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Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Sunday, May 11, 2003

Mother's Day in America

Parenting Models in America, or, Happy Mother's Day!

I've been thinking about parenting models of family and have been reading the two part interview with George Lakoff; Left Out By Right Rhetoric part 1, and The Moral Imperative part 2.

"There are two different ideal models of the family that I’ll call a Strict Father Family and a Nurturing Parent Family," Lakoff said, theorizing that conservatives embrace a strict father ideal, and liberals a nurturing one.

He talks of how liberals have a problem framing their message: "Liberals have the idea that if you just tell people the facts, people will be rational, and reach the right conclusion. The facts will set you free. They won't! The facts unframed -- if not framed properly in the appropriate moral way, won't set you free! People won't reach the appropriate conclusions. It is very important that the facts be understood in some moral framework. The conservatives have understood that, and they frame everything they have in a moral framework...."

The conservative, Strict Father Family (the Bush adminstration), says; "Of course, we know! No back-talk! ... We know what’s right, we have the authority and the power. And we’re not going to debate it. We’re just going to tell you what’s right and if you don’t like it we’ll punish you!"
and then they throw in some of the Republican Attack Machine tactics to further denigrate anyone who has dissenting views.

My mother, who, thankfully doesn't read what I write, is, for parenting purposes, a Strict Father, while my father is a Nurturing Parent. (I was adopted, therefore, my 'nature vs nuture' views are a bit different than Lakoff's.) For years, I lived with the overbearing equivilent of FOX TV in my family. There was no democracy, only a dictatorship. My father's voice was drowned out, as is the liberal voice in America today. Possibly, because of the inborn 'nature' of my self, I was compelled to remove myself from that situation at age 14. I ran away from home. I never really went back, and, although we have smoothed things over through the years, the dictatorship still rules.

Although I'm older now, and should be able to find solutions to stifle the dictator and allow the voice of democracy to be heard loud and clear, all I can hear are the echos of a dictatorship growing stronger. This is not America. This is not family. Like a child who desperately wants cohesiveness, I will fight a while longer, but, possibly because of the inborn 'nature' of my self, I will be compelled to remove myself from the situation again, as my moral framework is bound together by democracy, not by force.

posted by Cyndy | link | | |


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