The Damage of Cheap Political Points
Providence Journal photographer Kathy Borchers (and her editor) lobbed a softball out there to accompany Steve Peoples’s predictable coverage of the other night’s State House events (PDF), and Matt Jerzyk hammered it into the ground:
In one corner we have MEN IN SUITS who are longtime advocates for lowering taxes on the richest millionaires and corporate tycoons at the expense of health care and child care!
In the other corner we have WOMEN & CHILDREN who desperately want to save a program that helps poor kids have equal opportunities for early childhood development.
What’s irksome about such unimaginative political gamesmanship is how oblivious the speakers generally are of the consequences of their own rhetoric. To adopt the metaphor, disadvantaged children would be much better off if their own fathers were, themselves, to become “MEN IN SUITS” — responsible, hard-working citizens. (And it isn’t at all unlikely that some of the pictured women are married to “MEN IN SUITS,” thus enabling their participation in a midday rally.) Jerzyk has contributed to the hackneyed cliché vilifying such men, who are never portrayed with the dignity of standing up for the survival of their businesses (and the families, both their own and employees’, thereby supported), but always as scraping with greedy fingers at the world’s good deeds. Their efforts to decrease public handouts are never treated as if there’s any counterbalance from their efforts to increase general prosperity such that others can earn what is not given.
The aggregate image thereby created provides a powerful rationalization for those eager to chase their natural libidicism down the path that leads away from their familial responsibilities. No less are women given license not to join the forces of supposed commercial evil or to encourage men toward it. Sadly, righteous leftward purity can often come at the taxpayer’s expense.
When one considers that Jerzyk titled his post not “Men v. Women & Kids,” but “Daddy v. Mommy & the Kids,” his boilerplate propagandizing moves from troublesome to despicable. Hesitance to question whether progressive family-destructive efforts are deliberate begins to evaporate when the professional (MEN IN SUITS) advocates drive such wedges into the culture.