Your Future is whatever you make of it, so make it a good one
Back to the future III, 1990
You must choose but choose wisely…
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989
When I saw the link to Maureen Dowd’s piece in the NYT at Hotair I resisted opening it. Having read Ms. Dowd in the past I knew exactly what she would say and how she would say it. So with a rushed schedule, I wasn’t sure about wasting my time with it. Curiosity, however, got the better of me so I clicked over and saw exactly what I expected, with a slight twist.
Even for Santorum, it was a masterpiece of antediluvian abrasiveness — slapping gays and Mormons at the same time.
When 17-year-old Rhiannon Pyle, visiting with her civics class from Newburyport, Mass., pressed Santorum on how he could believe that all men are created equal and still object to two men in love marrying, he began nonsensically frothing.
It was a clever piece of writing. It was also a an exercise in mendacity or, as Newt would put it: Ms. Dowd is a liar.
I was at that event, I shot the video of that entire question and I invite any person who chooses to read her piece to watch this video I shot there…
… and then read the Dowd piece a second time and ask yourself whether she is telling the truth or I am.
Now, I’ll grant that I’ve endorsed Rick Santorum, and I’ll also grant that Ms. Dowd is of the opposite opinion, but protestations of the secular culture notwithstanding, there is such a thing as objective truth and Ms. Dowd, in her attempt to paint Rick Santorum as a bigot, fails to reach that standard.
Oddly enough, as gay marriage has been legal in some states for less than 10 years, perhaps Ms. Dowd whose career predates that time, will call out as bigots the entire population of the U.S. and the world who lived before the 21st century. While she does so, perhaps she will call out herself as I don’t remember any pieces promoting gay marriage before it became a cause celebré and she has been writing since the 1970s.
This post however is not so much about her piece as it is what occurred to me as I read it.
In Ms. Dowd’s piece, she goes after Mrs. Karen Santorum. This is no accident. The senator’s wife represents every choice that Ms. Dowd has rejected.
Mrs. Santorum is a faithful Catholic, long married, a mother of seven who has experienced the joys and the tragedies of motherhood, a person who has not let those tragedies destroy her or her faith. In an age when the popular culture rejects her choices, Mrs. Santorum decided to homeschool her surviving children to make sure they had an education that represented the culture and values that she found important.
Ms Dowd has taken a different path. As she approaches her 60th year, she is at the top of her profession, a columnist at one of the most famous newspapers in the world. She has money, fame and awards for her writing. No one can honestly contest that she has earned these accolades though hard work and effort over decades. As a person newly trying to make a living with words written and spoken I appreciate her success an, if I reach even one-tenth the level of success she has, I’ll be proud of myself.
Both Mrs. Santorum’s choices and Ms. Dowd’s come with a price. I have no doubt that Mrs. Santorum could have, when she was Karen Garver, pursued a successful career in any field she chose. I’m sure on occasion, when the kids have been particularly difficult, she briefly wished it was so.
Ms. Dowd choice has left her alone. I’m not privy to her dating history and, frankly, it’s not my business. Suffice to say she has not chosen marriage and I see no reason to believe she will. As for children, at 60, that’s unlikely even with the aid of modern science.
These are two different paths. This is only my opinion, but it seems to me that the difference is I see no evidence that Mrs. Santorum begrudges Ms. Dowd’s choices while, reading her column today (and from my memory of her writing) I can’t say the same for Ms. Dowd, who seems to resent the very thought that in 2012 a woman might choose Karen Santorum’s path. And perhaps Ms. Dowd resents that Mrs. Santorum can, once her children are grown, choose a new path …
…and that brings us to Meghan McCain.
Meghan McCain is 27 years old, ironically she started writing at about the same age as Ms. Dowd.
When I read Dowd’s piece suddenly I thought of Meghan McCain and her statement concerning her father and Rick Santorum. I wrote about it briefly and not being able to say anything gentlemanly I let it go. The medium was different than Ms. Dowd’s, but the anger and snark seemed exactly the same.
I’m not Ms. McCain’s father but I’m old enough to be so. As she gets closer to age 30, a huge life-changing choice is upon her.
It’s not about her opinions, it’s not about her politics, it’s about herself.
Before her, she can see two futures: A future as epitomized by Maureen Dowd, a life that can produce success with hard work but one that rejects the joys and responsibilities of marriage and motherhood, embracing the modern chic culture; or the future as epitomized by Mrs. Santorum epitomized by marriage, children and responsibility — one that requires just as much hard work but with vastly different rewards.
I would suggest to young Ms. McCain that the rewards of Mrs. Santorum’s path are greater and will last long after chic opinion moves to another topic, and age makes it a constant and expensive struggle to remain fashionable. But that choice is hers not mine, and perhaps she can take a middle path like Mika Brzezinski. However, even that middle path has a deadline that is approaching.
Look at these women and ask yourself, Meagan, that question that is so difficult for a young person so far away from my age-let alone Ms. Dowd’s this question: “When I am 60 which life would I like to have?”
I urge you not to hesitate as time and biology will answer that question for you.
May whatever choice you make bring you happiness.
Update: Roxeanne who is near Ms. McCain’s age has this to say:
But, as a woman who always had a gut-level feeling that she is not called to marriage, I see this a bit differently, for one cannot always choose whether or not to find a great husband and to have a minivan full of children. We are not guaranteed such rewards, even if we choose the path that would likely lead us to such rewards. What we can do, however, is to be the type of woman whom a good man would want to marry, and would be proud to have as the mother of his children. If you do not end up with a huge, loving family (or a small, loving family, if two kids are about all you can handle), it shouldn’t be because you are a raging shrew whom men will sleep with but would never marry.
I humbly suggest it is a scathing indictment of my gender that such a young man has not come forth for Roxeanne yet.
Stacy McCain suggests I will not be forgiven for this piece,
The feminists will never forgive Pete for this, of course.
It is my experience that feminists, when angry, revert to predictable arguments about the ignorance and prejudice of their critics.
that’s not relevant
What feminists think of my piece is the furthest thing from my mind. My only concern is for the well-being and happiness of a young lady with great potential.