I am a proud progressive, both socially and economically. My heart bleeds just as much for economic justice as it does for full equality for women and the LGBT community. As a progressive, as a liberal, the primary objective for which I fight is the right to self-determination: people, regardless of race, class, gender, orientation or any other fortuitous circumstance of birth, should have the ability to pursue their dreams. My liberal identity comes from the belief that government must take a proactive role in ensuring that those whose origins were more humble than others are free from discrimination and at least have a ladder to climb, instead of being forced to watch helplessly as the more fortunate dance on the top rung.
Because of that, I highly respect the decision of Ann Romney to stay at home and raise their five children. It goes without saying that being extremely wealthy makes that decision much easier: the ability to hire nannies and housekeepers when necessary certainly alleviates some of the stresses commonly associated with stay-at-home parenthood. But that isn't the point: parents who choose to stay at home and raise children willingly risk forgoing the potential social prestige and economic benefits associated with developing an external career. My father, for instance, forsook a promising academic career to raise and home-school my brother and myself. Partly owing to personal experience, I feel that parents who feel that raising children is their calling should be highly respected for their choice: we, as progressives, should no more be in the business of telling parents, especially women, that they should work than the Catholic League should be in the business of telling them that they should sacrifice their ambitions to stay home with their children. What we as progressives must be in the business of doing is making sure that everyone has the ability to make that choice.
Here, however, is where my respect for Ann Romney ends. Once again, it is my job as a progressive to ensure that everyone has access to follow their dreams. Ann Romney, however, supports policies that will ensure that only people of her station will be able to make such sacrifices.
Back in 2003, current Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren co-authored a book called The Two-Income Trap. The main thesis was that even a decade ago, it took two incomes to maintain the same standard of living as one income could provide generations ago. The main culprits were the rising cost of education and the rising cost of insurance. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that these problems have only gotten more aggravated with the passage of time, further limiting the options of parents who might otherwise wish to stay home with children, but cannot spare the income, or in many cases forcing young people who just cannot figure out a way to get ahead of the game to delay marriage and child-rearing, waiting for an era of comfort and job security that may come far later than they expect, if ever.
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