REPUBLICANS DON’T HAVE “FAMILY VALUES,” AND NEVER DID

The Trump administration’s scariest policy—forcibly taking children away from their parents on the Southern border—may finally end the myth that the Republican party is “pro-family,” or demonstrates “family values.”

Those phrases are really just euphemisms for the grand bargain at the center of the party. Starting in the Reagan years, the business wing of the party has tolerated, or even embraced, the social values of white evangelical Christianity in exchange for their activism and votes.

The white evangelical family is supposed to like this: married man and woman, who have lots of biological kids, and the woman doesn’t work. Of course, that is not at all representative of the modern American family.

I remember a conversation with two friends a few weeks ago: I was explaining the structure of my wife’s family, which involves adoption, step siblings, some divorce, and a lot of cohabitation out of wedlock. (I come from a classic nuclear family, though my mom did and does work.)

“You’d need a flow chart to really figure it out,” I said, as a joke.

My friends didn’t laugh. It was like joking about the sky being blue. It was corny and redundant. They both said that you’d need the same for their families.

I knew this on some level, but didn’t put it together. The Republican party, en masse, either does not know about any of it, or does not care. They do not care that the majority of women work, and more children than ever have unmarried parents or step parents, or that queer people want to have families, or… and on and on.

So, that leaves the question: what policies has the Republican party created or endorsed for the American family? 

Oh, and it bears repeating: the Trump administration stole thousands of children from their parents for no good reason. See a pattern now?

After all, this reminds me of an old American tradition.


Also published on Medium.