Tea Party post four: Traditional family values

The Tea Party has a list of 15 “core beliefs” on their website. The last one says, “Traditional family values are encouraged.”Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 4.17.39 PM


What does that even mean?

What is a traditional family? One mom, one dad, 2.3 children, a dog and a tract house in the suburbs? 2014 is not “Leave it to Beaver.”

I have friends with beautiful families. Some of those friends are single. Others are married, divorced and have been married prior to their current relationship. Some of them have kids. Some have dogs. Some live in the city. They have birthday parties, jobs and second mortgages. And they’re families.

I consider my own family and my own values. In many ways, I have very traditional values. I support my husband; he supports me. We married in 1985 and had a son in 1987. We own a home. He cuts the grass; I grow stuff in the dirt. He golfs. I sew. We vote. We pay our bills. We donate to charities. On the other hand, we have just the one kid. I think it might be traditional to have more than one.

Growing up, I lived with  my biological mother and father, who were married before I was conceived in 1964 – very traditional. My older sister and brother had a different dad. My mom was married before she met my father. My little sister is my older sister’s daughter. She’s my niece, and my parents adopted her when she was 3-ish.

Not so traditional.

Yet that environment created me. I have strong family values. I believe families come in all shapes and sizes. I believe in love relatives, not just blood relatives. I have “sisters” I’m not even related to.

I am a heterosexual woman, and I believe two women or two men can parent a family as well as I can.

The whole concept of “traditional family values” is false. It’s illogical. There is no such thing as a traditional family. There are, however, values.

Values – like morals – are within. They’re based in respect and kindness; knowing right from wrong. Values can come from family, but they don’t automatically come from family. That’s why I say the concept is false.

Of course I know what the term means in relation to the Tea Party.

They’re trying to court the Ward Cleaver family.


4 thoughts on “Tea Party post four: Traditional family values

  1. “They’re trying to court the Ward Cleaver family.” Well said, but I think it’s even more cynical than that. They’re appealing to some sense of guilt that certain types of people unconsciously bear over their own “failure” to fit that model. It’s similar to people who respond affirmatively to religious appeals even though they themselves don’t attend church regularly and aren’t particularly religious. Deep down they feel guilty so they absolve themselves by embracing religious demagoguery and point the finger at others as the culprits in a what they see as a general decline in “faith”. I’m sure a small minority actually attempt to adhere to these past ideals, but I think more of their supporters are in the former camp.

    1. I agree. I try to present a slightly unbiased view in my blog. Obviously it will never be completely unbiased, but I remember someone telling me once that I can catch more flies with honey – or some other cliche.

  2. For the first time I will post on this blog….because it is about family and I think I have somewhat of a right to post on that topic.

    I also grew up in a “traditional family”, two parents, 4 boys, school sports, family vacations, etc. But when you look closer, we were not traditional at all. My Mom was from a small town in Arkansas and raised Baptist, my Dad was first generation American, via Holland, and raised Catholic in the “big city” of Memphis TN. My brothers and I were raised in a loving home, similar to the Cleavers. Mom was in charge but if we got out of control the promise (threat) of “wait till your father gets home” was always there. My Dad was 17 years older than my Mom…but they were only, ever, married to each other. my Dad was young at heart in many ways and young in spirit in every way.

    It could not have been easy for a Babtist girl from Arkansas to marry a Catholic man from Memphis in 1956, but I never felt any of that that. What I felt was love from my parents and love from both of their extended families…I went to Catholic School for 12 years…and I went to Baptist Vacation Bible school many summers. That is what made me who I am today…and I do not feel bad at all telling you that today I do not follow either of those religions. I was raised in such a way that I know, definitively, that I am loved unconditionally by my family.

    That brings me to Stacy…and Jenny. There is not much that is traditional in that family, except that they are untraditional. Stacy and I have been together for 30 years, that means I have known Jenny since she was just a young girl. I have never had any sister other than Jenny. I have older brothers, but no sisters until Jenny and I feel as protective of her as if we had grown up together. I am proud of her, her sons and her husband. I don’t do the algorithmic math that traces how we are related…it is easy, she is Stacy’s sister, she is my sister.

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