Does Mike Pence Think Working Mothers Are Bad For Society? A Recently Unearthed Letter Suggests So
It's almost too easy to make Handmaid's Tale references about Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, but the disturbing parallels keep coming. CNN recently unearthed a 1997 letter to the editor of The Indianapolis Star, in which Pence argued that working mothers are harming their children and creating a generation of adults with "stunted emotional growth." Pence's solution (which also doubles as a great new slogan for the Trump campaign): Make Women Stay Home Again.
Pence wrote the letter in response to a study published at the time that found that children who attended daycare may be emotionally stunted; however, the study also emphasized that the children's cognitive development was not affected. The governor chose to focus on the "stunted emotional growth" aspect, and his response is stunning.
"For years, we have gotten the message from the mouthpieces of the popular culture that you can have it all, career, kids and a two-car garage," Pence wrote. "Sure, you can have it all, but your day-care kids get the short end of the emotional stick."
Pence essentially argued in his letter that the two-income household is dangerous for American society, and he suggested that the government should incentivize "one parent" to stay at home to raise children. Although he uses gender-neutral language there — "one parent" — the majority of his letter focuses on a very specific parent: the terribly immoral working mother.
The Indiana governor has espoused a number of "traditional" views over the course of his political career, but this letter may hold some of his key views on women and their role in modern society. Nowhere in his letter does Pence mention fathers or men; the emphasis is always on the mother and women.
He concerned trolled all American children, who are apparently in danger of being "less affectionate" toward their mothers when they are raised by other people. But don't worry, he's not "condemning" women who choose to work outside the home.
"I am criticizing a culture that has sold the big lie that 'Mom doesn't matter,'" Pence wrote. "These statistics should ignite a national debate about the family and precisely who should be raising the next generation of Americans."
If you can't guess the "who" in that sentence, I'll give you a hint: It's the same silly person who was sold the newfound myth of having it all — a family and a career. Wait, that sounds just like what men have!
Pence believed a "family-friendly system of tax collection" would ensure the return of the single-income household, leaving "one parent to stay home with the kids." Judging from the multiple mentions of moms and mothers, the erasure of fathers, and the reliance on the women-targeted "you can have it all" trope, Pence's ideal household is clear. Men work and make money. Women give birth and raise children. The happy sexist domestic cycle continues.