Unwed mother. Single mother. Baby mama.
All of these are just words we use to describe women society should deem immoral and useless because they dared to have sex outside of marriage and were punished by God himself with pregnancy.
When you hear the words "single mother", you know exactly what those words are meant to invoke. A woman with anywhere from one to a dozen or more children. Someone to be pitied or scorned depending on how she came by her Single Motherhood. Probably even black. Maybe even poor or white. But it's those black ones. You know. You see them in the store with their food stamps and their hair weave. How dare they even show their faces in public being black and poor and all? We give them too much. They haven't earned anything. Right?
You know all the tired stereotypes right? They don't work. They don't take care of their children. They sleep with anything that moves? Right? Those women. Those whores. They can't be trusted to know when they need an abortion or birth control. And we certainly can't trust them with cash assistance or food stamps. Let's give them a pair of bootstraps and send them on their way. Helping them is useless.
They're whores. All unwed, single mothers are whores. Right?
But wait: Remember "Let's roll" Todd Beamer? On 9/11 his wife and thousands of other wives became single mothers. When that retired police officer shot and killed another man for texting in a movie theater, his pregnant wife became a single mother. All those soldiers whose husbands and wives don't come home from Iraq or Afghanistan? They're all single parents now.
Oh, but they got married first, so that doesn't count. They did it the right way.
Any woman who is left by a man who doesn't take care of a child resulting from sex he engaged in is the victim of tragic circumstances.
When women choose to bring that life into the world anyway and make the best of those circumstances - to commit herself to motherhood - we do not deserve the likes of Rand Paul blaming us for the ills of society. In a world where he works hard to undermine every social program for the poor and downtrodden, how dare he then blame the very people he refuses to help?
For Rand Paul, women who have sex without his God's official approval are the scapegoats for failed Republican ideology, false theology and mean-spirited policy that's been proved time and time again to not work.
- Abstinence-only education does not work. Everywhere it's implemented, there's a rise in the teen pregnancy rate.
- Closing so-called "abortion" clinics just reduces women's access to every other avenue of healthcare those centers provide. Abortion is only a small part of those services but Republicans do not care if thousands of women go without screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer - they simply do not care how many women die in their campaign to save one fetus.
- Cutting services - daycare, food stamps, cash assistance - and making needy, starving people jump through hoops to get them are just cruel. Giving people additional hurdles to get to the service they need only makes us feel better. But it's not helping, it's hurting. And it only increases the amount of time these families and individuals stay in poverty.
And not only the poverty of cash, but the poverty of our ideals and the poverty of our willingness to help and to truly care.
Do you know what a scapegoat is? It's the one goat you don't kill out of mercy for all the ones you have to slaughter to stay alive. Rand Paul will decide who gets mercy and who does not in exchange for keeping his mediocre political career alive. Officially-married women are fine. The rest of us are whores.
There's no call to responsibility for men. Oh sure, we'll lock them up and take away their driver's licenses if they don't pay child support. We'll inflict stupid, meaningless punishments on fathers that make it harder for them to maintain and secure employment to support the children they create. Make them resent even more the children and women they've walked away from.
But there is no call to personal responsibility for men from Rand Paul, only women. There is no call to reform to the system that only serves to tear families further apart and give them no chance at all of reconciliation but leaves them to scrape together the pieces that are left.
And Rand Paul can do no better than to blame the Unwed Mother. The Single Mother. The Baby Mama.
There is no need to suffer this fool any longer. The best we can do is convince Kentucky that his services and the services Mitch McConnell and the others of their ideology - the ones who would tar any American woman with the brush of the word "whore" does not, cannot understand what it means to be a public servant.
It's time to stand up to Rush Limbaugh and Mike Huckabee. It's time to stand up to Rand Paul.
It's time for all mothers to make sure they get a time out.