A Washington Post headline, on March 3, 2011, read “Frederick official’s comment that a woman’s place is in the home creates uproar.” I read the article, and some of the hundreds of comments on the article. What I found, and what I did not find, was very interesting. What I found was a lot of name calling (“hate speech” as the left likes to call it) directed towards Frederick County Commissioners Paul Smith and Kirby Delauter. But what I did not find was the quote from the Frederick officials where they said a woman’s place is in the home, nor exactly what Smith and Delauter said to set off the so-called controversy.
According to the Post, Mr. Smith “told a TV station and intimated at a public hearing before voting to slash half the funding for the county’s Head Start program, [that] a woman’s place is in the home” (emphasis added). So in stead of relying what what a Washington Post reporter thinks Mr. Smith implied, I decided to see what he told the TV station and I also dug up the transcript from the public hearing on Head Start to read exactly what Smith and Delauter said that started this uproar. I hope you find this as enlightening as I did.
Public Hearing on Head Start
According to the Frederick News Post, this is what Paul Smith said in a February 8, 2011 Commissioner’s meeting:
“I am very sensitive to the importance of the 3- and 4-year-old age for children … and there’s no question that our community needs to continue to be committed in this area and watch out for and help the families. I think it’s … very significant that we did make this … marriage week announcement today because that is the best long-term … way to help our children, as marriage is strengthened in our community … because, I mean, I know — as many of you know — I had a lot of kids … and my wife stayed home — a significant sacrifice — during those early years, because she knew she had to be with those kids at that critical age, and I know everybody isn’t able to survive doing that, but clearly … as we can strengthen marriage we can decrease the children that we [the governement] have to reach, and I think the best approach … ultimately, will be through the private sector, churches.”
Mr. Smith went on to talk about the electoral mandate from the fall of 2010 to get spending under control and to not raise taxes. He further talked about the need for the public to wean themselves from entitlement programs like Head Start and the need for families, churches, and the private sector to step up in their place. Read the full transcript from Feb. 8 Commissioner’s meeting on the Frederick News Post website. Mr. Delauter agreed with Mr. Smith and added:
“I do think the private sector’s got to take up some of the slack. We … ran on the platform like Commissioner Smith said: no new taxes, no tax increases. That was a mandate. … We’ve been very clear that we take that seriously. Again, my wife, college-educated, could go out and get a very good job. She gave that up for 18 years so she could stay home with our kids. We gave up a lot to do that. … I agree again with Commissioner Smith: The marriage thing is very important. I mean, the education of your kids starts at home, OK. I never relied on anyone else to guarantee the education of my kids. … So, again, the (Head Start) program’s not going away. Will it be affected? That’s possible. Will the quality be affected? That’s possible, but with the budget that we’ve been dealt — and we knew that coming in; that’s what we ran on; that’s what we talked about all through the campaign — but the cards we’ve been dealt — we have to deal with that, and raising taxes on people that don’t have work is not an option. So we’ve got to start living more within our means.”
Nothing from Smith and Delauter’s seems as incendiary as The Washington Post makes it out to seem. And in fact, the bulk of Smith and Delauter’s comments were regarding fiscal responsibility, rather than women’s, mother’s, and family responsibilities. One thing is clear though, contrary to the Post’s assertion, Mr. Smith never said a woman’s place is in the home. According to ABC 7 News in the Washington D.C. area, Mr. Smith did say that a mother’s primary responsibility is the care and nurture of her children (see ABC 7’s video: Comments spark vigil in Frederick.) But, perhaps this distinction between a woman’s role and a mother’s role will do little to appease Mr. Smith’s detractors.
More Common Ground Than You Think
Few people would disagree that stronger marriages and families is one of the best thing we can do for children. Few people would disagree that a mother of small children has as her first and primary responsibility to care for those kids and provide the best home life possible. And I hope there would not be many people that would argue with the premise that a child’s mother, without discounting the role of the father, is the ideal person to provide that love, nurture, and education early in life. Of course that ideal will not always be achieved, due to various circumstances in life, but just because the ideal cannot always be achieved doesn’t change the fact that it is ideal.
Washington Post and Readers Show Their True Colors
Of course, rather than focusing on this common ground, the Washington Post and ABC 7, for the sake of sensational news and perhaps due to other motives, have portrayed the comments of Mr. Smith and Mr. Delauter as incendiary and provocative. Instead of quoting Mr. Smith and giving the story proper context, the Washington Post intimates and implies things that aren’t true in order to satisfy their own agenda, which appears to be to portray Republicans and Christians as backwards and evil.
Well, based on the comments of the Washington Post readership (below), to a large extent, they have succeeded. But in the process, the Post and their friends on the liberal left, have shown their true colors. They are deceptive, mean-spirited, and intolerant of other people’s views. Here is a sampling of the things Washington Post readers are saying about Smith and Delauter. They…
- Want women to be “household slaves”
- Want “Sharia Law in the USA”
- Are “like the Taliban”
- “Should be put into a home”
- “Pretend to be pro-family”
- Are “anti-education”
- Want a “theocracy like Iran”
- Are “un-Christian”
- “Never had to struggle for anything”
- Should “leave the religion at home”
- “Don’t belong holding public office”
- Are “trashy”, “stupid”, “Rednecks”, “idiots”, “Crackpots”, “schmucks”, “morons”, “religious nutcakes”, “fools”, “religious extremists”, and “ignorant.”
All this comes from the kind-hearted, always tolerant left-wing liberals in this country. Perhaps with this additional light shed on subject, those people will reach out and apologize to Mr. Smith and Mr. Delauter. But I’m not holding my breath.