The Presidential debates happened last night, with Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama squaring off in a town hall style format that touched on everything from economic issues to immigration reform to gun control. That last issue got a little complicated though when the discussion on AK-47s suddenly became an issue about single-parent families. Mainly, Mr. Romney suggested that having children out of wedlock results in gun violence. As a woman who has never and will never own a gun, but did have a child before I got married, I have a few follow-up questions for the former Governor from Massachusetts.
Before we get into my follow-up though, let’s all be clear on just what Mitt Romney said. Both candidates stressed that gun violence was not just a problem of lax laws, but a cultural issue that needs to be addressed. Both suggested that better education could keep young people from getting involved in gun violence. But Romney took it a step further and used the question as a platform to shift the blame to everyone’s favorite scapegoats, single mothers.
We need moms and dads helping raise kids. Wherever possible, the — the benefit of having two parents in the home — and that’s not always possible. A lot of great single moms, single dads. But gosh, to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone — that’s a great idea because if there’s a two-parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically. The opportunities that the child will — will be able to achieve increase dramatically.
So we can make changes in the way our culture works to help bring people away from violence and give them opportunity and bring them in the American system.
Call me crazy, but I don’t feel like he really meant that whole, “A lot of great single moms, single dads,” bit. And I would love a little clarification on when being a single parent is acceptable and when it’s just an issue of a couple not thinking about marriage before having a child. Not to mention, did my marriage two years after my daughter was born finally bring me in “the American system”? Where was I before?
As we’ve mentioned more than once before, single mother statistics suck. They make huge, broad generalizations about an enormous amount of people. In the last year, the majority of children in the US were born to single parents. If your plan to control gun violence involves getting lots of couples to say, “I Do,” you might want to start drafting some really comprehensive back-ups. Or invest in kevlar.
The biggest problem with Romney insinuating that single parents are now a dangerous threat to our society is that it distracts from even bigger issues in this election. His idiocy makes us completely forget that he’s against the assault weapons ban and wants no new legislation to regulate the types of guns that made massacres like Aurora possible.
What’s even more, Romney is extremely concerned about making sure that single moms get a ring on it, as long as they want to marry a man. See, Mitt doesn’t want to grant marriage rights to same-sex partners. So all of those children born out of wedlock to couples that aren’t legally allowed to marry must just be lost causes.
When my daughter was born, I was a single mother. That did not make me less able to teach my daughter values, to take care of her needs, to provide her with a stable and loving home. Whether I ever would’ve gotten married or not, there is no doubt that I would’ve taught my little girl about the dangers of guns and the problems of resorting to violence. Saying “I Do” did not make me suddenly more capable of instilling morals in my child, and the insinuation that it would is insulting to me as an individual and as a mother.