I know, it’s way too early to be following the joke of a Presidential primary race in the Republican Party. But these bozos are already providing immense entertainment opportunities. You’ll recall that Michelle Bachmann a few days ago agreed that if she became president, pornography would be outlawed (not sure how purveying pornography becomes a federal crime–she’ll figure that one out later).
But today I discovered that one of Iowa’s leading social conservatives is distributing a pledge called Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon MARRIAGE and FAMILY, and trying to inveigle Republican candidates into signing. It’s one of those standard defense of marriage screeds with one exception. In order to defend marriage, it must argue that society is disintegrating when members spurn or disrespect marriage. And which group in American society spurns marriage the most? African-Americans, of course. Think of all those unmarried mothers, Black males behind bars, and children born out-of-wedlock. So far, this is standard stuff too.
But did you know that slavery was actually a good thing for African-Americans? Yup, true. Why? Because at least when they were slaves they all lived in two parent households, unlike today. Not only does the Tea Party defend marriage, it defends slavery as good for marriage:
Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.
Believe it or not, there’s even a footnote to support this bulls(^t, a reference to a scholarly study which has nothing with slavery (of course) or the claim that there were more two parent households during slavery than today. The study says, are you ready, that marriage benefits African-American men, women and children. Wow.
Now returning to the this fahrstunteh marriage pledge quoted above–can you imagine how a white Tea Party activist knows what social conditions were like under slavery? Can he say there were African-American “households” with two parents? Is a hovel on a plantation a “household?” What about those good massahs who sundered families, sold off husbands or wives, tore children from their parents at will? That must’ve done wonders for family continuity doncha think?
But there are a few comforting thoughts in all this: the more seriously this nonsense is taken the less chance a Republican will win the White House. Not that Barack Obama is God’s gift to good governance. But the alternative is far worse.
One of the more odious things about the Christian Right fanatics also known as “Dominionists”, is they they believe they can make up people’s mind’s for themselves, regarding religion, and this is exactly why Bachman and her ilk will never become President.
If abortions do not happen, it should be because the woman does not want it, not because the state forbids. If a person does not buy porn, it should be because he/she doesn’t want to for whatever reason, and not because the state forbids it. The same with marriage.
Did this cretin Bachman ever hear the word “education”? You educate a person to do right or wrong, not impose it upon them, the choice is theirs. That is why God gave us a mind, and freedom of choice. To do right or wrong. Not for others to make up our minds for us.
Aside from being connected to Christian United for Israel, (a movement that anyone who follows Max Blumenthal) will know what it stands for, Bachman is known for linking her kooky religous beliefs to just about anything she can,
The biggest irony of all, is that most single mothers belong to the Bible Belt, they do not practice what they preach, they are also the least educated and least productive members of society.
Aside from what is mentioned above by Richard, here is something else that Rachel Tabachnick covered, regarding this wannabe “president”
Even Sarah Palin has a higher chance than Bachman, and Palins chances of winning the Presidency are minus 100000000 to the power of 1 billion.
Someone ship these Bachmans and Palins to Europe, preferably Switzerland, and you’d have the entertainment of the decade 🙂
Dominionist Battle Cry “We are the Head and Not the Tail” Used by Bachmann in Debate
It’s not unusual for candidates to use “dog whistles” or language that has a unique interpretation to a specific voter base, and last night’s Republican debate was no exception. Michele Bachmann answered a question about U.S. involvement in Libya using the phrase, “We are the head and not the tail.” Deuteronomy 28:13, “The Lord will make you the head and not the tail,” has been adopted by the apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation as a theme for the Charismatic “dominionist” movement.
I think you’re onto something here, Chayma. The “Christian” Right (I can’t imagine Jesus wanting anything to do with them) seems to want a lobotomized world in which people are utterly unable to think for themselves.
and I forgot to mention,
Thank you Richard, for a great report. 🙂
The German equivalent of this are the old chestnuts that “Hitler built the autobahn/erased unemployment/saved the economy”. But each and any positive reference to the Nazis remains *the* third rail in German politics, deservedly, of course.
Yet a non-marginal portion of Americans seem ready to pull their own skeletons out of the closet and dress them up in respectable clothes once again. See the irrational hatred against Obama (as opposed to objections against his politics), xenophobe hysteria, Haley Barbour, and now this. In the same way Israel is still fighting the war of ’48, and Germany before the second World War was still fighting the first many Americans still seem to be entrapped in the Civil War. Our “excuse” was Versailles, what is yours?
To state that the quote from the article defends slavery as good for marriage is a basic failure in reading comprehension. The quote only casts slavery in a very negative light (“disastrous impact”), and mentions it only to highlight that in a certain respect, African American’s situation now are even worse than they were then.
By the way, the reference is to page 8 of the study, which has a data point from 1880 (“Some of the earliest good data”). Of course, that’s 15 years too late, and certainly doesn’t distinguish between North and South, and so not much can be said either for the author of the vow’s critical thinking skills.
And how would you react, Ami, to an assertion that considering the growing prevalence of alcohol-induced violence by Jewish youth in Israel, despite the “disastrous impact” of the holocaust, in the Ghettos, young Jews were not getting drunk etc etc. ?
When an Austrian or Italian politician (the Germans usually know better) mentions the good public-transport/youth-discipline/whatever under fascism, their constituents (and us), know perfectly well what their true meaning is. Same here.
Richard Silverstein says
The failure in comprehension is yours I’m afraid. The Marriage Vow proposal certainly did say that slavery was better for children than Obama administration social policies and that it promoted two parent households. And stating that the welfare of children during slavery was better in any way shape or form than now is a bald faced ridiculous lie. And you’re clearly a Tea Partyite if you argue otherwise.
No, sorry. There’s NO reference to page numbers in the footnote so neither you nor I know precisely why they abused this essay other than the fact that it proclaims marriage good for African Americans.
delia ruhe says
“…the more seriously this nonsense is taken the less chance a Republican will win the White House. Not that Barack Obama is God’s gift to good governance. But the alternative is far worse.”
Yes, the US is back to its “lesser of two evils” ritual, forgetting of course that the “lesser” is still “evil.” I keep having these fantasies about Russ Feingold jumping into the ring as an Independent and eliminating both evils. (However, I don’t know where he stands on Israel-Palestine.)
Trying to Recover From Slavery Furor, Bachmann Repeats the Error
After being widely criticized on this page and others for signing a “Marriage Pledge” that included an inflammatory (and factually incorrect) reference to slavery, Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign issued a statement that was meant to distance the Republican Congresswoman from Minnesota from the controversy.
Instead, the explanation compounds Bachmann’s error.
Bachmann Does Damage Control over Slavery Quote in ‘Marriage Vow’Ujala Sehgal
Michele Bachmann signing of “The Marriage Vow” pledge, promoted by a conservative Christian values group The Family Leader, was met with outrage. The main purpose of the pledge was to secure opposition to gay marriage, but the document was packed with little details that managed to offend an impressive range of people, considering the relatively short length of the document. The document encouraged a baby boom and called homosexuality a choice, but the most head-scratching piece was its insinuation that African American babies may have somehow been better off under slavery.
I note with some amusement that the state with the lowest divorce rate (40% of marriages end in divorce, vs more than 50% nationally) is… Massachusetts. The state also is always in the bottom 3 or 4 on teenage pregnancy as well and near or at the top on percent of kids born into two-parent households. The state is 60% Catholic, but the divorce rate for Catholics in Massachusetts is actually higher than for non-Catholics.
Nationally, the best predictors for a successful marriage are educational level of the female (that lets Bachmann out…) and age of female at first marriage (older the better, up into age 35 or so). Christians across the board have higher divorce rates than Jews and Muslims in the US, but education accounts for all of the variance.
All that said, society/family/whatever is a lot less stable than even in 1950, when 3% of white kids and 16% of blacks were born into single-parent households (this is from census data). Today 60% are born into single-parent households. Decade-to-decade data are not directly comparable (lots of unmarried couples living together have kids, but “common law” marriage rules have changed or been abolished in many states). Even the definition of race has changed. But the huge difference since 1950 cannot be explained only by definition changes. Hence, the Republican nonsense about being the party of family values resonates.
. Hence, the Republican nonsense about being the party of family values resonates.
Excellent points you make, all true by the way
One thing I differ on,
People tend to differentiate between race in the USA, but in actual fact, the differentiating factor should be religion, Christianity in it’s fanatic form has always opposed learning and progress.
If you check the religous beliefs of the low achieving blacks and white populations, they will nearly be all from the Christian Right bible belt, not the progressive branches of Christianity. The academic and business elite are all from the progressive Christian Churches, the more fanatic ones which unfortunately include a large chunk of the populuation in the USA, (black population too) are the ones who suffer from broken families, single families, low income, low education, not least because their theology teaches that education, progress and wealth creation is a sin.
“Christianity in it’s fanatic form has always opposed learning and progress.” Yes, but then I suspect that fanatic religionists of any persuasion also oppose any learning and progress contrary to their mindset, and surely the same can be applied to fanatic ideologues, right, left, or whatever, even intelligent ones. Their mantra might well be: “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up.” I think any fanatic ideology, religious, political, what have you, produces a kind of mental constipation, to put it vilely. And God knows we’re getting our share of it in America today.
Slavery is GREAT! It might not be the bon ton to say it but – those slaves were not hungry! their owners had an INTERST in keeping their goods healthy! Look at all those homeless and unemployed! Sick and wet on the streets on rainy days! Imagine if we sold them to large companies, than we could compete with all those Chinese clothes companies. ECONOMY would PROSPER! And they would benefit from having free huts to live in!
Richard Silverstein says
Thanks for the laugh. You should give yrself the nickname ‘Swift’ (as in, Jonathan). Very funny.