Sometimes an individual in your favorite political party will do something minor but it comes off foolish, stupid, or cruel. It might be a simple matter of misspeaking; a gaffe. The heartless press dogpiles the poor bastard and it goes too far. You might try to salvage the situation; “hey the guy was trying to make a valid point but it just came out bad”. It never works. Once the press gets its panties in a twist the villagers with pitchforks start running around like hyperactive lemmings. There’s nothing that can stop the feeding frenzy. Every year innocent folks’ careers wind up ruined for a simple misunderstanding.
Other times someone in the other party will say something just as ham handed. When the press dogpiles on them you get to watch with a smug look on your face. Right?
Wrong! Fanning the flames over bad verbiage, small honest mistakes, and minor semantics is bullshit. It’s bullshit when it happens to you. It’s bullshit when it benefits you. Stay out of the sewer, leave the exposed underbelly alone, and rise above.
Beat your political opponents well.
Why am I mentioning this? Because some lefty yahoo named Hilary Rosen aimed a verbal jab at Ann Romney and framed it so poorly that it blew up in her face. She said (I’m paraphrasing) “Ann hasn’t worked a day in her life”. Ann Romney (or a handler) saw the opening and wisely karate chopped the jugular. She responded something like “raising kids is a job and it’s a hard one”. She’s right. We all know that raising kids is hard work. Rosen got her ass handed to her on a silver platter.
But it’s gone on too long. The press is in rut and the asshattery is flowing deep. It’s been bantered about and pushed clear to calling it “war on women”. Yes, it’s a juicy political moment. No, it’s not right.
Rosen, regardless of whether she’s a monster or a saint, was trying to make the point that a person who has never worked “at a paying job” is out of touch with the concerns of a person who does. She’s right. (Whether this is relevant issue when we’re discussing someone’s wife is another story.)
The fact that Rosen failed spectacularly in her delivery doesn’t change the valid observation. I’m going to put my Curmudgeonly foot on the land mine and contribute a Gem of Insight:
“A person who has never worked for someone else to draw a paycheck is largely unaware of what it’s like.”
None of this means that raising kids, cooking food, maintaining a household, etc… is easy. It’s just a totally unrelated challenge. Every bright eyed young adult who walks onto a job floor soon learns that pounding out widgets for XYZ corp is just one aspect of the experience. There is a minefield of taxes, overtime, seniority, pecking orders, skillsets, unwritten rules, office politics, career ladders, ass kissing flunkies, and endless seemingly unrelated horseshit.
A person who participates in the workforce learns that worksites can be fulfilling, a wretched hive of scum and villainy, or both. They also learn it’s utterly unlike working within the household. A stay at home mom (or dad) might think they know the score. They don’t. They’re naïve little butterflies in that arena.
Case in point; we once paid a fine responsible woman to provide day care. We dropped off our brood to play with her spawn and a gaggle of other kids she was watching. She was working and working hard but she never left her house. It should have been the perfect situation. The kids were happy, loved, entertained, and welcome. Sadly she’d never worked for anyone but herself. Thus she was clueless.
Her hours meshed poorly with my job’s schedule and I struggled to take up the slack. She had no idea what my problem was; it would remain forever incomprehensible to her. When there was excess snow on the roads all hell broke loose. I tried to explain “I need to drop off the critters a little early on snow days, lest I spend forever idling in traffic, and wind up shitcanned”. I might as well have been speaking Latin. It’s not that she was unsympathetic, it was that she couldn’t comprehend a commute that exceeded fuzzy slippers and a walk to the living room. Surely everyone’s “commute” was like hers.
One day she decided to go on vacation. She’d earned a vacation but, as a person who’d never drawn a paycheck, she had no idea that the world doesn’t stop revolving while you’re out of town. I asked for help/ideas to make or find temporary arrangements. She had no idea “arrangements” would be necessary. She’d never punched a clock, counted hours, filled out a W2, or attended a mandatory meeting. It was a different dimension of life.
She couldn’t fathom the world of work outside the home any more than I can relate to life in a Bolivian monastery. Was she intelligent, kind, and responsible? Yes. Was she clueless? Yes, because she’d “never worked a day in her life”. That’s what Rosen was getting at when she spoke so poorly.
Even if Hilary Rosen is the devil incarnate and Ann Romney has an actual halo, Rosen was trying to make an observation that is true. Anyone who’s had a real job knows it. Going apeshit over a bad delivery might make political points but it’s foul and grasping. Stop it.