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Rick Santorum: A Knight in Shining Armor for Poor, Single Moms

by Lisa Graas on October 29, 2013

George Will’s column about Rick Santorum was an eye-opener, even for me, a diehard supporter of the former Senator from Pennsylvania. I refer to the statistics he offers on single moms.

“At any given moment,” wrote George Orwell in 1948, “there is a sort of all-prevailing orthodoxy, a general tacit agreement not to discuss some large and uncomfortable fact.” Today that fact is family disintegration: 41 percent of American children are born to unmarried women, including nearly half of first births, 53 percent of Hispanic children and 72 percent of African American children.

There was a time in America when politicians, including Rick Santorum, spoke of the importance of strong, intact families so that our country might be spared statistics like this. Unfortunately, not enough Americans heeded that advice. The Democratic Party has invested a great deal of energy in convincing people that abortion is the answer for women to be spared the “burden” of motherhood. What they offer is akin to the Brave New World. Thankfully, women have not bought into that as much as Democrats, perhaps, have hoped because they are continuing to have babies. Abortion is not the answer. Love is still the answer for what ails us, and always will be.

What these statistics can’t really show you is the suffering of these moms. When there is no spouse to share in the sufferings, the load is intensified for both mother and child. To be sure, suffering isn’t something that can be measured in numbers. As a poor, single, disabled mom, I know that single moms suffer, especially if they are also disabled, but you shall have to take my word for it, won’t you? It’s something that cannot be quantified with statistics, as Rick Santorum rightly points out…but as he also points out, it is something that must be addressed with compassion.

Rick Santorum’s mother was a working mom and he is all for working women. It’s a real irony to me that he is often accused of being a “neanderthal” for his supposed “views on women.” That’s rich since I’m a woman and I’m more of the traditional view than he is. Honestly, I don’t think moms should work outside the home, if at all possible. Rick Santorum takes no official stand on that, to my knowledge, and frequently mentions that his own mother worked. He seems to have turned out fine with a working mom. Having said that, I hope he forgives me for calling him a knight in shining armor for poor, single moms. He is the only one out there whom I hear calling for us all to be truly compassionate to one another.

I first learned about real suffering from the Victorian era author Charles Dickens. I especially remember going on a field trip in junior high to see the film Oliver Twist, about an impoverished orphan, which is based on a Dickens novel. That was a real education for me about suffering, especially among children who are completely innocent. Dickens said, “I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.” I have come to know that, like Dickens, Rick Santorum has his mind daily on the woes of those who suffer. Also like Dickens, he hopes that love and truth are stronger than the voices that lie to us all and tell us that promotion of family values is tyranny. These latter voices are the ones who have hurt women in the name of protecting women because they want us to believe that women are not the “weaker sex” in that they don’t need to be protected and supported by the men in their lives. They are perfectly fine with women being supported by the government, however. A state of dependency is fine with liberal Democrats, as long as it’s government dependency. Government dependency is a “good” to Democrats whereas a woman’s dependence on a man is an “evil.” I say that we are all dependent on each other and any politician who tells you otherwise is without a clue. Who is telling us that we are all dependent on each other? Rick Santorum is telling us that.

As of late, Rick has been on a crusade, of sorts, along these lines, to explain that Republicans have been remiss in not expressing a sense of compassion for those who suffer. Because so many Republicans claim that dependency itself is an evil, and because Democrats claim dependency is a good, those who suffer vote for Democrats. As a poor, single mom myself, albeit not on any government assistance, it pains me to hear some Republican activists speak of poor, single moms in harsh terms. Have they not seen the statistics offered by George Will? You’re out of touch with most people, hence your tanking poll numbers.

It doesn’t matter to me if Rick agrees or disagrees with me on working moms. From a policy perspective, we both want the same thing. There shouldn’t be any laws forcing men to take care of women, or any other silly laws that most people can’t bear. That’s silly, and I know Rick would think it would be ludicrous. We do both want more compassion in America so that people won’t feel that their only hope is to turn to the government. There’s nothing wrong with a politician standing up and calling for more compassion. In fact, it’s the thing needed most now in America.

Rick has done a great deal of work in spreading this message of personal responsibility through compassion and I’m afraid it’s falling on deaf ears. If people don’t grow hearts on the Republican side of the aisle, and if they continue to insult people who are truly trapped in poverty as if they are to blame for their miserable states of existence, I’m here to tell you that those Republicans will just continue to spiral downward into a black abyss of political irrelevance. You won’t need the poll numbers to see it. It will be clear on election day.

I realize that most people reading this will think me backward. I don’t really care if you think that. I don’t care what you think at all about my views, really. It’s not your intellect I’m appealing to here today. It’s your heart. I pray you still have one. Women clearly know abortion isn’t an answer for their problems. Compassion is the answer. Instead of insulting single moms, help them.

 

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