First, the pledge made a stir for some very unfortunate remarks Bachmann made about gays while speaking in support of the pledge. Clearly, the pledge is about opposing same-sex marriage and promoting the social conservative view of the "traditional" family of head-of-the-house dad, nurturing stay-at-home mom, and sheltered kids raised to be perfect little citizens. And so Bachmann made some comments about gay men being less healthy, etc. They were appalling remarks, of course, but they're almost expected from someone like her so didn't much attention.
The most recent flap has been about language not actually in the pledge but in the introduction to the pledge that suggests children born into slavery were actually in some way better off than African-American children born today. Because these children were born to two parents, unlike many children today. The cluelessness of such a comment is astounding. I don't know how far removed you must be from poverty, a life of servitude, or just humanity to think there's any way in which being born into slavery is better than not. (Really, did it not occur to the drafters of this language that being born with mommy and daddy there doesn't do you any good if you, mommy, or daddy can be sold away at any moment?)
So the Family Leader folks have acknowledged that poor choice of language and have removed it from their pledge. So all's hunky dory now! But, folks, there is so, so much more in this pledge to complain about. There's the comment that "enduring marital fidelity" protects vulnerable women and the rights of fathers. (Do I really need to explain that for the vast majority of our nation's history fathers had all the rights?) And there's the line about humanely protecting women from being "seduc[ed] into promiscuity." Egads! We need to protect women, and women alone, from being lured into promiscuity, which I'm guessing these people would define as having more than one sexual partner in a lifetime. But we don't need to protect men from seduction? What a backwards, 19th century view of sexual inequality. I think there's a lot of blog material to find in this part of the vow.
But here's my favorite, that no one else seems to have caught on to:
"Recognition that robust childbearing and reproduction is beneficial to U.S. demographic, economic, strategic and actuarial health and security."
Ok, so clearly seems objectionable from those of us with female reproductive systems who haven't chosen to spend our 20s and 30s barefoot and pregnant. But did you see the nugget in there that really set me off? Go back and re-read it if you didn't. I'll wait. Demographic. Robust childbearing is beneficial to U.S. demographic health and security. Did anyone else catch that? Did anyone see the same sly meaning to that that I'm seeing? Come on, WASPS! Have more kids. Have 'em quick because the Hispanics are gaining on us! Isn't that really what that line means?
I don't think it surprises anyone that I don't like any part of this pledge. I don't need political candidates to pledge marital fidelity to me. They don't owe that to me. And if they owe it to their spouses, presumably they've already made those vows. I disagree with the economic points of the pledge. And I strongly disagree with the point about appointing only judges who are "faithful constitutionalists." Not because I disagree with fidelity to the Constitution by any stretch, but because I disagree with what I know these people think that phrase means. I favor same-sex marriage and making divorce easy and keeping abortion safe and legal and I'm not opposed to pornography or a little casual (but safe) sex.
But this thing about the "demographic health and security" of the U.S. really pisses me off. That is one of the most insidious calls to racism and white power I have ever seen. And it seems to be working because I haven't heard anyone else mention that line. If there is some other explanation for what Iowa's Family Leader means when it urges Republican candidates to engage in robust reproduction to promote the "demographic" health and security of this nation, I would love to hear it. But I sure can't think of one.