This speech, Romney’s second public speech since he lost the 2012 election, demonstrates yet again why we are all SO fortunate that he DID lose that election. The fact is, the guy simply has no conception of – or respect for – the world most people live in nowadays. A few examples from this speech reflect a lot of what’s wrong with social conservatism, which in turn makes up a significant chunk of the off-the-deep-end Republican Party.
First, after erroneously congratulating the Southern Virginia University – a liberal arts school which “embraces the values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” – “class of 2012” (once again, appropriately, a right winger clinging to the past…), Romney launches into a speech that is relentlessly anti-modern, as well as relentlessly intolerant of anyone who doesn’t think like him, and relentlessly clueless about today’s reality.
For instance, at around 1 minute in, Romney makes a big joke about how it’s tough for parents to get their kids out of the home these days. In reality, of course, it’s not so funny, especially when you consider that the right-wing economic policies (austerity, cuts to the social safety net, disinvestment in education and other crucial human and physical capital, opposition to universal health care, the economic “race to the bottom,” equating corporations with people, encouraging wealthy people – and corporations – to pay the absolute minimum in taxes, crony capitalism run amok, offshoring/outsourcing, etc.) that Romney and his party support not only contributed greatly to the “Great Recession” that began in 2007, but have prolonged it and worsened it. And that, to a large extent, is why young people these days aren’t getting out of their parents’ houses as quickly as they’d like to — because Republican economic policies keep squeezing the middle class, keep making the poor poorer, and keep enriching the already super-rich. That’s the world Romney sees, and he thinks it’s just hilarious!
Second, it’s one thing of Romney personally wants to have a “quiver-full of kids” (he actually uses that exact phrase). Fine, that’s Romney’s own “lifestyle choice,” to use the phrase right wingers use about LGBT people and others they don’t approve of. To each his own, I suppose (although I’d also note that the world would benefit greatly from the population NOT increasing any more, and that the LAST thing we need is for 7 billion people to all have a “quiver-full of kids” and explode that population to 14 billion, 21 billion, whatever, when we’re already far beyond the earth’s carrying capacity).
The biggest problem, though, is that Romney mocks the very concept of NOT getting married young, of NOT having that “quiver-full of kids” while you’re in your 20s, etc. Thus, according to Willard, if you don’t do that, you’re “living in the shallows.” Let me quote the jerk directly:
Getting married is one way of launching into the deep. I’m so glad I found Ann when I was still so young; combining your life with another person, particularly someone when men and women are as different as we are, this combination is extraordinarily challenging and enormously rewarding. Some people could marry but choose to take more time, they say, for themselves. Others plan to wait until they’re well into their 30s or 40s before they think about getting married. They’re going to lose so much of living, I’m afraid. From the beginning of recorded time, the prophet Adam told us this life secret: “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife.” Marriage is a gift from god. Now, some may dismiss the council coming from the Bible because it comes from a book that they’ve discarded…
OK, OK, enough of this nonsense, scorn, straw men (that last comment in particular), and reactionary rubbish. As Mother Jones explains, this is insidious stuff, part of something called “the Quiverfull movement” (“Children are a heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them“), which “has become almost synonymous with an absolutist rejection of all forms of contraception or family planning, and an embrace of what believers describe as ‘biblical patriarchy.’” In that nightmarish, Handmaid’s Tale-style worldview, offspring are viewed as “‘arrows’ in a divine army,” while the adults “follow rigid gender roles in the home, where men are the spiritual leaders and women the submissive helpmeets.”
In addition, the strong subtext here is that anything else other than Romney’s approved way of life – homosexuality, for instance, or simply a decision not to get married young, not to have a “quiver-full” of kids, etc, etc. – is a really bad thing, a violation of divine law, not to mention a waste of your life, “shallow,” and selfish.
Again, let me emphasize: if you want to have a “quiver-full” of kids, that’s your choice. I personally believe the world has plenty of people, that we’re wildly overloading the planet’s carrying capacity, and that it would behoove us all to think VERY carefully about that in our decisions about procreation. But that’s just my personal view; I’m not trying to impose it on anyone (nor do I have any power to do so, nor would I ever want such power). In stark contrast, Romney and the theocratic wing of the Republican Party – from Rick Santorum to Ken Cuccinelli – DO want such power: the power to tell women what they can and can’t do with their own bodies, the power to outlaw abortion and in many cases contraception as well, the power to make homosexuality and other “alternate lifestyles” as difficult as possible (given their belief that those “lifestyles” are abhorrent and against the Bible).
In sum, Willard “Mitt” Romney perfectly reflects the worldview of right-wing, theocratic, social conservative Republicans: absolutist, intolerant, judgmental, reactionary, and wildly at odds with how most people live their lives – or WANT to live their lives – in the modern world. All I can say is, thank god Romney wasn’t elected president. Let’s just make d*** sure nobody like him ever is!