Thanks E.J. Dionne, for explaining it all to me

Jennifer Roback Morse
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Posted: Jun 12, 2006 12:05 AM
Thanks EJ Dionne, for explaining to me that I’ve been used again. The entire week surrounding the vote on the Marriage Amendment, social conservatives were treated to liberal commentary like yours claiming that Republicans were cynically distracting the country from more important issues, like Social Security and repealing the estate tax. According to you and your liberal colleagues, I shouldn’t care about social conservative issues, like gay marriage or abortion. I should really care about George Bush selling me out for issues like “privatizing Social Security and cutting taxes on rich people.”

I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but we social conservatives know perfectly well what our interests are. We are capable of thinking beyond the next election cycle and of doing elementary arithmetic. We’ve known for some time that Social Security needs reform, and that Democrats have blocked every meaningful attempt at reform.

And let me explain something else to you. I have no prospect of receiving a large inheritance. A lot of us don’t feel it necessary to attack the rich, because we have hopes of joining them someday. But even if I personally am unable to leave my children a dime, I could care less about Bush repealing the estate tax. I’m not worked up about the rich passing their wealth on to their children, because most of that wealth was already taxed as income. Even if the federal government took every last nickel from “The Rich” it wouldn’t be enough to pay the government’s bills.

Let’s get something straight. We actually care about the issues you think are just “wedge issues.” I hear from ordinary Americans all the time, through e-mail, talk radio and the in-person talks I give. These working and middle class families are tired of the social experiments of the Life Style Left.

Let me introduce you to the working man whose wife left him under no-fault divorce rules. He is now paying to support her and her boyfriend. He seldom gets to see his kids. The reluctantly divorced, men and women alike, are completely off your radar screen.

Or let me introduce you to the unmarried mom, who listened to the siren songs of Hollywood and Feminism that glamorize single motherhood and denigrate marriage. She had no idea how difficult her life would be. She completely underestimated how much contact she would have with the father of her child, whom she didn’t like well enough to marry.

Maybe you can relate to some of the unmarried women professionals who have joined our ranks. After all, they are well-educated, high-income people who don’t get dirty at work. But you might not realize how many of them are bitter at the lies of feminism. They thought they could postpone childbearing indefinitely. They may have had an abortion. Now their career satisfactions have peaked, and they are longing for a baby. But they have little prospect of finding a husband, and they’re running out of time. The pro-choice slogans of their youth sound hollow to them now.

Perhaps you’d like to meet some stay at home mothers, who for your information, are the backbone of the pro-life, pro-family movement. They are tired of their husbands’ income being taxed away to pay for child care tax credits for two-earner households. They would like some respect for their contributions, instead of being sneered at for not really “working.” They are appalled at what is on TV and at what is taught in government schools. And, by the way, after having a couple of kids of their own, they’re pretty sure that the “products of conception” are more than blobs of tissue.

What does this have to do with the marriage amendment? Same sex marriage is a massive social experiment, completely unprecedented in human history. American society has not recovered from the last round of social experimentation. These conservatives whom you think so little of and know so poorly, include many victims of the sexual revolution.

They may not be able to articulate why they feel so sure that kids need a mom and a dad. They have an intuition that there is something deeply wrong with making marriage a gender neutral institution, which is what same sex marriage will do. They may not be able to put their finger on everything wrong with the idea. But they are not ready to put themselves and their children on the chopping block again.

They get frustrated with the GOP leadership but they know they are completely invisible to the Democrats. If you want to woo us from the GOP, stop patronizing us and talk substantively about the issues that matter to us. Trust me: Social conservatives are not going to be talked out of supporting the Republican Party over the estate tax.