Thank you, Ann Coulter, for shoring up my self-esteem. Just as my life was getting duller and more traditional -- steady job, bad haircut, nightly bubble baths and bedtime stories, weekends at birthday parties and playgrounds, no nightlife, no culture, no sex, out-of-date-wardrobe, thickening midsection, you know, the whole American childrearing dream -- along comes Ann on Wednesday's Today Show to tell me I'm no soccer mom, nosirree! Au contraire: As a single mom, I'm responsible for almost every societal problem we have. Literally! Here's what she says: "Look at almost any societal problem and you'll find it is really a problem of single motherhood."
Ooh, I'm bad, so bad I had to do a little Michael-Jackson-as-interpreted-by-45-year-old-white-girl dance around my toy-strewn living room. While wearing (I'm bad! I'm bad! You know it! Jammo!) the snowman pajamas my mom gave me for Christmas eight years ago. Wooo!
See, I thought my life was about boring stuff like love and responsibility and hard work, but in fact I'm all-powerful, a cultural Attila the Hun, filling up the prisons with my raping, murdering progeny. Just ask Ann!
I got to do a similar dance -- across my fluorescently lit cubicle in my dowdy office clothes -- a few months ago when I got a press release promoting Desire and Deceit, a book by Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, that explains how civilization as we know it is being destroyed by sexual freedom in general, and homosexuality (read, gay marriage) in particular. When the gays want to pledge a lifetime of love and responsibility toward one another instead of continuing with hookups in loud bars, that's when you know you've got to put your foot down!
Anyway, as a gay-identified bisexual single mom by choice, I think I have got all the civilization-toppling bases covered -- I'm responsible no matter how you slice it!
These right-wing wacko pronouncements are almost as good as getting a tattoo, some black leather pants and throwing my leg over a Harley. I'm bad! Almost makes me forget that despite all my sexual free-thinking (I believe in birth control, oh no!) and alternative-lifestyle labels, it's been ages since I had me any good, old-fashioned society-shattering S-E-X. I'm too busy prepping my two-year-old for his career in crime.
In actuality, Mohler saying gay marriage will destroy civilization kind of makes me snort. I think of my friends who are married, gay parents. Their lives are happy, fulfilled -- and really quite traditional, if not achingly dull. Kind of like mine. Certainly any reality show featuring any of us would get canceled in a heartbeat.
As for the destructive effect of single motherhood, Coulter might want to check out the research that's been done on single moms who are educated, financially independent and who actively chose to have children. They do pretty well, which starts to make you think that a lot of the "single motherhood" problems might actually come from poverty, lack of education and opportunity, and from accidental pregnancy, which, in most cases, results from failure to use birth control.
Nah! It's the single moms and the queers that did it!
Seriously, Ann and Al, it's good to have a scapegoat. It makes for entertaining copy, plus you don't have to bother doing a serious analysis of societal problems and come up with actual ways (education, anyone?) to fix them. And I thank you for laying the responsibility at my doorstep. I'm just the goat for the job -- a boring old goat who's lifting her hooves just a little higher these days, impressed with her bad, bad self.
Louise Sloan is the author of Knock Yourself Up, a cross between memoir and reporting about the trend of women choosing to become single mothers.