August 19, 2006

Family-Friendly

Pursuant to Twiga's post on this subject, I just had to share a juicy tidbit from the book I am currently reading: The Baby Boon by Elinor Burkett. I promise a full book review when done - or at least several good (hopefully short) posts!

Elinor sets the stage in her preface, demonstrating how the politicians have commandeered the term family-friendly to fit their own pulpit. Al Gore's campaign in the 2000 U.S. elections left non-parents dangling in verbal limbo.

"...at his annual Family Re-Union symposium in Nashville, Tennessee, he exhorted, 'Let's create a family lobby as powerful as the gun lobby.' On his website, he devoted a full policy section to his proposals for building 'stronger families.' What was his definition of the families those proposals would help? Not brothers and sisters, cousins, or even husbands and wives. The proposals were geared exclusively to parents."

Now you may feel that the childfree have a role, whether it is acknowledged or not, in helping families with children. We pay taxes for things we may never use. Conversely, other people's children, will work and pay taxes that support us in our retirement. I believe it balances itself out, only time will tell, despite the best predictions of any politician.

I wish his campaign staff had been a little more sensitive to the use of the term family-friendly, I mean, why not say parent-friendly? It would have been more accurate. Maybe it would have helped him win by a bigger margin by culling the favor of the 30% of voters who were either Purple-minded or on the fence about having kids? Of course, that would legitimize our choice.


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3 comments:

Elise said...

As a fan of the book (one of the women profiled therein is a pal of mine who actually was one of the first people to get me started in thinking about CF issues back in the mid-90s), I can say this was one of the central issues it presented for me.

Why not use the word "Americans" or "citizens" instead of "families"? Because you're right, Teri --- we might all have families of origin, but most CFs would not qualify as "families" using the political formulae so popular lately. "Americans" or "citizens" would be a lot more inclusive than "families".

I really like the term "citizens", as it implies an active, knowledgable populace engaged in *civil* discourse about the best way forward for a town, state, nation or even the planet as a whole.

But wait...that would suggest that people be informed about issues *and* be civil in discussing them. Both are kind of tall orders in today's scorched-earth political climate. Better to "focus on the family", Al & George...

Sorry to be a downer, but on this one issue in particular, there just isn't much difference between the two parties.

Elise

Teri said...

Hi Doc Band!

Hmmmm...I like this quotable by you:

"scorched-earth political climate"

Boy that really hits the nail on the head of our politics in the States. Red or Blue and nothin' in between.

You can tell which way I voted by the obvious slant in my post. Yes both parties are guilty of playing the "family" ticket.

I wish the childfree were a more vocal, organized, visible, tracked and measured part of the eligible voting populous. We'd be catered to more, or at least mentioned (included).

So cool that you'd read this book too. I can already tell it's going to be a real eye opener. She is a you-know-what disturber of the highest caliber!

Robin said...

Sounds interesting, I look forward to hearing more about it.