|There has been a lot of debate over who is better suited to raise children following the news that Mary Cheney and her 15-year partner, Heather Poe, are expecting. I'm very glad Ms. Cheney gave a public statement denouncing the pregnancy as a political statement: “This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue. It is my child.” I agree. Children should never be used as salve to save a marriage or as bartering chips in a disintegrating relationship, to prove to overbearing parents that you're reallyreally an adult now (stomp foot for effect), to provide undying love and affection for a lonely adult when a housepet is far more appropriate, to be molded into a miniature clone for reliving unfulfilled dreams or correcting mistakes, toted as a trendy fashion accessory or because all your friends have one, or groomed as a poster child for a cause.
It's not hard to have children. Paris Hilton is proof. It is, however, hard to raise them. You see evidence of this day after day. Super Nanny and Nanny 911 show the results of parents who won't be parents, who refuse to discipline or set proper boundaries and rules because the child might not like them or may think they're *gasp* uncool. The horror! We hear heartbreaking stories of children who are abused or neglected because the kid is interfering with a previously thriving social or lovelife. In a Russian hospital, orphaned infants were found gagged with tape or plaster because their cries were too loud and distracted the nurses from their "important" duties.
Many feel that a child thrives when raised by a stable, loving family; the controversy lies with what sexes comprise that family life. Focus on the Family has been openly critical of Ms. Cheney's pregnancy due to her unmarried status. (Ok, so let her get married, then. No, wait, you don't want that either...) During a CNN interview, Wolf Blitzer took a cheap-shot at Vice President Dick Cheney, asking if he cared to respond to the criticism. Mr. Cheney rightly refused to comment on the personal matter:
BLITZER: We're out of time, but a couple of issues I want to raise with you. Your daughter, Mary. She's pregnant. All of us are happy. She's going to have a baby, you're going to have another grandchild. Some of the -- some critics, though, are suggesting -- for example, a statement from someone representing Focus on the Family, "Mary Cheney's pregnancy raises the question of what's best for children. Just because it's possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a married mother and father doesn't mean it's best for the child." Do you want to respond to that?
CHENEY: No, I don't.
BLITZER: She's, obviously, a good daughter...
CHENEY: I'm delighted -- I'm delighted I'm about to have a sixth grandchild, Wolf. And obviously I think the world of both my daughters and all of my grandchildren. And I think, frankly, you're out of line with that question.
BLITZER: I think all of us appreciate...
CHENEY: I think you're out of line.
BLITZER: ...your daughters. No, we like your daughters. Believe me, I'm very, very
sympathetic to Liz and to Mary. I like them both. That was just a question that's come up, and it's a responsible, fair question.
CHENEY: I just fundamentally disagree with you.BLITZER: I want to congratulate you on having another grandchild.
Quick editorial: If Mr. Blitzer wanted to merely congratulate Mr. Cheney on having another grandchild, why didn't he just say those nine words without implying this was controversial? Many conservative groups and blogs latched onto this political teat, crying that if the VP felt so strongly about gay rights that he needed to blast his own party instead of attacking poor journalists. I found it rather humorous since most right-wingers shun liberal media as evil, biased filth -- especially CNN. Also, numerous authors and researchers cited in Mr. Dobson's letter and other writings demanded that he refrain from quoting their research as much was taken out of context and selectively eliminated findings on gay parenthood.
So what is best for the child, then? Ask any adult who survived childhood and let him educate you:
Just because someone does not have a child of his or her own due to infertility, physical problems, personal choice, or sexual orientation, does not mean that (s)he is suddenly rendered incapable from becoming a healthy, loving parent to a biological, foster, or adopted child. Raising a child becomes a conscious decision instead of scrambling to line up "Plan C."
- Children need to know they are loved no matter what.
- Children need to know that there are rules and consequences.
- Children need consistency and trust.
- Children need basic physical, emotional, and spiritual needs met.
- Children need safety and security.
- Children need encouragement to pursue ambitions.
- Children need guidance during disappointments and trials.
- Children need to receive and learn patience.
- Children need ears to listen when it feels like they are the only one in the world who has experienced pain or loss.
- Children need to know that everyone (including parents) makes mistakes.
- Children need to learn "please," "thank you," and "I'm sorry."
- Children need to know that it's never too late to start over.
- Children (like adults) need to learn that the world does not revolve around them and that helping others is the best thing they can contribute.
There are no perfect parents and we all will screw it up massively at least once. We just have to brush ourselves off, keep going, and keep our ego at the back of the line. We have been entrusted with a weighty responsibility -- someone else's life. It won't matter if Jenny has a mommy and a daddy, two mommies, or none that are even related.
Labels: homosexuality, human rights, politics