Diary

On Casting Stones: How the "War on Women" convinced me to vote for Mitt Romney

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A Twitter war blew up the other night – lazy Capitalist that I am, I was laying on the couch, watching a TV show with my husband, so I missed all of the fun and excitement when Hilary Rosen – a highly paid spokesperson for the Democratic Party – temporarily lost her mind and made a bone-headed statement about how Ann Romney – the wife of the presumptive Republican candidate for President – doesn’t understand the plight of the Modern American Woman because Mrs. Romney has “never worked a day in her life”.

Bless her heart.
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Silly me – I’ve had the NOW mantra “Every Mother is a Working Woman” drilled into my head so often over the past couple of decades that I still bark it out like one of Pavlov’s dogs any time somebody tries to imply that the choice to stay at home while raising kids somehow makes a woman less deserving than a woman with a paying job.

Apparently, I’m not the only one, because the howls that went out across the nation have been pretty darn loud.

Here’s the thing, though – to hear Ms. Rosen talk, one gets the impression that she thinks that Mrs. Romney had servants to do all of the “dirty work” of parenting. That’s the picture that is being painted of the Romneys because they are quite well off at this point in time.

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If reading Thomas Sowell’s works – especially “The Vision of the Anointed” – has taught me anything, it is that most “rich” people didn’t start out that way. Where a person is in one moment in time is an indication of how far they have come, and you cannot make blanket assumptions about a person without seeing the entire picture.

So I thought I’d do some background research, to get a better feel for the truth of the matter.

It turns out that the Romney’s “story” is probably much more in line with that of most American families, and it is a testimony to what makes this country truly great. When the Romneys were starting out, they were much more like what most of us think of as an “average” family – a young couple who fell in love, got married, had kids, worked hard, and after years of hard work were able to enjoy the fruits of their labors.

That is the American dream, right? It’s the reason that so many people from across the globe want to come to this country – because we are the Land of Opportunity.
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In reading the story of the Romney’s early life together, it doesn’t seem all that different from most other young couples. In fact, when their kids were young, it sounds like they were living a modest life – first in a basement apartment (with their first child) while undergraduates, then in a modest house when Mr. Romney was in Law/Business School (sons #2 and #3). Sons #4 and #5 were born in the first 6 years after Mr. Romney received his post-graduate degrees.

While Mr. Romney was busy going to school so that he could improve his chances of making a good living to support his family, Mrs. Romney “had his six” – she made sure that he had a nice place to come home to, she took care of his children, and she supported him in his endeavors. Ask any happily married man, and he will tell you that there is no better feeling in the world than to know that at the end of the day, there are people waiting for him at home who love him and appreciate all that he is doing to provide for them.
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The Romneys were making their wealth at the same time that they were raising their family – I seriously doubt that they were able to afford a live-in nanny and a score of servants on a student’s salary. The money came later, but it didn’t happen by accident – in reading about Mr. Romney, it becomes undeniably obvious that he is a VERY hard worker who has always been willing to learn how to make things better in the companies that he works for so that EVERYBODY can “share the wealth”.

And while Ms. Rosen was busy questioning the monetary value of the “job” that Mrs. Romney has been doing all of these years, perhaps she was hoping that people wouldn’t look too closely at where Ms. Rosen was when she was raising her children.
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Make no mistake, Ms. Rosen has also worked very hard to get where she is. She has had a string of very successful jobs, all of which have presumably been progressively more lucrative. And while the Romneys had their children when they were still fairly young (when their first child was born, the Romneys were 24 and 22, respectively), Ms. Rosen didn’t become a mother until she was 41 years old. By that time, she was quite a successful career woman in her own right, as was her partner, Elizabeth Birch (who was 43 years old at the time).

In fact, both Ms. Rosen and Ms. Birch were so successful in their respective careers that they were well-known public figures in their fields by the time they adopted their children in 1999. They were most definitely not living in a tiny basement apartment, eating food out of a can while sitting on an overturned milk crate – if anything, THEY are the ones who were much more likely to have had a slew of servants taking care of their kids, cleaning their house, and cooking their meals.
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Unfortunately for Ms. Rosen, her family situation is much further removed from that of the typical American woman than that of Mrs. Romney. Most couples in this country get married and start a family at a fairly young age, and most of them do not have the advantage of “piles of money” when their kids are young. They build their wealth the same way that Ms. Rosen and the Romneys did – by working hard and getting ahead. If they invest their money wisely, the miracle of compound interest almost always guarantees that a couple’s later years will be fairly comfortable.

Life is all about choices, and the choices that we make when deciding to raise our families are different for each family. These days, it is not uncommon for a mother to work outside of the home, and many couples put off having children until they feel more financially stable. The beauty of this country is that we are each FREE to make those choices.
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For our family, when our oldest daughter was 2, we made a conscious choice for me to quit work and stay home with her. That was what I WANTED to do, and we found ways to make it work. It was our choice to do without some of the things that a second income might have allowed us to have, but for us the trade-off was more than worth it. And as our family grew, we continued to make that trade because it was what we wanted for our family. Along the way, we learned what things were necessary and what things were “wants”. And if we wanted something enough, we sacrificed in one or more areas to allow us to afford those little luxuries. That’s what all families learn to do if they want to be successful.

I have never regretted my decision to stay home with our children – it was my choice to do that. I have also never felt the need to question the decision of other women to work while raising their children – that is their choice, and I respect that. I have also known many women who wanted to stay home with their children instead of working outside of the home, and there are many of us who made that choice who are more than willing to tell them how we made it work for our families.
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The Romneys made the choice that works for their family, and Ms. Rosen made a different choice which by all accounts also works for her family. In pitting one group against another – especially on an issue that hits so close to home – I fear that Ms. Rosen’s “side” has made a fatal error.

For you see, when I did my research, I started reading more about a candidate that wasn’t my first choice to be President. And the more I read, the more I realized that this is a good man, and someone who I would be very proud to have leading this country.

So thank you, Ms. Rosen – you helped make my decision a whole lot easier.

Mitt Romney has earned my vote.
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[Cross-posted at Koch’s Tour]