For this my final post of Women’s History Month 2012, I will look at something that Susan Faludi says about conservative activist Connie Marshner on page 243 of her 1991 book Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women.
“In the winter of 1974, [Connie] discovered she was pregnant. ‘I assumed I would give it [the job] all up, but then we were dirt poor so I didn’t.’ [Her husband] Bill was in graduate school and she had no maternity medical benefits; her emergency delivery and seven-day hospital stay nearly wiped out their savings. In 1976, she was pregnant again. By then, she was holding down two jobs—-as a research consultant for the Heritage Foundation and a field coordinator for the Committee for Survival of a Free Congress. And she had just accepted a publisher’s advance to write a book on education. Bill, meanwhile, was enrolled in a divinity graduate program in Texas. Rather than move west and sacrifice her work, Marshner stayed on in Washington and sent her one-year-old son to her mother’s house in Baltimore. In the final months of the pregnancy she rejoined her family in Texas, so that her husband could handle the child care and cooking—-‘thank goodness for Bill’—-while she finished the book, writing into the night. ‘I was typing the final draft when I went into labor,’ she recalls.”
It’s tempting to assume that conservatives have no idea about the problems that lower and even middle income people face: women having to bring in a paycheck to support their family, and the threat of having one’s savings wiped out by medical bills. That may be true with many conservatives, but there certainly are exceptions, as you can see in the passage above. That said, why would Connie Marshner not support the government making things easier on families that are in the same predicament that hers was at some point—-by helping them with child care, housing, and health care? Fortunately, she had extended family that could help her. But what about people who do not have that kind of extended family support? Perhaps Connie Marshner believes that the government makes things worse, or she supports conservative solutions to problems such as the high cost of health care. One reason why I switched from Republican to Democrat, however, was that Republicans did not appear to me to be all that concerned about pushing for their proposals to reform health care. The Democrats, by contrast, strike me as more concerned about the issue.