Carol Platt Liebau: Barbara Boxer Was <i>Right</i>?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Barbara Boxer Was Right?

This piece in today's New York Sun essentially argues that Barbara Boxer "got it right" in linking Condi Rice's childless state to her position on the war. Why? Because "Most mothers are paranoid nut jobs constantly freaking out about death."

Give me a break. This is a profoundly dangerous argument -- for women, especially -- on several levels. First, it plays into the age-old stereotype that women can't be trusted with questions of war, because they are just soft, nurturing creatures who would rather see all of us in burqas than call out the army.

Second, it buys into Barbara Boxer's pernicious mindset -- that someone can't truly understand or care about something unless she is personally involved or has personal experience with it. That's an amazingly short-sighted argument for anyone who loves a democratic-republic form of government, because it effectively insists that credible decisions can't be made by everyone on behalf of the public good, but instead must be handed over to those who have a personal stake (who, one could argue, are the ones too blinded by personal interest to make good decisions on behalf of everyone else).

For someone who extols the "knee buckling empathy" that supposedly comes with motherhood, this author certainly has all too little for Dr. Rice -- as did "mother" Barbara Boxer.


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