ass about him because he is such a miserable bastard.

I wonder if the stupid fucking moron ever stopped to think that the single mom may have other faced other circumstances than what the ignorant bastard is alluding to...

In HIS day, they were called WIDOWS!!!

Somebody ought to kick a mud puddle up this dude's ass and stomp it dry...

What a dick!

VOICEOVER: "Mr. Bear, are you quite done, now??

"Ah.. yes, I think so....thank you..."


At 7:23 PM, Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

Cecil: I'm reminded of an old saying regarding pre-marital sex..."You wouldn't buy a pair of shoes without trying them on first, wouldya?"

Rob: THANK YOU. Yes, I was going to mention the widowed status but my sputter!curse!%&$*#@! got the best of me.

Lost: ...and he calls them 'broads' when he's with his male friends.

Serra: I love the way you think! OW!

Annush: Yeah, it's funny (strange, not ha-ha) what passes for 'Christian' nowadays.

Pisser: We're medium-ish size city, but all the idiot food groups are represented. (shudder) Oh yeah, the Lutherans hate the Catholics, BTW. Wha...????

Bear: You eloquent man! Thank you for your lovely, well-chosen words!

At 9:00 PM, Blogger Pisser said...

Wow. I didn't know the Lutherans hated anybody...! I thought they just stood around, saying "uf da" and eating lutefisk and stuff. Maybe I'm thinking of Norweigans ;)

And I like Serra's idea, to beat him with Dr. Bronner's. By the way, the Peppermint flavor really stings when used to soap the genitals...DANGER!

At 10:58 PM, Blogger jo(e) said...

Okay, you gave us his name. I think you ought to publish his phone number. I think he needs a few phone calls from some of your readers.

Not the Christain view at all. I hate how these selfish hateful views somehow get labelled Christian. HAVE NONE OF THESE IDIOTS EVER READ THE NEW TESTAMENT?

Great post. Makes me want to scream.

At 1:14 PM, Blogger Avatar said...

I get pissed at things like this, too. But then I take comfort in the fact that these rigid, prejudiced old farts will die pretty soon anyway.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Maine said...

Hi. My name is Maine, and even though I'm part of a two income family, the cost of child care today is kicking the life out of my ass. I am, in fact, moving in August because I found a sitter who costs slightly less than an arm and a leg, and its actually more economical for me to pay to move and live near her than it is to pay these prices for child care.

This "Atkins" fellow... what town is it that you live in? You can email it to me. I just want to know...

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Sass said...

I love how this Atkins asshole seems to think that he is the only person who gets to choose what a single mom "deserves."
If it weren't for single moms, there would be a lot of kids out there not getting raised by anyone at all. This is not to question single dads as parents, hell, my dad raised us by himself for a while. But my point is, if women abandoned their children at the rate men do, well, we'd have hundreds of thousands more orphans which we would all have to pay for.
I'd choose helping good caring parents out with heath care any day over having so many kids with no one to raise them, love them or pay for them.

At 4:15 PM, Blogger Tom said...

I like when he says:

"This 'single mom' does not deserve my tax dollars."

Mr. Atkins reminds me of George Costanza when he contemplates a life of charity:

"I think I could be a philanthropist, a kick ass philanthropist! I would have all this money, and people would love me. Then they would come to me.. and beg! And if I felt like it, I would help them out. And then they would owe me big time!"

Isn't that exactly what the Good Book said?

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

Pisser: Yeah, I'm a lapsed Lutheran, and boy did those ministers hate all the saints and the Virgin Mary and confessionals and rosaries. Sheah, doesn't make sense to me either. Dr. Bronners is my lovely (liquid) soap of choice, although not, NOT, in the naughty bits, 'cause that shit stings!

jo(e): There's a website I use often to find folks phone numbers, I'll have to check on this guy. He deserves an earful (or two or ten).

Avatar: Hopefully painfully and alone. Or is that bad karma to say?

Maine: You're lucky finding such a sitter. I'll email you the data on this here fella...are ya gonna show up on his doorstep? 'Cause I'd really like to see that. I'll bring the camera.

Sassycat: YES!!! What this guy failed to mention is that there is a man somewhere responsible for the conception of this child. Mr. Atkins should be focusing on how the man is providing for his child, instead of chiding the mother for trying to provide 100% of this child's daily everything.

Tom: I absolutely love the Seinfeld-as-the-Bible example! I think that IS in the good book, right next to "Do unto others...then get the hell outta there."

At 10:09 AM, Blogger S. Lynne Fremont said...

I have to admit, I am pretty neutral on this issue.

I think when it comes to a public use of tax dollars, we need to consider what those tax dollars are for and we need to weigh the costs of programs with the benefits of such programs. For instance, in addition to the actual monetary costs of subsidized day care, there are other less obvious costs. Do we want to encourage people to have children or not. I know that, as a single woman, I chose not to have children because I didnt think I could afford to have them on my own. I know that I am not the only person who has made such a decision. When part of the financial costs of raising a child are subsidized by the state, it most likely means an increase in children born. That is something that I personally dont think we need.

However, one must also weigh that cost (assuming one considers more kids to be a cost to society) with the benefits of good child care and less stressed out parents, be they single or not, male or female. I mean, we as a society already greatly subsidize other people's children with public school. The benefits of public school are rather great. We have a society where most people can read and write and do simple math. And anyone who thinks those things arent important should have to spend an eternity in a checkout line with an illiterate cashier with no math skills.

So as a childless taxpayer, my question is how will providing free or reduced cost daycare benefit society as a whole? It is clear that it will benefit single parents or duel income families. But hey, if someone gave me an extra $700-$1200 month, it would make my life better too. The only way to win that arguement is to show that society as a whole benefits.

It has occurred to me though that a program in a school district to include day care for infants to kindergarten might be the kind of thing that would increase the value of houses in that school district. Just a thought.

At 11:30 PM, Blogger Moreena said...

Oh, the things that get printed in the editorial section. We dropped our subscription to the local paper altogether just to drop our blood pressure a few points.

S. Lynne: it's good to hear a dissenting viewpoint sometimes, although I do think that the original irritation was with the man's obvious lack of compassion. I would point out, though, that some European countries, Germany is the example I know well, heavily subsidize childcare. So much so that you will see very few children on the streets of Berlin (they're all in cheap daycare!). Not only is the childcare cheap, but there is a fairly generous monthly stipend given to families with children. And yet Germany's birthrate has been dropping alarmingly. So, although your argument makes sense theoretically, it seems as if some real-world examples indicate that subsidizing childcare doesn't *necessarily* lead to a jump in birthrate.

At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi S Lynne,

I too am a woman who has opted out of procreation because, frankly, the thought of being a mother (single, impoverished, what-have-you) couldn't hold less appeal for me. And yet I respect that there are others who would accept that challenge.

I personally consider subsidized childcare equally important to and valuable as subsidized education. It is not in my interest as a member of society to have an impoverished single mother remain undereducated (and therefore less well able to support herself and her family) due to a lack of subsidized childcare any more than it is in my interest to let children go uneducated due to a lack of subsidized public schools.

Subsidized childcare is not a matter of rewarding people who make difficult decisions about becoming parents with free handouts. The measure of a civilized society is its ability to care for those members who are least able to care for themselves. Subsidized childcare is simply a leg up, as it were.

My own choices regarding parenthood were personal and did not involve consideration of the monetary benefits I might or might not be able to receive from the government or from society. I trust that, regardless of persistant rumors otherwise, most folks still take their decisions about parenthood in a similarly serious and thoughtful manner. It seems sort of smug to assume that if childcare were subsidized folks would be pumping out kids without regard.

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Trina said...

S. Lynne --

Why should people without children subsidize the education/care of other people's children? In short, who do you think is going to be subsidizing the care (and taking care) of childless people when they are older, if they don't have the financial ability to do it themselves? That's right -- all those other people's children, who will be working, paying taxes, paying into Social Security, etc. in the future.

Call it economic karma: You'll be getting back later what you give out today.

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Ken said...

"What does he propose this mom do? Kill her child? Give her up for adoption? Leave her child home alone? Marry some ya-hoo she doesn't love or care for so she can give up the title 'single mom'?"

One of these things is not like the others. One of these things doesn't belong.

How in the hell does adoption end up in the same list with "kill her child", "leave her child home alone" and "marry some ya-hoo she doesn't love"?

Adoption strikes me as the most sensible thing a person with a child she can't afford to care for can possibly do, far more sensible than trying to raise a child that she knows she's ill-equipped to care for. And if you you're ill-equipped when the child is born and give the child up immediately as a newborn infant, there's a years-long waiting list of couples that want nothing more than to raise your child.

At 3:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Who is he to dictate what this woman should and shouldn't ask for?"

His money is being taken from him in the form of taxes to support what the woman is asking for. I think this is a pretty good level of authority to ride on. The radical idea that people know best how to spend their money.


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