Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Belated Melancholy Monday: Real Family Values

I think the majority of the readers of this blog are as sick as I am of the hollow rhetoric of "family values." We could get behind a party that rallied around family values if it meant more than anti-gay, anti-feminism, and pro-gun. If family values meant that parents weren't penalized by employers for taking care of elderly parents or sick children, we would be ecstatic. If family values meant quality, affordable day care for men and women who need to work to make ends meet, or women and men who work because it is integral to their identity, we would yell "hurrah!" If family values meant that every child born in this country would be guaranteed affordable health care, we would be singing the praises of"family values" candidates. Or, if family values meant that we cared enough about our environments--our towns, cities, states, or world--then, well you get the picture . . .

The Sunday Times magazine has a wonderful piece, entitled "Family-Leave Values," which describes a new wave of lawsuits aimed specifically at holding the family values crowd to their rhetoric. Eyal Press details how the provocative ideas of law professor, Joan C. Williams, who wrote Unbending Gender, are catching on and being used to successfully sue employers who terminate men and women--conservative evangelicals or progressive lefties--for taking time off to care for their family.

Now that's putting your money where your mouth is. Funny, it isn't a "values" voter doing it, either. Williams even stunned feminists who thought this would never work.