February 13 2014
An Agenda-Free Valentine’s Day
Carrie L. Lukas
Perhaps it’s too much to wish for in the modern era, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a Valentine’s Day that wasn’t co-opted for a political agenda?
A few years back, the feminist left primarily hijacked Valentine’s Day for “V-Day,” an occasion to watch Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues and contemplate the problem of violence against women. That’s a worthy goal: Of course, we ought to be concerned about domestic abuse and the horrific discrimination and persecution faced by too many women around globe. But does it have to be on Valentine’s Day, a day that’s supposed to be dedicated to a celebration of love and romance?
This year, however, Democratic female leaders, led by Representative Nancy Pelosi, are using the holiday for a social-media push to highlight all the things that women (supposedly) want instead of candy and flowers. Here’s how U.S. News & World Report describes that effort:
“Stay tuned,” Pelosi said. “Next week the House Democratic women will launch an online campaign to highlight what women really want for Valentine’s Day. We’ll be sending more information on how we can work together to get the message out: When women succeed, America succeeds.”
Members of Congress will use social media to outline their Valentine’s Day wish list, which, beyond pay equity, also likely will include paid family and medical leave, paid sick days and affordable child care.
Who gives women the gifts of paid leave time and child care? Government, of course. Using Valentine’s Day — a day women traditionally expect tokens of affection from their lovers — means that once again our self-styled feminist champions are cartoonishly perpetuating the idea that Uncle Sam is women’s true, best paramour. Like with Julia, individual men are pushed to the side and (rather than expecting women to make it independently) government must step in and provide for women’s basic needs.
These policy gifts aren’t free, of course, and women can pay the highest price, in terms of lost job opportunities, less flexibility, and the crowding out of the child-care options women actually prefer.
Yet let’s save that for another day. Romance between actual people — not the citizen and the state — is a wonderful thing. Valentine’s Day can be contrived, but watching kids paste cut out hearts on blank sheets of paper and give each other little sugar-candy hearts certainly warms the heart. And on this one day, isn’t that enough?