We Can’t Afford Another 4 Years of ‘Me Me Me’ Politics
Now more than ever, we need to embrace giving a shit about other people
Earlier this week, amid the usual barrage of dystopian headlines, I was treated to a rare and unexpected bit of good news: television host and new mom Meghan McCain pushing for paid parental leave on The View. “We are the only developing nation that doesn’t supply women with paid family leave,” said McCain, who has until now remained silent on the issue. “We as conservatives have to come together and allow all women in this country, no matter where they’re from or their socioeconomic class, the capacity to have what I just had.”
She’s right to point out that it’s hypocritical for America to claim to be a country that cares about “family values” while denying the most basic support to women who have just given birth. But it’s frustrating that it took having a child herself for McCain to come out in support of something that feminists have been ringing the alarm about for decades.
And as the era of Trump ends — four years marked by egotism and selfishness — it raises a bigger question: Why are so many Americans unsympathetic to a particular issue until it affects them directly?
Parental leave and child care? Your kid, your problem. (Perhaps the biggest and most recent shift in the way Americans view parenting, for example, is that we went from “it takes a village” to the idea that moms, in particular, need to do it all.)
It’s frustrating that it took having a child herself for McCain to come out in support of something that feminists have been ringing the alarm about for decades.
But this is about so much more than just maternal leave or child care. It’s every political issue: People who rail against free health care will quietly launch a GoFundMe when faced with an unexpected medical emergency, and activists against abortion suddenly want to procure one when faced with an unwanted pregnancy. (This happens so often that there’s a phrase in the pro-choice community to describe it: “Only in cases of rape, incest, or me.”)