I am often asked why parents don't have more unified political clout. Most likely because they do not have a unified political voice. Parenting comes up regularly in politics, sure. Soccer Moms. Family Values. Our children's debt. Our children's future. All these phrases are thrown around, at Occupy Wall Street rallies and in Tea Party speeches, but rarely pinned down and codified. What do parents, as parents, believe. Do we have a discrete, identifiable, agreed upon pot of interests, or are we just category that politicians shape to their own ends?
Today, a group of bloggers is trying to answer that question, They have named November 8th the first ever Parenting Blog-In, (it happens to be my anniversary, but I am assuming it was chosen because it is Election Day...) and they are asking online writers to copy and paste a letter addressed "Dear 2012 Presidential Candidates" on their websites. (If you don't have a website, you can send it to your Senator or Congressman.
"We are your future constituents and we are parents," it begins, then continues:
We are American mothers and fathers and grandparents and guardians. Our families might be the most diverse in the world. Blended and combined in endless permutations, we represent every major religion, political ideology and ethnic culture that exists. We are made from equal parts biology and choice. Our children come to us in every way possible--including fertility miracles, adoption, and remarriage.
Our very modern families embody the freedom that defines America. We embody America. We are rich in diversity, but we are united in our family values. We come together today, with one voice, to express our grave disappointment in the national political discourse.
The 2012 countdown has barely begun and we are already bombarded with the warmed-over, hypocritical rhetoric of 2008. We are living in a time where 15.1% of Americans now live in poverty, the unemployment rate stands at 16%, and we are spending close to $170 billion annually between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Given the current state of affairs we would expect every candidate to focus on the issues that truly matter: job creation, debt-relief, taxes, education, poverty, and ending the war(s). Instead, it is already clear to us that the conversation has been hijacked, with the goal of further polarizing our nation into a politically motivated and falsely created class-war.
We will not stand for another campaign year in which politicians presume to know what our family values are as they relate to the nation.
And then, it gets specific. Among the family values defined by the letter, are:
Family planning, healthcare, education, economic solvency and environmental safety: these are our national family values.
Candidates who demonstrate the ability to understand the gravity of these issues, and their impact on our families, and who can provide actual, viable solutions to these problems will garner our support and our votes.
We believe in our democratic system, and we'll continue to use our voices and our votes to see that it reaches its fullest potential.
Your future constituents,
The Mothers & Fathers of America
So what do you think? Is this an exercise in futility, because there really are no subjects on which parents can agree simply because they are parents? While the role defines our lives, does it not spill over and define our politics?
Are Family Planning, Healthcare, Education, Economic Solvency and Environmental Safety, as define in the complete letter, the values you would identify as belonging to all parents? What would you subtract or add?