Security Mom: The Sitcom

What a completely insane set of stereotypes this whole Security Moms demographic is.

CHARLOTTE, Sept. 17 — In his stump speech, President Bush plays up the benefits for women of deposing Afghanistan’s Taliban by describing mothers who were “whipped or killed, in some cases in the sports stadium,” and he singles out obstetricians who have been hurt by what he calls runaway lawsuits.

Bush’s strategists say he is trying to reach swing voters by showing how women benefit from his national security and economic policies, and it may be working. A few polls over the past month have shown him narrowing the gender gap that has dogged Republicans since Ronald Reagan’s race in 1980. Pollsters said the change is largely because security has become a bigger issue for all voters, making “security moms” one of this election’s hot categories and displacing Democrat-friendly issues such as health care and education.

Let’s start with the lunatic presumption that moms are more concerned about their kids’ security than dads. Appeals to “security” must be tailored to appeal to women, because, after all, women are weak-kneed creatures looking for someone to protect them and their children. NASCAR Dads, apparently, are concerned with cultural identifiers and branding. Moms are concerned about safety. It’s like an episode of “According to Jim” threw up all over the political discourse, with women cast as the all-knowing, serious, somewhat shrewish adults and men as the feckless car-racing aficionados, overgrown teenagers unconcerned about their children’s well-being.

Let’s move from that to the completely ridiculous idea that being concerned about security, the first thought on a woman’s mind is which presidential candidate will best protect her. According to the pollsters who come up with this crap, a woman’s question is not “How can I participate in making my own community more secure from forces of instability?” but “Who will best personify National Patrick Swayze, kicking the asses of swarthy men I’ve never met but who obviously wish me harm?”

And from there, we can draw the conclusion that women, who are more concerned about safety than men and want a presidential candidate to give them that safety, will choose George W. Bush. I’m sorry, but even if you buy the first two lines of bullshit, that still doesn’t automatically lead you to this. So you’re a mom, you’re concerned about safety, you look for promises of safety in a presidential candidate, and you choose the guy whose war killed your next-door-neighbor’s son or your nephew or God forbid your own kid? You choose the guy mired in Pet Goat Shit on 9/11, that guy? Girls, are any of you out there seriously buying this?

As a woman (though not a mom, not yet anyway) I’m concerned about safety. However, the source of my concern is the open-air drug market and gang war taking place not five miles east of my house. That’s a much more immediate threat to my security than Saddam Hussein ever was. I want somebody to make me feel safe from that, but I’m not looking at a presidential candidate. I’m looking at my local police department and I’m on the phone asking where’s the community meeting to talk about this mess. If I connect that to presidential politics at all, it’s to ask which candidate will improve funding for first-responders who can get to the shootings in time to arrest the assholes before they hide the gun in their kid’s Teletubby. And that ain’t the current president, thanks.

I despise the idea that to appeal to women, you have to make them afraid for their kids. I despise the idea that this kind of fear-mongering is an easier sell to women, and I despise the idea, pushed in the Post and elsewhere, that it only sells a president who wants those same kids for cannon fodder, nothing more.

I despise the idea that American women, who after all have not had the vote for the majority of our life as a country, would hold their approval so cheap as to be bought by someone appealing to their weakness, not their strength.

We’re better than this.