Peddling the virtues of “family” has become vital to the Republican debate as they march toward the November election. Republicans routinely frame “family” as the cornerstone of American prosperity. Casting the family unit as a prosperous social construct obfuscates an unspoken truth; since the War on poverty began in the 1960s, the family unit has deteriorated. It no longer provides the cohesion and stability that the staunch Conservative base would have us believe. Even so, images of women as nurturer and protector of children are given fluency by political rhetoric:
“The most important institution in society is the family. If the family breaks down, society breaks down.” Marco Rubio’s website made the correlation between economic stability and family stability simple, and it would fit in a Twitter feed. Ted Cruz extolled the virtues of family life on his website: “Marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman, it has strengthened societies for millennia, and we must uphold the truth of marriage.”
Reinforcing family values and the sanctity of marriage is shrewd propaganda at a time when familial bonds are dissolving and women no longer consider marriage as the apotheosis of their existence. What better way to dissuade women from abandoning the pursuit of motherhood than to codify messages into campaign rhetoric that suggests our country would prosper if only women stayed at home and reared children? Listen to any GOP speech and its clear that the crumbling economy can be blamed, in great part, to the collapse of family values. Not coincidentally, the Republican’s clarion call to defund Planned Parenthood has become a campaign fixture. The rhetoric of “family values” and the “evils” of Planned Parenthood are inextricable – their issues nimbly calibrated and integrated into campaign miasma. The result is cunning propaganda that insinuates society would be better served if women focused their attention on raising families. More pointedly it’s a strategic maneuver, buffered by draconian abortion legislation that is poised to control women’s lives at any cost. Equality is impossible when the church and state collude as one legislator to exert constitutional control over women’s bodies.
— D. Johnstone