Lightly following. Noting with some interest. Nothing more.
(This isn’t about her policies. I don’t know much about her policies.)
A friend’s blog ran a little blurb—small article noting that Gillard was being attacked for her fitness for office due to childlessness. I expressed surprise someone would attack her on that basis. Someone else agreed. It’s how those conversations go.
But then someone else said:
“See, here's the thing. I'm prejudiced against any public official who is deliberately childless. The concern about "living in sin" part is completely alien to me, but I completely understand the reticence at handing over policy decisions to somebody who has chosen to avoid raising children, either biological or adoptive.
It speaks of selfishness and suggests a lack of connection with the greater society. Unfair? Yup. It's a prejudice; obviously it doesn't hold for everyone. But I'm also going to say that as a heuristic, it's reasonable ... and as a negative emotional reaction, I have it quite quite strongly.”
I was a little surprised by the intensity of my own reaction. On the Interwebs, I’ll argue about films. I’ll argue about books. I’ll even have the occasional discussion about politics. But I’ve been out here a long time online, and a troll rarely gets to me. Rarely hooks me in the gut.
I thought about many things. Shoes and ships and sealing wax. Cabbages and kings. I even cried.
It doesn’t seem very worthwhile for me to discuss the arguments against this point of view rationally.
I wonder if it’s even possible, actually, to discuss it rationally. I think many of my friends who intellectually would agree with me, actually agree with him. Hold that heuristic too.
A cross to bear, so perhaps I should just bear it?
During my disaster pregnancy, a (younger) friend who had her children at 23 said to me with a tone of smugness: “now you’re finally going to be an adult.”
She never mentioned it again later. Threshold fail.