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Ben Sasse Knows Why There Are 'Two Americas': YOU'RE A BAD PARENT

Culture
Photo: Kars Afrink, Creative Commons 2.0 license

Senator Ben Sasse, the smarmy junior Republican senator from Nebraska who gets Very Concerned about Donald Trump then bravely votes for everything Trump wants, took to the Twitter and offered some simple wisdom from a wise family doctor, just good parenting advice from an expert. It's neat, plausible, and bullshit, to paraphrase Mencken. But just look at this fine quote, ready to put on your next needlepoint throw pillow:

Awww. If you love your children, you'll limit the amount of time they spend glued to the TV or social media and all that, and you'll be a GOOD PARENT!

Of course, that "Two Americas" cliché seemed a little too pat for Friend of Wonkette Charlie Pierce, who suggested a lot of families might have somewhat more pressing concerns:


And then there were the killjoys who've gone and done research on this stuff, like this developmental cognitive scientist at Notre Dame:

Link in last tweet: https://commarts.wisc.edu/sites/default/files/file...

Then again, she's a university professor, and we all know they hate the American Family.

In any case, we think there might be some other important dichotomies Ben Sasse's pediatrician -- whom we suspect he may have overheard at a hipster coffee shop in Omaha -- may have missed. Like for instance!

  • Families who have unsecured guns in their homes, and those who have some common damn sense. We started to write "and families whose kids don't get shot," but then we remembered that kids from the second type of family still may visit the first type, with tragic results.
  • Families who have lots of books in their home and the time to read to their kids (not to mention the class privileges that lead to that!), and families where both parents have to work full-time jobs -- sometimes more than one -- to keep a roof over their heads, and even that may not be enough. Oh, let's do a subset, shall we? (no we cannot indent the next bit, shut up)
  • Families who aren't just one accident, illness, major car breakdown, or other emergency away from the street, and families whose only screen time is on somebody else's screens.
  • Families who teach their children you can't trust anyone, not even Daddy, and families who aren't sociopaths named Donald J. Trump Senior and Junior.
  • Families who reflexively divide the world into Manichean Us and Them distinctions, and families who may be inclined to simplistic dualisms but do their damnedest not to oversimplify that way.

But surely there are more important divisions in this divided, fractured nation? Not to be all Andy Borowitz about it (and to be all Andy Borowitz about it), there are families who put the toilet paper over the top of the roll, and families who do it wrong; families who leave the television blaring away all day whether anyone's around to watch it, and families who will never stop telling you they don't own a TV because it's all garbage; and families who observe the Rule of Three, and families who swear eternal vendetta on anyone who links to TV Tropes. Not to mention families who think Wonkette is the neatest thing since sliced bread and those who think they're qualified to make a media bias chart.

Yes, and families who think listicles are kind of lame and played out, and those who can't resist the damn things anyway.

We could just go on with a near-endless list of things that mark the differences between good families that do wonderful things and families who are raising their kids all wrong and will probably be dysfunctional and wrong all the time, but we grew up in a family that is not Ben Sasse's, so forget it.

[Ben Sasse on Twitter / Charlie Pierce on Twitter / Photo by Kars Alfrink, Creative Commons License 2.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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