30 October 2008

Beyond Offensive

I thought we were beyond this kind of race and class-based politics. But as reported in a New York Times article today, a reporter interviewed a woman at a McCain rally, and she suggested that people who support Obama's policies are all about handouts for people who are too lazy to earn a living.
“A lot of people on the other side just want free money,” said Susan Emrich, at a McCain-Palin rally in Hershey on Tuesday. ... Ms. Emrich would like to attend another rally later that day in nearby Shippensburg, but can’t. “I have to work,” she explains. “I’m a Republican.”

Remember when Republican politicians demonized "welfare queens"? Wikipedia says* Ronald Reagan popularized the term during the 1976 presidential election in a reference to the South Side of Chicago, with its primarily African-American population. He and other Republicans of that era were evoking the fiction of black women having child after child so they could keep getting public assistance.

The reality? The majority of people on welfare are -- and were -- white women with one or two children, who usually spend less than two years on the dole before going back to work.

And by the way... access to truly affordable, flexible, high quality childcare so women with children could attend school or go to work would reduce the need for welfare and would also improve living conditions for large numbers of middle class families.

*The article cites Susan Douglas's 2005 book, The Mommy Myth, as the source for the information.