October 13th, 2016
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, used a written statement of displeasure with Trump to identify himself as “the father of three daughters.” This was apparently a wellspring of his pique, which didn’t rise to the level of actually rescinding his endorsement of Trump. Would a fourth daughter have done the trick? A fifth?
“As a husband and father” was how Mike Pence, who has a son and two daughters, commenced his own short-lived reprimand of Trump. Jeb Bush tweeted that he was “the grandfather of two precious girls.” In a debate in Arizona on Monday night, John McCain referred to his daughters.
Sometimes sons were mentioned, and sometimes female politicians did the mentioning. But the pattern of husbands standing up for wives and fathers looking out for daughters was most noticeable — and most discordant.
As Yochi Dreazen noted in a post for Vox, it cast men in the role of protectors and carried a stronger whiff of chivalry than of equality. It also defined women in terms of men and caring about them in terms of their places in men’s families.
“Every wife, mother, daughter — every person — deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” tweeted Ted Cruz, who seemed to catch himself midsentence and realize what he was doing. So why not go back to the start of the tweet and undo it?
In much of this there was a familiar insinuation that parenthood is a singularly sensitizing, enlightening circumstance, giving someone a special stake in a more just world. But doesn’t Trump himself contradict that?