The Intersection of Fatherhood and Politics
Nothing makes a man more complete than the birth of their first child. Their arrival in this world is a visual, sensorial, and emotional memory that can never be forgotten. To the chagrin of my wife, this moment was also the birth of untold politically related reaffirmations. Sorry, Honey.
I always knew that abortion would never be an option for me. In those “If I were king” conversations, I usually sat on the fence; I personally couldn’t go through with it, but surely the other peasants could make their own decisions. From the most impersonal glance at data, if you figure 18 million black babies have been aborted since Roe V. Wade, and the median household income for black families is just $33,000, how on earth could the black community provide for an additional 18 million mouths? It’s a crude but necessary question to ask as ruler of the kingdom. And, since poverty generally correlates with abortion, from a mile-high view one almost has to admit there are benefits related to resource allocation.
After seeing my child come out, with her tiny fingers and tinier fingernails, from the moment she was placed on my wife’s chest I realized everything about her is a little person and my outlook shifted tectonically. How does anyone morally reconcile abortion, especially ones occurring in the 2nd- and 3rd-trimester, if they’ve ever seen an ultrasound, let alone ever held their own newborn? We struggle as a society with the death penalty when it impacts horribly depraved human beings and yet we are comfortable disposing of forty million fully developed and innocent lives?
I always considered him vile, but a newfound scorn for people like Virginia Democrat Governor Ralph Northam emerged after holding my precious person. This is a man whose bill allows for a woman to decide to abort even as she is dilated or follow through with an attempted abortion even as it results in a successful delivery. I don’t even care about the blackface scandal (and apparently no one else did either); for this bill alone Governor Northam should have been excommunicated from political life. How is this not outright murder? But he’s a Democrat, so, you know. In an alternate universe, you just know that President Trump is signing a bill allowing for states to decide whether or not they will permit abortion and Democrats are calling him a baby killer. Tell me I’m wrong.
There is also the issue of female empowerment. You would have to be insane to think that as a proud new papa I would somehow wish less for my daughter. “I love you,” I soothingly coo to her at night, followed up with, “And I can’t wait for you to be relegated to second-class status.” Snarky commentators will write “That’s exactly what you’re doing!”
Let me save those trolling fools the trouble. There is no gender wage gap, there are no invisible glass ceilings, and there are no restrictions on what a woman can do in American society because of her sex.
If you want to discuss legalized harms toward women, I am happy to have the transgender law conversation that allows for broad-shouldered, chest-hair flaunting, and penis-wielding men into women’s restrooms and locker rooms. We can agree that some codifications are egregious toward women, as these laws are, because I do not want my girl exposed to men in a setting created for her to feel safe with other women. I definitely wouldn’t want her in a woman’s shelter for abused women (God willing she is never abused) that allows confused men in. Isn’t that the point of women’s shelters?
It gets really tangled when you think about abortion and female empowerment together. Do aborted girls’ lives matter? Just asking.
It would also be impossible to reflect on culture without acknowledging her white privilege. But guess what? She has none. She will be spoiled by virtue of her being in my home, and if that qualifies as white privilege then I am not sure how to describe the black baby in our neighborhood who has all of the same things we do. They are two educated, working, and loving parents who live in the same neighborhood, have the same access to good healthcare, and will attend the same great school district. If my white baby girl is privileged, how does one explain this black baby girl? Should I go to her house and take everything while saying that expensive strollers and swaddles are part of white privileged culture and she doesn’t get to appropriate them?
Quite the opposite will play out. When the black girl gets older and is moved to the front of the line of applications and employment for her intersectional bonus points of being black and female, or is allowed to run through a Target or Gucci grabbing everything in sight without fear of judicial reprimand it is hard to see where whiteness comes into play as an overt benefit. I will have to explain to my daughter that sometimes checking off a box is good, and sometimes it’s irrelevant. It depends on the leftist battle being waged that day. That little black girl might even one day grow up in a society where, just because of her skin color, she is entitled to monthly handouts during and after a pregnancy specifically or reparation handouts in general. Ah, skin privilege.
Contrary to supposed hindrances, she is actually entering a world of benefits. By virtue of being a woman, she has immediate access to college scholarships and tax benefits if she ever owns her own business. In California, simply for having an X-chromosome, more estrogen, and the other requisite physical features of females, she is now required to sit on any publicly-traded board. Never mind the merit or her skillset, she can simply demand a seat. If she becomes a mother like my wife, she will get twelve weeks of leave and her husband will only get two.
There is also the security of never being drafted in the event of a large-scale mobilization. At the age of eighteen, all men must register with the Selective Service. My little one will not. Last I checked, most of the 58,000 names on the Vietnam Memorial (there are eight equally heroic female nurses), and those belonging to the fallen soldiers in Korea, Japan, and Germany were mostly those of men. It is well and good that Rosie built Liberty Ships, but Johnny was taking bullets.
At the end of the day, my daughter will be empowered or victimized by one single element: Her own attitude. She will perhaps encounter the same nonsense as other feminists but will react in the opposite manner. In 2020, if someone makes a stupid statement about her being a woman, that’s more of a reflection on them than it is her. In that case, the only thing that is limited is the other person’s IQ, not my daughter’s abilities.
She will rise above nonsensical complaints of America being overbearingly patriarchal, realize that the human condition is hard for everyone while and also appreciate that no other country in the history of the world has made life more palatable for women than our own. This, instead of marching on a workday in response to a president’s inauguration who has, after almost four years, yet to invite a single iota of evidence that he discriminates or diminishes women.
I refuse to raise a daughter to internalize every foolish or off-handed comment as evidence of a system out to get her. Did the system stop Hillary from running for President? Kamala Harris from running as presumptive President Vice President? Sarah Palin? What about the forty-four past or present female state governors and spate of representatives for Congressional House and Senate seats? And those are just national political examples. Last I heard, it was about time for a woman to be president because...she was a woman.
Are these the qualifications now? I expect more for my daughter. When she earns something, I want her and everyone around her to know she earned it. I do not want people to question whether or not she was deserving, or simply got a free lunch for having certain genitalia.
I admit, for a conservative political and cultural commentator, having a baby girl has been great. It provides endless ammunition against the supposed hatred of and bigotry toward women by conservative men. The only thing better than having a female baby would be having a black baby, but then my wife and I would have to have a serious conversation.