• SumoMe

Santorum's views and campaign threaten modern manly values.

One of the most interesting time periods in American politics for me is always election season. While I by no means obsess over every detail of every campaign, there are some candidates who always seem to find a way to propose some of the most backwards or offensive objectives that they are hard to ignore.

Rick Santorum is this season’s winner (or loser) of the competition to the bottom. At this point, it’s safe to say that Santorum’s views are the biggest threat to modern manly values out of the whole group. Claims are no good without support, and here is a brief list of a few ways Santorum threatens to harm manliness as we know it.

1. I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money. (January 2, 2012).

This is a prime example of a politician getting away with an incredibly offensive statement under the guise of encouraging self-reliance. Notice the second part of his statement–he wants [black] people to have the opportunity to go out and earn money. Honestly, which presidential candidate wouldn’t want this? Giving people the opportunity to make money and provide for their family is a very essential and universal desire in society. Using this universally-accepted statement immediately following a statement about not wanting “to make black people’s lives better,” is a mask for a patently racist remark. Even in context, there was no legitimate purpose in singling out the black community in this answer. He was asked a question about foreign influence on the U.S. economy, and follows it up with that gem.

This mindset threatens manly values because it submits to judgment before evaluation. Some people are born into a situation where earning a decent living is hardly possible because of a lack of access to education, wealth, or even proper housing. Evaluating the social and economic situations of people in poverty is necessary before lumping them all into a category of wanting to take “somebody else’s money.” Sure, some people scam the system and take money from the government that they don’t need without paying their fair share. However, I can think of a few banks and corporations who do the same thing on a much larger scale without Santorum batting an eye. Promoting the mindset of judgment before evaluation leads to blind racism, sexism, and other similar bias.

2. “President Obama wants to send–he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob. There are good, decent men and women, who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test, who aren’t taught by some liberal college professor–and try to indoctrinate them. (February 25, 2012).

Now, I love people who “make things” as Santorum says. Any reader of this website will know my affinity for American-made goods. This does not mean, however, that those people shouldn’t have encouragement and the opportunity to go to college. Education is a quality that all members of a society should aspire to attain. Not everyone needs to go all the way to get a Bachelor’s or graduate degree, that is clear. However, if someone is interested in woodworking and wants to attend a trade school to hone their skills or learn how to open a business, they should by all means have the ability and government’s encouragement to do so. As a potential leader of the country, Santorum should encourage all Americans to seek to further their education beyond the obligatory high school level. To call the president a “snob” for doing so, Santorum only appears foolish and ignorant of how to improve society.

This mindset threatens manly values because it devalues the importance of education in a man’s life. Education should always come first, not only in the individual’s life, but in the interest of society as a whole. A more educated voter base would scoff at a candidate like Santorum, and perhaps that’s why he thinks college graduates are snobs (says the Penn State law school graduate).

3. “In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might find they don’t both need to… What happened in America so that mothers and fathers who leave their children in the care of someone else — or worse yet, home alone after school between three and six in the afternoon — find themselves more affirmed by society? Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism.” (Santorum’s 2005 book).

So let me get this straight–you want people to have the opportunity to go out and make money, but when women do it, they’re to blame for a poor job of raising their kids? Industriousness is great, but only so long as men do it? Please. “Radical feminism,” as he calls it, is merely the recognition of the value of women in the workplace. Republican William Bennett has already made it clear that women are more educated than men as a group–yet, we should make sure they stay home? Or is that because these women are snobs?

This mindset threatens manly values because it lessens the worth of women in the workplace, and respect for all members of society is crucial to improving yourself as a man. I was raised by two parents who worked between three and six in the afternoon and I tend to think I turned out okay. I definitely could have spent the last 25 years in a worse way. Instead of blaming people for going out and working to support their family, why don’t we shift our focus to these adolescents who need after-school programs or mentors to keep them out of trouble? Personally, I played baseball, football, and ran track as a kid to stay occupied after school. While not all kids are interested in sports, there are certainly ways for them to stay busy, and blaming working parents on the decline of society is incredibly short-sighted. If mothers withdrew from the workplace, you’d see an increase in dependence on welfare safety nets–precisely what Santorum is against.

While Rick Santorum never ceases to amaze me with his crass and uneducated statements, these three big ones are the epitome of threats to manliness, not welfare, education, and women as he would argue. While I respect and fight for Santorum’s rights to express his views, I cannot help but entirely disagree with them. Manliness is not about men denying aid, education, and the rights of others. That’s called totalitarianism, and these views should come across as entirely contrary to the foundations of American democracy.

What are your views on Santorum’s opinions? Start a debate in the comments below.