Romney told kids to get “married to someone” (anyone?) before they have babies, and about making “changes in the way our culture works to help bring people away from violence.” It’s as if in Romney’s mind any shooting in any inner city is really just due to the same mythic power of “culture” that he used to diss Palestinians back in August when he claimed that “culture” was the reason for the economic disparity between Israel and Palestine. Claiming that culture and single moms are the reason for violence on our streets is just as absurd as his remarks against Palestinians and completely avoids any analysis of social systems and structures. Instead of conflating marital status and economics, he could have thrown his support behind all kinds of programs that actually support parents, like childcare subsidies and after school programs.
But he wasn’t trying to close the gender gap with this one; he was blowing the dog-whistle of race and class superiority to appeal to suburban undecided voters. That’s why the efforts to defend single parents against Romney’s charge of being responsible for gun violence by reminding us that the perpetrators of recent mass murders weren’t single parents or children of single parents are completely beside the point. We all know that when Romney changed the subject from AK-47s to single parents, he “clearly meant single mothers, by which he clearly meant single mothers of color.” We also know that when he talked about bringing young people away from violence and into “the American system” that he wasn’t talking about the white man who shot up the Colorado theater this summer.
No, Romney was playing the same game the media does when they treat violence in the inner city as natural and inevitable, but immediately wonder about the mental state of the shooter when the crime happens in the suburbs.
The woman’s question at the debate was a valid and important one. Too bad she did not hear any solutions.