In a column in today’s Elmira Star-Gazette, Kathleen Parker adds her voice to those advocating marriage as a cure for poverty. Or perhaps she doesn’t. She writes — Every single parent could marry tomorrow and still she (or he) wouldn’t have a job. That phrase appears near the end of the article. Her other 500 words undermine that observation.
Parker’s title — Marriage should be an important tool in the War on Poverty — sets the stage. In the body of her article she attributes poverty to bad luck — if poverty is a matter of luck it presumably has no cure. She notes Senator Gillibrand’s suggestions of pay equity, preschool education, affordable childcare, and increased minimum wage only to dismiss them as old ideas. She goes on to suggest that respect for marriage is politically incorrect. She writes: “we live in a culture that devalues and mocks marriage.” Who knew that?
Parker concludes that ending poverty must include “rebuilding a culture that encourages marriage,” and that the old idea of marriage is better than any newer ideas for ending poverty. Parker, like Sherlock Holmes solving a mystery, having eliminated all other possibilities for ending poverty, concludes that what remains, family values and marriage, however bizarre or improbable it seems, must be the answer.
© William Hungerford – January 2014