The Romney and Ryan team supports programs and reforms that in many ways undercut their Orwellian rhetoric of family values. Behind all the antiabortion, prolife jingoism is a harsher reality than abortion.
In health care, the language of the GOP platform reads like a Republican’s wet dream. They use God terms like common sense, quality health care, choice, and lower costs to frame their idea of health care while framing Obamacare in devil terms like outdated liberalism, budget busting, lawsuit abuse and halting progress. In fact, this platform claims abortion is dangerous to well being of women, a statement that flies in the face of reality for millions of healthy, happy women who have had abortions. They believe that protecting the life of the unborn is affirming the dignity of women, regardless of what any woman may want. Conservatives in red states should be proud of these facts:
- The GOP’s silence on infant and maternal deaths is revealing.
- Infant mortality rank is 49 in the world at 5.98 deaths per 1,000 live births—behind all of Europe, Cuba, Iceland, Singapore
- Maternal death in 2008 in US was 1,000. Lifetime risk of maternal death 1 in 2100
- Pregnancy rates are higher in red states while abortion rates are lower. Sadly, extreme poverty is concentrated in red states, with a little over half of infants and toddlers living in red states live below poverty, meaning 2.3 million
- Red states have seen incomes grow 4.6 percent since 2007, adjusted for inflation, in large part to government benefits payments, like the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.
- Cuts to Planned Parenthood mean access to primary health care will no longer be available to the low-income women.
- Conservatives’ targeted regulations against abortion providers (TRAP) laws will continue to ravage a valuable health care sector.
On education, the GOP platform speaks of a “world-class system of primary and secondary education with high standards in which all students can reach their potential is critically important to America’s future. We believe parents should be empowered to send their children to the school of their choice.” From the perspective of national security, Condaleeza Rice, claims our schools are failing to prepare students for the 21st century. So here are a few facts from Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance, facts that get in the way of the GOP’s political oratory.
- The United States is #23 in global science and #31 in global mathematics education while it is #2 in teachers’ entry-level salaries.
- The high school graduation rate is 77%, behind Germany, Japan, Great Britain, France, Italy and Hungary.
- Students in Latvia, Chile and Brazil are making gains in academics three times faster than American students.
And let’s not forget that abstinence only education fails miserably in actually helping young people behave more responsibly when it comes to their sexuality.
Family values is a humpty dumpty term that conservatives love to use as if it’s biblical in origin. The term is as much about culture as it is about economics. So, let’s talk about how family values plays out across this nation by asking, “Which states have more teen births and more divorces?” If you were a gun-toting, pickup-driving tea bagger, you might think it would be the more liberal blue states like New York or Connecticut. The current statistics, however, show conservative, red states, with their traditional notions of family and failed abstinence programs,
having the highest rates of teen births and divorce. These are but two factoids that belie the conservative mantra of God-fearing family values. In fact, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States’ ranking among 29 other countries for family indicators is deplorable and is strongly correlated to policies pushed by conservatives. For example, paid maternity leave entitlement as a percentage of annual wage (29/29) and child poverty rate (25/ 26) are just a few of the pathetic family indicators for the U.S.
Behind the GOP’s jingoism about antiabortion, prolife and family values are counterintuitive realities that require your serious consideration before you vote in November.