Friday, February 18, 2011

Family Values...... wha?

After reading Scotties posting today about the blocked internet access for gay themed sites, I began a search for an understanding, oh - even a definition of the republican term "Family Values". Couldn't find one. I don't think it exists.
One fun columnist described family values much like obscenity was defined: I don't know what it is but I'll know it when I see it. Great. Thanks for the help. With my trusty google in hand....ok, get your mind out of the gutter!...I began a search. I found a veritable mine field of El Toro's edifications......
It would seem that in the 14th Century, the common definition included all within the patriarchial control. ie; a family is headed by a patriarch, and included all blood descendants and spouses, servants and slaves. By the 16th Century, that definition changed to only include the blood family and spouses. Now, if we can do a little parallel thinking here we find that the founding and rise of the United States seems coincidental to the very change in definition of what makes a family. Isn't that ironic.
As things seem to have progressed, the spreading of the family - perhaps due in great part by the opening of a whole new world for exploration and settling, held a greater declination of the family than anything - see Little House on the Prairie. Charles Ingalls left his family home in Illinois to head Minnesota to make his fortune. What then happened is that the family became fractured; the head of the family was no longer the great patriarch, but, well, Pa. This fracturing of the family continued with the moving on of Mary, Carrie, Grace, and one could get rid of Laura. For that matter, we never really do know what happened to Carrie and Grace....and Albert just drove off into the sunset.
So, what does dictate "family values"? The term seems most evident in referring to Pa going to work, Ma cooking and cleaning, and little lambs 1, 2, and .5 all frolicking in the prairie grass on the way to school. Everyone gets back together for dinner and church. Oh, have to go to church. It all depends on where you are as to what church is described as "acceptable" verses "radical". And yet, if we follow the Ingalls family, we find that Pa worked at home in the fields and sometimes away from home in town, in other towns, even on a railroad. He even worked in a bar! (Gasp!) At that time, the Ingalls were living over a bar!!! There was scandal! So, were they still the "family values" champion? What about when Ma worked....the shame. But, it was ok, she was still cooking and cleaning.
Well, perhaps we need to look at things a bit more philosophically. Since the republicans will never actually define something - lest they be held to that definition - and instead proclaim this ideal trait called "family", how does Charles Ingalls regard family?
He works hard. He values community, helping his neighbors and town. He values education. He looks toward a brighter future for his children by working and saving and seeking better things for them. He loves them when they make mistakes, he supports them when they do things their way rather than stay at home under his roof, and he never casts them to the side.
  • So, Mr. Republican: why is it greater to give to the rich than the working man?
  • Why is the rich, who need little, more worthy than the poor in the community?
  • Why do we need to beg to have our children fed, educated, and given health care?
  • And why are you more interested in that adult child's bedmate than what is in his belly, mind, and the health of his body?

One columnist I read said that the best and perhaps only definition of "family values" is that the man spouting it the loudest is just really only valuing his family. I would add...his wallet.