Sunday, April 15, 2012

And all of a sudden it slips away from them

They don't get it.  Republicans tried to harness identity politics with Michael Steele and Hilary Rosen, but they just don't get the core idea that people who aren't white men have legitimate greivances with systems set up to screw them.   Mitt Romney's trying to untwist the pretzel-logic of at-home mothers needing to work outside the home for welfare.  It doesn't make sense, and he can't force it to.  They're trying to raise the stupid ruckus they think that Democrats are trumping up all the time.

Seeing the tug-of-Mommy-War has made me think that this is when Americans can really attack the problem of support for families with children.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

What Ann and Mitt Romney are Ignoring

Hilary Rosen was right that Ann Romney can't identify much with the financial struggles of mothers who work outside the home.  She was wrong to say she hadn't worked a day in her life.  Ann Romney can afford help with her household duties, and having multiple sclerosis and five children, probably needs it.

This debate gets a little personal for me, since I am likely to embark on at-home motherhood quite soon - with uncertain health, and it seems like it's only a matter of time until someone tells me I haven't worked a day in my life.  I've gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that I can take care of myself financially (It's all a little rube-goldberg at the moment, which is still scary), and if I don't have Obamacare, I need my spouse's health coverage.

What bothers me most about this dialog is the way that conservative men act like the de facto restrictions they think women need (financial dependence on a man so they can follow the natural order and raise children) are a liberating force.  As a woman with ambitions toward motherhood, I can tell you that I don't want the devotion of my time to childcare to leave me even more vulnerable than I already am.  Unlike me, Ann Romney doesn't have to choose between treating her illness and sending her children to college.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Despertainment

I watch an appalling amount of TV, through Netflix and Hulu.  It turns out that I love Toddlers and Tiaras, and have a shameful enthusiasm for Intervention on A&E.  Hoarders is so-so, but I'm just emerging from a really nasty cloud of fatigue wherein I watched at lot of TV and am getting kind of sick of it.  

I know it's exploitative, and I was thinking about how bad to feel about watching this stuff, and I realized that the fact that Americans will go on television at their lowest point just to get the help they need is a pretty serious indictment of the American mental health care system.  It's more like an expose than entertainment.  

I'm just surprised that I've never heard anyone say this.  I don't think Americans think about mental health as something that a community needs to step up and take care of on a public scale, like we kind of do with physical health.  Unless someone with a mental illness makes a major imposition on the life of the public at large, we think we can ignore it.  

It's really exciting to think about a country in which people had access to the mental health services they needed.  The way mental health and incarceration and poverty intersect in our country is very complicated and sad.  

The major conflict I feel about expanding the reach of mental health services is what would be imposed on people who don't want or need "help."  I'll think about this for a while, and if I come to any conclusions, update my thoughts.