Mitt Romney, Hilary Rosen and the Dignity of Work

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If you have been reading this blog, you know by now that I try to stay away from politics. I don’t stir political discussions, even though, from time to time something happens, and someone says a few words that hit close to home. I still refrain from saying anything on this blog.

However, last week after watching Hilary Rosen vs Ann Romney controversy unfolding, I could not help but write this post. When it comes down to women’s issues and the choices women face, I get very sensitive.

I, also, get annoyed to the point of being angry when a rich politician such as Mitt Romney who lives in a reality that is different from us, ordinary folks, turns to his wife for advice. Mitt’s wife, a woman who has not spent a day of her life working outside of her house (oh, wait… she did work at home raising her five boys) weighs in on women’s economic concerns. Really?

The Dignity of Work

Last week Hilary Rosen said about Mitt Romney’s wife (I am relying on Google to produce the quote, however I did hear it myself on TV):

 “Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life.

Ann Romney’s response was (a quote is taken from here):

 “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.

I find her response fascinating, especially in light of her husband’s words that he very clearly expressed in a January town hall in New Hampshire (from Business Insider):

 “I wanted to increase the work requirement. I said, for instance, that even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless,’ and I said ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving daycare to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.” 

I would like to know what Mitt Romney has to say about his wife not having “the dignity of work.” Even more, I want to know what she has to say to him about it.

A majority of women do no have a choice but to work a full-time job outside their home as well as a full-time job at home raising their kids. They simply don’t have the luxury to choose. I consider it is a crime against nature that women have to struggle to take care of their children and work full-time.

I absolutely respect Ann Romney for making the choice to refuse “the dignity of work” and stay home to raise her children. It was the right decision for her family, her kids and herself. Stay at home moms work hard, no doubt. To raise a child is a full-time job and a demanding one. No one is taking this away from stay-at-home mothers.

But wait… what about Mitt Romney and “the dignity of work”? I am still confused here… Aren’t you?

Compassion Does Not Make You an Expert

Does Ann Romney know the reality of an average American woman who wants to stay home with her newborn but cannot afford it because she has bills to pay? It is simply not her life, and whatever advice she is giving her husband on economic realities that women face is not based on her experience.

Can she identify with those women whose insurance costs have gone up if she had not lived through it? Can she relate to being underpaid because she is a woman? Can she give advice on how to handle time off when your child gets sick and your boss says that you need to finish a project?

Ann Romney can be considerate towards those who, not having choices she had, have to go to work and pump their breast milk in the bathroom. Humans tend to experience compassion. However, just because she can be empathetic towards those women, it does not mean she knows how to make their life better.

Compassion and understanding does not make you an expert.

If anything, Hilary Rosen used a poor choice of words. If anything, she should have clarified the meaning of her statements. No apology was necessary.

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