Conservatives and their political party, the Republicans, espouse an ardent family value lifestyle that influences everything they do. They believe that any policy or legislation they propose should be intertwined into family values. For starters, claiming something so specific as family values is ridiculous due to the various types of families living in this country. This issue came to the forefront this week when a video surfaced of Representative Vance McAllister from Louisiana kissing a woman who was not his wife. McAllister is a Republican who is part of the family values party but went against the social platform beloved by his constituents and peers. According to his creed, McAllister should be resigning, head in his hands, full of shame but instead is ignoring it, and has no plans to curtail his political career.
The sooner Republicans drop the holier than thou family values malarkey and start acting like everyone else – flawed and human- the better they will come across to mainstream voters. People don’t approve of adultery, but hypocrisy is much worse.
Disingenuous Family Values:
This isn’t a call for everyone to go out and cheat on their spouse or be a ‘sinner’, but the notion of family values in politics is ridiculous. Families are intensely personal entities that don’t necessarily have shared blood, but do have a core belief in having each others back, helping each other through problems, and to be accepting of each others mistakes. It certainly isn’t about chastising other families on how they operate because, at the end of the day, there is no prototypical “perfect” family and it’s time Republicans realize that.
“Family values” is a purposely vague term so that politicians can lump anything under its umbrella. Just take a look at this 2004 Republican Platform report It may be a decade old, but the point of being a conservative is that nothing changes. Here are the core principles of family values:
No sex outside of marriage
Women maintain a traditional role within the family
No same sex marriage
Support of complementarianism
Support for abstinence education
Protecting children from exploitation
Is that what family is all about? Instead, that seems more like a list of ways to prohibit human rights and freedoms. You cannot have sex before marriage, women must be a stay at home mother, no marriage for gay people in love, and women do not have the right to chose what happens to their bodies.
The issue of complementarianism is something out of the Taliban’s guidebook to a healthy home environment as it is the belief that men and women are not capable of the same roles in life and marriage. Instead, their different abilities allow them to compliment each other, thus making a happy and whole family. It’s almost funny that Republicans still wonder why women support them less and less as the years go on.
Now back to Representative McAllister, who not only cheated on his wife with one of his staff members, but did so with the wife of one of his biggest donors, making it seem like that family’s money wasn’t enough.
In the face of this scandal, McAllister affirmed he will run for re-election because the people should decide if he is fit for political office. His point is valid: kissing someone should not necessarily exclude you from executing legislation, but the representative’s hypocrisy is another matter.
Add Hypocrisy to the List:
McAllister is notorious for mentioning religion and family values in all of his campaign ads. Another feature to McAllister’s dedication to family values is his endorsement from Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. If you don’t remember, Phil is a star of a popular reality show and was the guy with the long beard who made anti-gay remarks .
The Duck Dynasty guys are supposedly role models for both family values and rednecks alike and McAllister even brought Robertson to the State of the Union speech after he made his bigoted remarks. McAllister isn’t backing down on his stance, but what about the staffer who he kissed? She was fired, of course.
There have been many stories about Republicans acting human even though they want the public to believe they walk a divine path. There was the Larry Craig Scandal which consisted of a longtime Republican politician soliciting homosexual sex in an airport bathroom. However, Republicans aren’t’ the only ones who get caught.
There was, of course, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer who was found with high-end prostitutes, and the notorious NY congressman Anthony Weiner who sent out nude pictures to women. Both were effective politicians but were consumed by scandal and eventually stepped down.
In the case of Representitive Weiner, a poll found that 56% of his constitutents wanted Wiener to stay in congress. In opposition, 33% wanted him to resign, and 12% were undecided. It would be safe to assume that a large portion of that 33% were Republicans who wanted Weiner gone no matter what. It begs the question that formed during the Clinton Presidency: Does one’s personal life and political life have to coincide?
Relating to the population, and especially your constituents, is an important factor of running for public office, but there is a clear line between walking the walk and talking the talk. To err is human, but a large portion of American politicians don’t acknowledge this maxim. Having a strong family is important, but it should not be an excuse to limit the freedoms of others