Moral Contradictions

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Uniquely American?

Here's the text as reported by the Drudge Report between President Bush and a middle-aged woman during an audience participation session covering Social Security reform.

MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.

THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?

MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)

I don't quite see the humor. I mean, all props to Ms. Mornin for working hard for her children and well-being. However, should she have to do this? Does she have a choice? From what little we know, she was dealt a hard life that she most likely was unplanned. A divorce is hard enough to deal with, but to raise a mentally challenged child can be daunting. Just to pay bills and put food on the table, she has to work 3 jobs and as President Bush alluded too,doesn't sleep much. We can also assume that she cannot pursue an education to get a better job without stretching herself thinner than she is now.

We can also infer that she probably doesn't get to spend that much time with her children. How much time (or energy) does she have to help them with their homework, go to soccer games, put a bandaid on a bloodied knee?

The bigger question is how many other Americans are in similar situations? How many American families, married or divorced, are forced to choose between food and quality time with their children? As the middle class continues to get squeezed by higher gas prices and lower real wages, how can Republicans legitimately say they are the party of family values?

I pray the church find ways to minister and serve people like Ms. Mornin. Perhaps family night activities once or twice a month or more marriage and family enrichment seminars to prevent divorce and all the fall-out from that. Anything and everything to ease the burden of reality that "Uniquely American" is exhausting and unhealthy.


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