Friday, June 24, 2005

"Just As Good"?

In today's GLOBE there is a letter to the editor from a John Fountain in Needham. It seems Mr. Fountain is concerned with a "slippery slope" of talking about loving same sex parents. He says:

The great majority of us agree that gay-oriented folks have a right to tolerance, full acceptance, and respect from the other 96 percent of the population. But do they also have the right to expect full public endorsement of gay orientation as a ''just as good" alternative? And, above all, do we want our public school teachers to convey this ''just as good" perspective to the young and impressionable kids in their charge?
So what is he saying?

  • He assumes that we are only 4% of the population.
  • same sex parents are not "just as good" as heterosexual parents and teachers shouldn't give this impression.

I'd like to take his second point one step further. Why don't we come up with a chart ranking parents from "good" to "almost as good", "average good", "not as good" or "just plain bad". Of course we will have to take various factors into account:

  • The age of the children & parents, i.e., a "Good" set of parents would be 28 years of age and have a 5 year old child so parents that are 33 years old with a 5 year old child would not be "just as good" (get the picture);
  • The careers of the parents: families with a father working all day and a stay at home mom would be the ideal so 2 parents working would not be "just as good" but better than both parents staying at home. (I think the varying scales of "good" would take into account the type of job too)
  • Of course the race and religion of the family should be included. We all know that some religions and races are not "just as good" as others.
  • Same sex parents would not even be on the list since they are surely not "just as good" as even the "just plain bad" parents (as long as the "just plain bad" parents are opposite sex)
  • Finally, I'm sure we could leave the rest to the voters to rate in our "just as good" chart since the letter writer wants the voters and elected officials to address this "slippery slope". These could include hair color, family lineage, income level, political party, etc....

Maybe I'm wrong.

Maybe he wasn't talking about just same sex parents.

Maybe he was talking about gay people in general.

I get it, he's saying that the 4% of the gay people in this world are not "just as good" as the heterosexual people. That's a relief. I really don't think we need to do a chart. If we still have information on how the Nazi's categorized all the people in Germany we could use that, why reinvent the wheel?


massmarrier said...

We should also appreciate his various code words, such as gay oriented. He gets his digs in early and often.

How about the underlying assumption that a two-heterosexual-married-parent family is superior. Forget the alcoholics, junkies, moms who beat their kids, dads who rape them, and other unfortunately realities.

My parents divorced when I was young and I grew up hearing how dreadful it was that I was from a broken home. It was amusing how many of the kids never bought into that and kept saying how they'd swap their parents for my mom in a flash. They got hit, yelled and humiliated. She always had time for my sister and me and was always rational and kind.

I have yet to be convinced about the two-parent ideal. If there was ever an area that demands case-by-case consideration, it is child custody.

Anonymous said...

I don't suppose level of education would be on the chart.

massmarrier said...

If only education level or even raw IQ scores were good indicators of behavior, suitability of parenthood, or even good manners...

Those pretentious idiots over at advertise that they match Ivy League achievers with others of equal credentials. Even the name implies the absurd -- that superior thinking and acting can be inherited.


You remind me of what my psychologist chums tell me of serving rich and poor, Harvard grads and middle-school dropouts. One saw patients in Andover and Lawrence. Weekly, he tried to repair the deeply troubled rich families with the violence, abuse, incest, addiction and so forth. You'd think the apparently very smart and obviously privileged would make far better parents. It's logical, but doesn't seem to hold.

I think of Angels and Insects by A.S. Byatt (and not a bad movie). Though set in another time and place, it does a beautiful exploration of the illusions of the "superior" class.