I watched CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, where my Facebook Friend Hilary Rosen was on as a guest pundit, and with Paul Begala and Erick Erickson. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to the talk because I’ve heard the narrative so much. Yes, Rosen did get a comment in about Mitt Romney’s wife Ann Romney, and said “Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.”
That, to me, was a given. It passed right over my head. So, when I rose from slumber, took a look at the Twitter Trend, and saw the name “Hilary Rosen,” I feared she died before I could actually meet her. Not the case.
What she did was ignite a much-needed conversation about women and work in the 21st Century. Ann Romney took offense to Rosen’s comments, and joined Twitter, quickly drawing just over 10,000 followers, to this writing. So, she’s now engaged in social media at the micro-blogging level. If this skirmish does anything, it will bring Ann squarely into the 21st Century.
But the bottom line is Hilary was both right and very wrong. My dear Mom’s right in the middle. She’s 78, and majored in Home Economics – a major that in her day was very common. Today, it translates into my Mother’s much-appreciated ability to ‘keep house’ – cook, clean, host, and so on. It never occurred to me that what Mom learned to do wasn’t work, thanks to the teachings of my intellectual model: John Kenneth Galbraith.
It was Professor Galbraith – a champion of the Working Woman if there ever was one – who, in a short passage I read years ago, explained the economic significance of the woman who stayed at home and ‘kept house.’ Because of that, the need to have a place that made sure the working man was well-fed and ready for the working World, I never looked down on my Mom’s college major.
But guess what? My Mom never really got to use all of her Home Economics skills all day, because she was out working herself: first at the U.S. Post Office, then as one of United Airlines’ first large group of black hires.
So Mom’s a mix of Hilary Rosen and Ann Romney, with a little Rosa Parks thrown in. It’s for that reason Hilary’s comments about Ann Romney kind of went over my head; I didn’t take her words seriously because I didn’t actually discount what Ann Romney did.
Plus, as a Democrat, and an observer of the scene, and a video-blogger, I was thinking of how I would have express Hilary’s points differently than she did.
I think Rosen could have said “Ann Romney represents a different time, when Women stayed at home. I hope she support working women of today, because we need her on our side.”
From my view, there’s no need to demonize women who came up in the Home Economics era. First, because they really helped build the economy. Second, because you’d be insulting my Mom, and I don’t like that at all.
There’s no question but that working women have it hard, but that is no reason to blast the at-home working woman of the past. Now, having said that, to Ann Romney, I say, “Welcome to Twitter: Vote for Obama!”