Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more

At left: Maggie Gallagher spreads her poison at Harvard. (Photo stolen from a right-wing website I will not give hits to!)

Whilst skimming an article last evening, I got pissed off and imagined myself ranting and raving on Bill O'Reilly, wherein he eventually cuts my mike. (This is actually a frequent, favorite fantasy of mine.)

Who got me all stirred up? Maggie Gallagher, former single mother.

Question: Why is Maggie allowed to have a nontraditional family, but nobody else is? OHHH of course, she is heterosexual. That's IT! That's the WHOLE REASON!

I can't remember which conservative essay I once read by Gallagher, some time in the 90s, in which she painted a familiar portrait of harried single motherhood, in predictably exhausted terms. (Biographical note: Your humble narrator was briefly a single mother also, an experience totally worthy of a nervous breakdown, or several.) She described her son crying for his father, a well-written and evocative passage, and I made personal note of it.

And now, she is preaching to other people about what constitutes a "real" family.

Women like Gallagher (and Sarah Palin) make me livid. It was not traditional motherhood, but feminism that made it possible for Gallagher to attend the once all-male Yale and hang with the guys from the once all-male National Review. They did not voluntarily allow her in. Nonetheless, she launched a full-frontal attack on feminism (pausing to write an interesting obit for anti-porn feminist crusader Andrea Dworkin) titled Enemies of Eros: How the Sexual Revolution Is Killing Family, Marriage, and Sex and What We Can Do About It--which defended the basic Schalflyesque, right-wing view of relations between the sexes. Apparently, Maggie forgot that once upon a time, single women who gave birth were regarded as sluts and whores by this very same right wing. She seems to think none of that really applies to her. In fact, Newt Gingrich was ranting and raving as late as 1994, that children in single-parent homes might be better off in orphanages. (Did Maggie agree with that, or would she receive some special motherhood-dispensation as a contributor to the National Review?)

It is pertinent that Maggie wrote a book titled The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially. You should read that as nyah-nyah-nyah, neener-neener, we are allowed to get married and YOU PEOPLE aren't. She wants to zealously, deliberately deny these benefits to gay people, and has all kinds of bullshit reasons for doing so.

But you should not call her a bigot--because that's mean.

I was reading Politico's article about the various conservative and evangelical objections to Newsweek's religion vs gay marriage cover story, when I came across this:

In an e-mail to Politico, Maggie Gallagher, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, took a similar line, calling marriage “the one necessary adult relation in society – the way we bring together male and female to bring the next generation to life in a way that connects those children in love to their own mother and father.”

What about her own son?

Why does Maggie Gallagher get a fucking pass? Why is she allowed to be the president of this "pro-marriage" organization*, but clearly started breeding before she had any such need for marriage? How "pro-marriage" is that? Back in the old days, a big scarlet A. These days, they actually listen to her say things like this (from Maggie's Wikipedia entry):
Marriage as a universal social institution is grounded in certain universal features of human nature. When men and women have sex, they make babies. Reproduction may be optional for individuals, but it is not optional for societies. Societies that fail to have “enough” babies fail to survive. And babies are most likely to grow to functioning adulthood when they have the care and attention of both their mother and their father
Apparently, Maggie didn't get the memo that gay people have children too. Some of these children even have visitation with their natural parents (as other children of divorced parents do), and all the rest of it.

Does Maggie's son see his father regularly? (If so, why was he crying about having "no father" in the essay I read?) Does Maggie hold her own family to this same standard? Does she regard a marriage as "traditional" in which a child was first conceived from sex with another man, other than the one she is currently married to? BECAUSE IT ISN'T. THAT IS NOT TRADITIONAL. That used to be ANATHEMA.

And why doesn't she see that?

In short, that old song: decent treatment for ME, but not for THEE.

Maggie also warns:
Gay marriage is not primarily about marriage.... It is about inserting into the law the principle ... that sexual orientation should be treated exactly the same way we treat race in law and culture.... The next step will be to use the law to stigmatize, marginalize, and repress those who disagree with the government’s new views on marriage and sexual orientation.
To those of you who thought gay marriage was about, you know, MARRIAGE, well, just shows what YOU know. It's actually a nefarious plot to force "gay values" on everyone.

But you know, I hope Maggie is right in that last quote...if it means bigots like her get shamed, stigmatized and marginalized, I'm all for it. They deserve it. Maggie sez, in short, I have the right to break the old rules about marriage and child-rearing, and then pretend I have a traditional family, but you people can't.

And what about the CHILDREN?! More from Maggie:
Same-sex marriage advocates are saying there is no difference between two men being intimate and a husband and wife, even when it comes to raising children. They are saying that the opposite idea, that mothers and fathers both matter, is a form of hate, ignorance, animus, bias. That's why they claim that the normal definition of marriage is discrimination.
Again, I ask... what about her own son? Is she exempt from this rule?

Why did she have a child out of wedlock, not instantly given up for adoption to a proper, two-parent family?

I want to emphasize this point, again and again, because it really puzzles me as much as it interests me. I want to highlight the contradiction here. Because you know, Maggie ain't the only one. How many of California's Prop 8 voters were divorced and/or single parents? How many share this same prejudice, excusing their own nontraditional family-oriented behavior, but criticizing gay people? What causes this weird dislocation?

I have long been fascinated by the juxtaposition of what many conservatives SAY, and their actual behavior. William Bennett, author of the moralistic Book of Virtues, for example, later referred to as The Bookie of Virtue, as his gambling habits were made public. The aforementioned Newt Gingrich, preaching about the sanctity of the family, but serving divorce papers on his wife as she recovered from cancer surgery. And of course, Larry Craig, Ted Haggard and the whole Hee Haw gang.

The ongoing hypocrisy stuns, and is unbelievable.

*Gallagher is also the president of The Institute for Marriage and Public Policy.

Keeping the gays from getting married has proven to be a pretty lucrative gig!


Bryce said...

rant of the year, d! -applause-

John Powers said...

Off the mark a little, around where I live they recently bulldozed level an oak wood to build a plan of McMansions. I shook my head when I saw them going through with it despite the housing crisis. It's called Park Place, "Traditional living." How strange tradition with such shallow roots.

It's a slight of hand to call marriage a universal institution because we all know that every marriage is quite particular--no two exactly alike.

La Lubu said...

EXCELLENT takedown!!!

(I wonder if she also realizes how many kids spend their nights crying because they're getting abused by one or the other parent, or seeing/hearing one parent get abused by another, or hearing their "traditional" parents screaming vile, hateful shit at each other----all the while those parents are too hung up on the "traditional" value of staying married "for the sake of the children...."

CrackerLilo said...

My father died when I was 7, and my mom never remarried. Even if it weren't for the fact that I fell in love with another woman, my brother and I would have found the "one man one woman" rhetoric extremely hurtful. Once, a man in a coffee shop loudly held forth to his friend about the importance of "traditional" marriage. My brother asked him to please tone it down. He wouldn't. My brother said he "didn't order a side of asshole" with his coffee. The man stood up and asked him if he was
"some kind of faggot". My brother let him know that he is the son of a single mother and the brother of a same-sex-married woman before he knocked the man down and had to be pulled off.

And so now I see that a woman who produced so much of that rhetoric that has hurt guys like my brother, the way pigs produce shit, was talking about families like *hers*. Boys like *her* son. I could whale on her the way my brother did on that man in the coffee shop right about now.

This won't surprise you, but I have a similar fantasy about Bill O'Reilly.

Thank you for exposing this hypocrite for what she is.

thene said...


Perhaps I'm just being optimistic, but I think this sort of social conservatism is heading for a dead end, and is currently only continuing to be part of America's national conversation because Americans tend to give deference to extreme religious conservatives for no reason I can fathom.

also, ever noticed that guys who are single parents get a complete pass on this? They're just doing their best in a stressful situation (no matter how well they're actually doing, too), rather than an affront to the social order.

Renee said...

Awesome take down.

You are quite right to point out that these conservative women in leadership roles have often led, or lead lives in complete opposition of what they suggest for others. They are the Serena Joys of this world. YOu know damn well that if they ever got what they expected others to settle for they would not be happy. Rules for everyone else and not for me does not work.

mikeb302000 said...


Thanks for a great post. I never tire of hearing about these hypocritical conservatives who know nothing about walking the walk.

ZoBabe said...

Great post! What a glaring hypocrite.

Dennis the Vizsla said...

I never heard of this woman, but obviously she would just annoy me if I spent any time listening to her.

Maybe next election we can get a ballot initiative banning divorce. I'd like to see how many of her crowd would support that ...

sheila said...

Hypocracy totally rules the higher ups here. You see it everyday in DC and in the state gov'ts. Looks at that dude who was caught solicting his male pages....he's the same guy who wrote anti-gay legislation...all while practicing being gay himself.

The evangelical preacher who advised many in the conservative party - caught with a GUY that he'd 'visited intimately' for years.

The dude who played footsie in the bathroom stall? (um, yuck...do you know how many germs are in a bathroom? lol)

It's almost as stupid as religious people basing their vote on the conservative candidates and their moral beliefs. (most don't actually HAVE morals)

Great post.

YogaforCynics said...

I often wonder about people like this who are so blatantly hypocritical, and yet clearly intelligent enough to translate such hypocrisy into wealth and fame. Ultimately, I don't think they're bigots; I think they're sociopaths who'll say anything if it brings them some of that money the Limbaugh crowd is so willing to spend on anything other than food and healthcare for the needy, and a spotlight. In much the same way, I wonder about the countless fundamentalist Christians who ravenously supported Sarah Palin for vice president though, when the subject is gender roles in heterosexual marriage, start reeling off Bible quotes about women being subordinate to men (and even that Eve being tempted by the serpent means that women shouldn't be allowed to make decisions for themselves)--no doubt, they would've brought out all of that stuff had Hilary Clinton been the Democratic candidate. And then, you've got zealots like Alan Keyes who sing the praises of adoption when talking about abortion, but, when talking about gay couples adopting, say that it could lead to accidental incest....Again, I think calling them bigots gives them too much credit, implying that they actually are honest enough to say what they actually think rather than whatever will get those right wing Limbaugh fans to open their wallets....

polerin said...

grar. I should know better than to check the blogs if I'm having trouble sleeping. About all my mind can come up with right now is for hope is, "And this too shall pass."

Ol Cranky said...

Maggie forgot that once upon a time, single women who gave birth were regarded as sluts and whores by this very same right wing. She seems to think none of that really applies to her

She's a "good Christian" (all right-wing and holier than thou and stuff) which means her single-motherhood was an act of heroism and martyrdom whereas yours (having different political and religious ideals and all) was an act of slutitude.

FWIW - I think all sane, logical thinking people have that Bill O fantasy.

Quercki M. Singer said...

Also, she doesn't recognize that the world is over-populated. Probably just simple racism on her part. Not enough white babies--the others don't count.