Family values | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Family values

Posted By on Sat, Oct 7, 2006 at 6:41 AM

E.J. Dionne sees the Foley scandal as another opportunity to re-examine "family values" in the political context.

Right out of the box, the widespread reaction to the Foley episode was that it would hurt the Republicans with their "base" of Christian and moral conservatives.

Well, yes, it will. But the implication here is that those of us who are not conservatives might somehow be less affected by what Foley did. Excuse me, but I am a married father of three, and that's more important to me than the fact that I am a liberal. Our kids matter infinitely more to my wife and me than the results of an election, even an election we both care a lot about. ...

"Family values" is more than a political slogan to be pulled off the shelf at election time. Republicans and conservatives do not have a monopoly on the commitments behind the phrase. For too long liberals have reacted against the idea of family values because they wrongly accepted it as a conservatives-only slogan. And many liberals who lead thoroughly old-fashioned, child-centered, family-oriented lives have not been willing to integrate that fact into the way they talk about policy.

Some liberals have been reluctant to embrace the phrase because they see it as implying a negative attitude toward single people or gays or lesbians. But the Foley case should demonstrate that the issue here is not about homosexuality. It is about whether adults, straight and gay alike, behave responsibly toward the young. ...

And, by the way, isn't it strange that politicians who expressed moral objections to the desire of adult gays and lesbians to marry seemed to take the Foley matter so lightly when it first came to their attention? Where is the morality here?


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