The conservasphere has been having a field day with this one. In case you haven’t seen it yet, MSNBC has a new “Lean Forward” ad campaign featuring on-air personality Melissa Harris-Perry weighing in on public education, and how it relates to children and their families:
“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had a private notion of children, your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s we start making better investments.”
Where to begin with the creepiness of this? Or that some executive at MSNBC thought a clip like this would bolster the network’s credibility as a serious news organization? As my regular readers know I don’t write about topics where someone else smarter than me has already weighed in, so I’ll give you the best analysis I’ve caught so far. The guys over at Trifecta – Scott Ott, Steven Green & Bill Whittle give this bit of intellectual effluent the ridicule it so thoroughly deserves. The video is well worth taking nine minutes to watch.
For those of you who didn’t watch the video, the most damning argument against her view is the reality of educational spending in the United States. The problem is not that money isn’t being spent, it’s that it’s being spent on the kind of people who, well, probably spent too much time taking classes learning the kind of worthless grievance mongering that Harris-Perry teaches.
So when the controversy broke, Harris-Perry did what any sensible leftist would do when caught saying something dumb - she doubled down on stupid:
“So those of you who were alarmed by the ad can relax. I have no designs on taking your children. Please keep your kids! But I understand the fear. We do live in a nation where slaveholders took the infants from the arms of my foremothers and sold them for their own profit. We do live in a nation where the government snatched American Indian children from their families and “re-educated” them by forbidding them to speak their language and practice their traditions. But that is not what I was talking about, and you know it.”
Translation: “I have very strong views on this subject, and when you present me with facts that contradict my beliefs it hurts my feelings.”
So where does the title of my post come in? A while back I wrote about the hypocrisy of the left on environmental issues by using the “Chicken Hawk” term:
I’m just glad that Foghorn Leghorn isn’t raising me!
One term that the left liked to use in criticism of anyone who disagreed with Kerry, and more specifically, also supported the war in Iraq was a “Chicken Hawk.” The term was a play on the “Hawks vs. Doves” argument in terms of one’s view of warfare, and was referring to the pro-war Hawks being too chicken to enlist. When you get down to it, it probably wasn’t the best term for what was trying to be conveyed, since chicken hawks are birds of prey, not to mention the name of one of the coolest Warner Brothers characters drawn in the Bugs Bunny cartoons. The intended meaning was directed toward anyone of fighting age or with children of fighting age who were not serving in Iraq. The basic message was that the leftists were justified in opposing the war because they were trying to bring the troops back home beside them. If you supported the war and weren’t volunteering to enlist and personally throw yourself on an IED or have your sons do so you had no moral standing to support the war.
I use the Chicken Hawk term for anyone out there who is spouting this “It takes a village” vomit about raising a child. It takes a parent, preferably two. In fairness to Harris-Perry, there is small bit of truth to what she says. When Sister Babe and I were looking for a home a huge factor was finding a good neighborhood to raise children. The schools in the area ranked high on our list, as did the neighborhood, what places were in driving or walking distance, etc. And I can see where the notion that children belonging to the state goes hand in hand with leftist notions of responsibility. As I summed up our differences in philosophy a while back:
Conservative: “I should do something to help”
Leftist: “Someone else should be forced to do something to help”
But no matter how much we love our community, the school teachers, and our neighbors, at the end of the day the ones responsible for raising any children are their parents. You’re not the one getting up to feed my baby when he’s crying at 4:00 AM, you’re not the one who’s carrying around a 15 pound dead weight when he’s fussing, you sure as (dung) aren’t the one who carried and gave birth to him. If you want to raise a kid, raise a kid yourself. Don’t tell me how mine “belongs” to you and your statist friends. Or as @iowahawk tweeted, “Feminists: “don’t like abortion? Fine, don’t have one.” Me: “want to raise children? Fine, make your own.”"
Out of curiosity I looked Harris Perry’s web site to see what she’s doing these days. In addition to having a show on MSNBC, she is also a teacher at Tulane University, an author, and of course, professional victimhood advocate as the founding Director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South. That’s a lot to do for anyone, but I also checked around and saw that she has a daughter who is around ten years old. One thing parenting quickly teaches everyone is humility and not to judge other parents, but maybe if instead of juggling so many projects she spent more time being a mother she wouldn’t see such a great need for state ownership of her child? I have no idea of what her husband’s role is in raising their daughter, but when they got married he knew what he was getting into (the daughter was from a first marriage). Hopefully he plays a more active role than the state in raising the girl? Being a parent means a lot of sacrifices, and actually trying to be a good parent means a lot more sacrifice. I sincerely hope that their family has found that right balance that works for them. And of course, this entire discussion raises a very uncomfortable question for leftist thought: How come for the first nine months of life a child is nothing more than “a choice” for a woman to make, but after birth it belongs to the community?
And don’t worry, Ms. Harris-Perry. I can assure you that I’m taking an active role in raising Baby Bob. After all, someone has to help prepare him for the day when he sits in the classroom being taught by one of your disciples.
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog