Guilty


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  BACK IN THE DAYS WHEN WE WEREN't REQUIRED TO CONSTANTLY praise single mothers, a New York University study found single mothers to be “overtly dominant, aggressive, narcissistic and bitterly hostile.”63 And yet all of society has been trained to have nothing but sympathy for these aggressors.

  Not surprisingly, Hollywood has taken a leading role in portraying single mothers as victims, while relentlessly promoting promiscuity, single motherhood, prostitution, and divorce to the detriment of the most vulnerable members of society. But if anyone makes a peep of criticism, suddenly it's 1939 Germany and overpaid writers from Murphy Brown are the Jews.

  Hollywood movers and shakers are as rich as any oil company CEO, but the role they love to play the most is victim. There was unmitigated joy when Dan Quayle said in 1992, “It doesn't help matters when prime-time TV has Murphy Brown—a character who supposedly epitomizes today's intelligent, highly paid, professional women—mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice.”

  At the Emmy Award ceremony that year—they're always giving awards to one another, these martyrs—the creator of the Murphy Brown show, Diane English, was showered with awards. English took the occasion to say, “I would like to thank our sponsors for hanging in there when it was getting really dangerous.” Inasmuch as the entire awards program was a Quayle-bashing festival, it's hard to believe any of them were ever in much “danger” from Dan Quayle. TV producer Gary David Goldberg said, “I've never seen a time where people have responded this viscerally and taken the attacks so much to heart.” Bob Burkett, vice president of a film production outfit, said, “No question that a gauntlet has been laid down to this community. We've decided to pick it up.” Marge Tabankin, executive director of the Hollywood Women's Political Committee, said, “The community feels targeted. It's created a chill and fear reminiscent of the ’50s. Let's face it: We feel we're being used as whipping boys.”64 Yes, Hollywood liberals have got balls to spare and that's why I admire them so much.

  The starring victims, single mothers, were almost completely forgotten in the Hollywood sobfest. Liberals invoked their own mythical victim status to censor any criticism of Hollywood's celebration of illegitimacy.

  The New York Times denounced Quayle's Murphy Brown speech in an editorial, sniffing, “He seems seriously to believe that what poor people most need is moral fiber.”65 Obviously, what poor people really need is free housing, food stamps, and yet another government program designed to treat them like passive, helpless children.

  Despite the fact that a majority of illegitimate children in America are whites of European descent, soon Jesse Jackson was getting into the victimhood act, attacking conservative criticism of single motherhood as “racist.” In a debate about Quayle's remarks between Jackson and Pat Robertson on ABC's Good Morning America, Robertson discussed the scourge of single motherhood, saying he had lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant, “one of the worst black slums in America, and I know the plight of the poor and I've committed my life to help them, but you're not going to help black people unless the black men stop siring children out of wedlock.”

  Fortunately, Jackson did not threaten to “cut his nuts off as he would years later to B. Hussein Obama. Instead, Jackson retorted, “That's a racist statement! That's a racist statement!”66

  Then at the 1992 Democratic National Convention that year, Jackson said:

  Lastly, a lot of talk these days about family values, even as we spurn the homeless on the street. Remember, Jesus was born to a homeless couple, outdoors in a stable, in the winter. Jesus was the child of a single mother. When Mary said Joseph was not the father, she was abused and questioned. If she had aborted the baby, she would have been called immoral. If she had the baby, she would have been called unfit, without family values. But Mary had family values. It was Herod—the Quayle of his day—who put no value on the family.67

  I wonder if that's the line Jackson used on Karin Stanford, the mother of his illegitimate child.

  Needless to say, the Democratic Convention erupted in applause at Jackson's lunatic comparison of single mothers to Mary the mother of Jesus. In the Democrats’ defense, they could not be accused of applauding a sacrilegious speech, because the delegates were unfamiliar with the original story.

  Just quickly: Mary and Joseph were married before Jesus was born. They were not homeless, they were traveling to Bethlehem to register for the census. No one ever “abused and questioned” Mary about being pregnant. Mary did have the baby, so—luckily—we dodged the bullet of her aborting the Son of God. No one called Mary “unfit, without family values.” The only people who knew who the real Father was came to worship Jesus. Also, Mary was a virgin. I am fairly certain that we are not witnessing the miracle of 1.5 million virgin births every year. As David Reinhard wrote in The Oregonian, perhaps at the next convention Jackson would “be likening Jesus’ disciples to the Crips and Bloods.”68

  Finally, to compare someone to Herod is like comparing him to Hitler—or whoever the current head of Planned Parenthood is. Herod ordered the slaughter of all children under two years old in Bethlehem. He did not give a speech criticizing Hollywood elites for glamorizing single motherhood.

  But apart from that, the Reverend Jackson had all his biblical points right. For example, Jesus was, in fact, a “Hymie.”

  Not only was Jackson not laughed into obscurity, but his inane remarks turned him into the Democrats’ most respected speaker since William Jennings Bryan. The Boston Globe hailed the speech as “a powerful reminder of his importance to the party, as its conscience, its goad and its spokesman for those too often ignored as the Democrats move relentlessly toward the middle.”69 I couldn't have said it better myself. Jesse Jackson: not just an unintelligible, skirt-chasing shakedown artist, but the Conscience of the Democratic Party.

  After the massive, coordinated attack on Dan Quayle for his Murphy Brown speech, no politician again dared to speak up on behalf of the 1.5 million children consigned to starting life on the back bench each year in America. They might be accused by Bryant Gumbel, then of CBS's Early Show, of using “family values” as a “code word” for “intolerance”70 and “less inclusion.”71 As Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center said, even after the 2004 election, when voters chose “moral values” as the most important issue, Republicans refused to campaign on issues of morality. “Republican strategists,” Bozell said, “pull muscles just thinking about Dan Quayle scorning the ‘Murphy Brown’ single-mom plot in 1992.”72 A phalanx of professional victims—oppressed Hollywood multimillionaires, single mothers, and black agitators—swept the real victims, children raised without fathers, under the rug.

  As Time Warner's surprisingly large-circulation magazine Babytalk put it in 2007, “Just 15 years ago, then Vice President Dan Quayle publicly scolded a fictional television character, Murphy Brown, from the prime-time sitcom of the same name, for choosing to have a child on her own. Today, the 2008 Presidential hopefuls from both parties recognize that single moms are a force to be reckoned with and would be more likely to send Brown a baby gift than to question her choices.”73 And so they do.

  When President Bush gave the commencement address at Miami Dade College in 2007, he singled out two members of the graduating class for special mention, both immigrants. One had enlisted in the United States Marine Corps out of high school, served in Iraq, and returned to go to college. The other, from Trinidad and Tobago, was a single mother of four.74 Did America lose some sort of immigration lottery?

  That same year, President Bush's daughter Jenna wrote a book about a seventeen-year-old single mother who was HIV-positive: Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope.

  As a presidential candidate, John Kerry was constantly touting single mothers, using them in his campaign ads and giving them speaking time at campaign rallies. The week he announced he was running for president, Kerry held a campaign event at Faneuil Hall in Boston. Three eminences spoke on his behal
f: the mayor of Boston, Senator Ted Kennedy, and … a twenty-year-old single mother.75 It's hard to say whose reputation suffered the most from this joint appearance.

  In 1994, President Bill Clinton held an emotional press conference at the White House to promote his crime bill, which was going to end crime in America by providing for midnight basketball and banning so-called “assault weapons,” defined as “Semi-Automatics That Look Scary to Liberals.” Three crime victims spoke in favor of one or another aspect of the bill, including Janice Payne of New Orleans, whose nine-year-old son James had been shot and killed in his neighborhood. In an eerie coincidence, just days before he was shot, James had written a letter to Clinton saying, “I want you to stop the killing. People is dead and I think somebody might kill me.”76

  In this particular case, however, there were other risk factors in James's life that arguably superseded the availability of guns. For example, he lived with a single mother in a crack house—or as the Realtors call it, a “shooter-upper.” His mother had pleaded guilty to possession of painkillers and crack cocaine.77 These facts came to light after Louisiana law enforcement saw Ms. Payne standing next to the president during the Rose Garden ceremony and arrested her for parole violations78—which, by the way, was about the extent to which Clinton's crime bill stopped crime.

  In 2008, the city commissioner of Opa-locka, Florida—a single mother herself—hosted “A Salute to Single Mothers,” with cash prizes for the single mother with the most affecting story.79 They “struggle to cope.” Give them prizes! One single mother said, “It would be easy to be single by myself, but I would rather have my kids with me and struggle with them.” If someone said that about a pet, he'D be charged with animal cruelty. The attendees got gift bags, cash prizes, and information on taxpayer-funded goodies available to single mothers. The commissioner said she hoped the next “awards ceremony” for mothers who intentionally harm their children to be even bigger!

  In 2004, the New York Times attacked the Bush tax cuts by quoting a retired coal miner from southern Illinois who complained, “My daughter is a single mother,” and she didn't get a tax cut.80 Admittedly, in this case, the problem may have less to do with the absence of a husband and more to do with Democrats’ maddening inability to understand that you have to pay taxes in order to get a tax cut. But notice how the man, a Democrat according to the Times, self-righteously announced the embarrassing circumstances of his own daughter, as if it were a badge of honor that she was a single mother. People used to brag about their children getting into an Ivy League school or joining the Marines. Now they brag about their kids having children without being married.

  That same year, discussing the alternative minimum tax on National Public Radio, David Cay Johnston, then a tax reporter for the New York Times, illustrated the unfairness of it by saying, “It now applies to very few people who make multimillion-dollar incomes, but it can apply to a single mother who only makes $30,000.”81 How about we double the tax on single mothers to create a disincentive to illegitimacy, so that fewer children's lives will be ruined?

  Sociologist Ruth Sidel was a little late to the party when she wrote that single mothers should be “celebrated and indeed applauded” for their “courage, determination, commitment to others, and independence of spirit.” This was in her book, Unsung Heroines: Single Mothers and the American Dream, which is not to be confused with Louise Sloan's book Knock Yourself Up: No Man? No Problem: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom, or Jane Mattes's book Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood, or Colleen Sell's book Cup of Comfort for Single Mothers: Stories That Celebrate the Women Who Do It All, or Rosanna Hertz's book Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice: How Women Are Choosing Parenthood Without Marriage and Creating the New American Family, or Ellie Slott Fisher's Mom, There's a Man in the Kitchen and He's Wearing Your Robe: The Single Moms Guide to Dating Well Without Parenting Poorly. And of course there's the soon-to-be classic by me: What to Expect When You're Expecting Because You're an Irresponsible Little Tramp.

  Single motherhood is the apotheosis of the feminist vision: women without men! Except they're not without men. They're without one specific man with an interest in their particular children. But men—and women—across the country have been forcibly enlisted in the job of feeding, housing, and clothing single mothers and their children. The rest of us have to be constantly attuned to the needs of single mothers. Government policies are designed to support single mothers, rather than to stop them. Churches, corporations, and nonprofit organizations are required to chip in to make up for single mothers’ lack of husbands. I am woman, hear me roar! Hey, what's the holdup with my government check?

  A 2008 study led by Georgia State University economist Benjamin Scafidi found that single mothers—unwed or divorced—cost the U.S. taxpayer $112 billion every year. We could have had two Iraq wars at that price. Ken Starr gave us more than a dozen high-level felony convictions and a presidential impeachment for a mere $40 million. Scafidi underestimated single mothers’ burden to society by using the lowest estimates of single mothers in poverty and excluding additional costs of single mothers to programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and remedial education programs in public schools.

  Scafidi's study did not even consider the burden single mothers place on law enforcement because of their higher likelihood to neglect or kill their children in order to spend more time with their boyfriends. A huge percentage of law enforcement resources are spent dealing with the behavior of white trash in America, of which single motherhood is a major part. Eighty-five percent of mothers who kill their children through neglect are single mothers.82 Consider some of the more newsworthy child murder cases over the past few years:

  In the fall of 2008, single mother Casey Anthony was indicted for the murder of her two-year-old, Caylee Marie Anthony. However the trial comes out, the child is gone.

  In 2004, twenty-eight-year-old single mother Tammy Huff beat to death her eight-year-old son, Jose Torres, with the assistance of her boyfriend, Bradley Dial.83

  In 2003, single mother Amanda Hamm, twenty-seven years old, drowned her three young sons, aged six, three, and twenty-three months, so she could move to St. Louis with her boyfriend. It would have been a lot of trouble to bring the boys with them. Apparently, the prospect of hearing “are we there yet?” for eight hours was just too daunting for Amanda.84

  In 2001, twenty-one-year-old single mother Jennifer Cisowski killed her eight-month-old illegitimate son, Gideon Fusscas, by repeatedly throwing him down a flight of stairs at her grandmother's swank Florida home. The case was especially unusual because Cisowski came from a wealthy, albeit broken, Connecticut family.85

  In 1998, twenty-five-year-old single mother Tami Lynn Richards left her two children, three and one and a half years old, alone in their apartment while she went to a bar to drink and listen to a band. One of the boys set a fire when he was playing with matches he found in the apartment. Both boys died. On the other hand, from what I hear, the bar band was pretty awesome.86

  In 1995, single mother Jennie Bain Ducker, twenty-one years old, left her two sons, aged one and two, buckled in their car seats with the windows rolled up outside a motel while she par-tied all night in a Nashville motel room with her boyfriend and three other men. When Ducker returned to the car in the morning, the boys were dead from the heat. It was estimated that the temperature in the car reached 120 degrees.87

  In 1994, twenty-four-year-old separated single mother Susan Smith strapped her two sons into their car seats before sending the car to the bottom of a lake in Union, South Carolina. Her boyfriend had just broken up with her, telling her he didn't want to marry a woman with children.

  If single mothers killing their children were any more common, Hallmark would have to introduce a card: “Honey, you were so sweet … [open card] … to murder your children for me.”

  What makes these cases exceptional is that the mothers weren't teena
gers and most of the children were older than one—having passed the most likely time period for a mother to kill her child. And also contrary to the norm, these cases seem to involve the idealized, Murphy Brown–style single mothers—mostly middle-class white women. But unfortunately for their children, they were still single mothers.

  Even when they kill their children, single mothers are portrayed as victims. In the book Mothering and Ambivalence, author Wendy Hollway defended the mothering instincts of Susan Smith and Jennie Bain Ducker by noting that before drowning or cooking their children to death, the “children were strapped into safety seats”—emphasis hers—thus demonstrating the mothers’ “concern with the children's safety.”88 Yeah, you wouldn't want to drown a child who's running around loose in the car. He might bump his head—or try to escape.

  An article criticizing the “maternal myths” promoted in news reports about women who kill their children explained that women “may kill their children because of economic stress, to avoid the social stigma of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, [or] because they feel isolated or depressed about a romantic relationship”89—all factors that limit the suspects to single mothers. Sadly, the alleged “stigma” of single motherhood is not nearly so powerful as the real stigma against criticizing single mothers, even the ones who murder their own children.

 
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