i read this essay in the back of my roomie's latest Time mag while taking a morning constitutional and i had a suspicion that something was wrong.
1. the whiny victim tone. sweetie, you're not a victim. the image of ms. flanagan, homey homemaker, being marched back to the protective arms of the GOP while the mean girls of the Dem party hoot bad names and vulgar gestures because ms. flanagan is a nice girl who'd rather stay home than hold a picket sign is ridiculous. from all reports, ms. flanagan is just as privileged as her husband; she is an accomplished writer who earns money with her writing, and has a staff to help her do it. how many traditional housewives get that? (and, frankly, the notion that only SHE gets to have a dead mother whom she misses desperately is sickening and offensive.)
2. the sticking up for the white male. does the White Male (as signifier) really need another apologist? really? is it stigmatizing the WM to reveal the existence of those on the outside, rather than to always cater to those on the inside with ultimate cultural privilege? (like any other upper middle class white woman, she's uncomfortable with having privilege revealed and being called out on it.) i think it's interesting that she chooses to frame her argument like this, rather than say that the Dem party has abandoned the working man - which it hasn't and she'd be hard pressed to show that it has.
or perhaps her allegation would ring truer if she wrote that the 'beer-guzzling, union-dues paying' white guy got the shit scared out of him by the GOP when 9/11 hit. rather, flanagan makes the WM a victim like herself and we all know how much they suffer, don't we?
3. she's wrong. perhaps i'm watching the wrong Democratic party but i've always felt that the party has been abject in its pursuit of the Housewife. it's women like me the party's abandoned - single women, single women of color, single working men and women. in my particular case, the post-election backpedaling on the choice issue is one such example; discussion abounded that perhaps the language of reproductive choice was too scary for those housewives living in places like naperville; it was too angry. and where are the policies that look out for the interests of the people like me in the party - people who don't live in a subdivision, people without children, but still people who work hard and believe heartily in progressive causes? instead we watch as the party fumbles for its nerve and makes concessions to those easily upset.
so if anyone is being alienated by the Dems, it's not a housewife. and it's certainly not because of contempt. to muster contempt, a party must have vast stores of anger and the GOP spits it continuously while we swallow ours and hope no one notices.
TIME.com: We're Here, We're Square, Get Used to It -- May. 08, 2006 -- Page 1
Joan Walsh about Flanagan on the Huffington Post