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(DV) Jackowski: A Letter to Kate O'Beirne







Women Who Make the World Worse
A Letter to Kate O'Beirne
by Rosemarie Jackowski 
February 20, 2006

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Dear Kate,


Right now I am watching your interview on C-Span Book TV. Thank you for the book, which covers many important topics. 


Women Who Make the World Worse contains some valid arguments. There is much in your book that is irrefutable; but during the interview you made a serious mistake. At one point you said that a single mother should look for a father for her children. That statement is evidence of your lack of understanding of the root causes of childhood poverty, a leading social problem of our time. It feeds into the myth that these children have no fathers. I need to remind you that there have not been any Immaculate Conceptions in recent years. There is no bright star shining in the East.


Instead of taking time out to look for another man to marry, most single mothers I have known were too busy working two or three jobs to have time even for a bathroom break. Courtship and romance are luxuries that many can only dream about. You are guilty of thinking in-the-box of an economically privileged woman instead of facing the reality of many women who are not so privileged. 


Your ill-conceived advice missed one very important point that you should have made. Single mothers need money that could be obtained if the government enforced the Court Orders for Support. Court Orders in other types of legal cases are usually taken seriously. Court Orders for the support of children are usually ignored. Have you checked on recent statistics on the amount of unpaid child support? This is one of the only types of legal cases where, often, the burden of enforcing a Court Order falls upon the victim of the crime.  


Many, if not most, single mothers conceived their children within a marriage. That point is inconvenient for many Republicans and Right-Wingers. It creates a conundrum for them. It is more advantageous to blame the victim. Enforcing Orders for Support could cost votes. Since babies and children don't have power in the voting booth, it is easy to dismiss them.


The failure of the government to respond to this problem has had far-reaching, unintended consequences. The most noticeable is the devaluing of marriage. Throughout history one of the most significant benefits of marriage was the protection of children. That is no longer true. Children born within a marriage are not given any preference, nor should they be, when it comes to government enforcement of one of the most basic of all human rights ... the right to food and shelter.  


Rosemarie Jackowski is a peace activist and an advocacy journalist. She is the founder of Justice for Children. In 1975, Justice for Children was one of the first organizations devoted to advocating for the legal and economic rights of children. At that time, there were 37 million children living in poverty in the United States because of unpaid child support. (Since 1975, other unrelated organizations have taken up this cause and have also used the name Justice for Children.) She can be reached at dissent@sover.net.

Other Articles by Rosemarie Jackowski

* The New Liberation Movement
* Osama's Book or Oprah's Book
A Small Matter of Justice
* Cuba, We Need You
* Things That Bosses Say: Just Another Day in the Life of a US Worker
* New Rules for Liberals
* Proper Etiquette During a Holocaust