This is just too infuriating to ignore:
Amanda Marcotte writes for Slate.com about the post-election backlash from conservative pundits and Fox News’ “culture warriors” on — take a guess — single women, aka “sluts.” And thus I circle once again to where I started this blog: according to these people (Rush Limbaugh et al.), I’m a slut who just wants free birth control and access to abortion. And unfortunately for them, I vote.
The inaccuracies are too thick to cut with a scalpel. Like many other intelligent single women, I am not blinded by my sexual lust to ignore other issues. I’m a single mother who voted my conscience in careful consideration of all the issues, in terms of reproductive rights, civil liberties, the economy, and national security. All of my single women friends — mothers or not — considered all the issues before voting. We voted for the man whom we believed would best represent all of our concerns and the overall well-being of our diverse citizens, at home and abroad. That man was Barack Obama, whom Limbaugh slanderously accuses of treating women “like vaginas.”
I do not want “free birth control” as Andrea Tantaros accuses. Menopause has given me all the birth control I need, and before menopause, I paid for my birth control over the counter. I am not, nor have I ever been “looking to the government for help,” as Gretchen Carlson claims on The O’Reilly Factor. I was the bread winner for the bulk of my marriage, even paying the back taxes of my consistently under-employed and highly disorganized husband. As a single mother, I am providing for my family without any help from anyone.
In addition, I pay a higher percentage of my wages in taxes than Mitt Romney does, or some of my married friends. I don’t own a home and cannot deduct mortgage interest, yet I pay more monthly rent than many homeowners’ mortgage payments and gain no benefit such as equity. I cannot check the married box and thus take a larger deduction. I cannot deduct my child’s education expenses, nor what I spend on food, transportation, laudramats, shoes, or soccer registration fees to provide her with nourishment, clean clothing, and healthy activities for her growing body. I can’t even deduct the money I donate to schools (plural) and charities like the wealthy do, because I do not give enough to exceed the standard deduction. I share my hard-earned money because I believe in supporting education and other non-profits, not because it will gain me a tax deduction.
I’m guessing there are many low- and middle-class working single mothers who, like me, are proud to do what they must to provide for their families without relying on entitlements from the government. Taking care of a family single-handedly is hard work, it is exhausting, and sometimes I weep, wondering how I will get through the next day, month, year. Yet I know I am one of the fortunate ones by comparison, and I rarely complain, until someone accuses me of mooching. In this case, I want to smack Rush Limbaugh and those sanctimonious ladies upside the head and have them walk a year in my shoes.
Admittedly, when I was in college and graduate school, I took out government-supported student loans, which I repaid in full, with interest. When my then-husband and I were both under-employed and couldn’t afford the steep COBRA insurance co-pay, we did without medical coverage for ourselves and enrolled our infant in the state-supported healthcare program “Healthy Families” until I found a job and could pay for insurance again.
Just because I’m single doesn’t mean I vote from an uninformed, knee-jerk, limited perspective. Nor is it accurate that married women are more likely to consider the concerns of their family’s and the country’s future, as Carlson ridiculously hypothesizes. I support Barack Obama because I believe in his intelligence, his compassion, and his reasonable approach to putting the economy back on its feet and to relating to the rest of the world (who will not necessarily bend to our superior military might). He has not failed: he has taken a bad economic situation that he inherited from decades of greed and abuse of policies and made it a bit better. And I think he deserves more time and a more conciliatory attitude from Congress to steer our country even further down the right path.
I don’t know whether Obama will get any favors from the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, who may re-avow to see him fail as they did last term. But at least he has more time to do the job he started.
I’ll say it again, proudly: “This slut votes” … intelligently.
P.S. Maureen Dowd aptly describes the “death rattle of the white male patriarchy” in The New York Times.