By Jedediah Bila
You often speak about your fondness for older generations. What is the best life lesson you’ve learned from them?—Jennifer; Long Island, NY
There are so many, but I think my #1 would be to toughen up.
I noticed as a teenager that my grandparents and their friends were a lot tougher than I was. They seemed to possess an inner strength I just didn’t have. I came to learn that it’s the kind of strength born from fighting in World Wars, surviving the Great Depression, and growing up feeling lucky to have clean clothes on your back and food on your plate. They taught me the meaning of Friedrich Nietzsche’s “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I don’t think I’ll ever be quite as strong as they were, but I’d like to think some of their guts rubbed off.
Okay, so here is my question for you, my modern, conservative, feminist rock star. Is the traditional family unit even a desired norm anymore? Should it be encouraged? What do you think about the woman in the home? Am I sexist for thinking that if a family has that as an option, it’s still a very good one?—Rick; Chicago
Rick, you bring up some very good questions. Oftentimes, because I write a good deal about feminism and the women’s movement, people assume I’m opposed to women being stay-at-home moms. That is not the case. What I embrace is a reality in which women choose whatever path they feel is best for them, be it mother, doctor, professor, or a host of other options. The key word is “choose.”
In my opinion, the traditional family unit of mom, dad, and child/children is still alive and well. I personally feel that it should be encouraged, as I believe that moms and dads make unique, yet equally-important contributions to a child’s development.
I have no issue with a mom choosing to stay at home and raise her kid(s) (and I don’t think you’re sexist “for thinking that if a family has that as an option, it’s still a very good one.”) However, I also take no issue with a dad being a stay-at-home father. I feel very lucky to live in a time in our country’s history when women and men aren’t pigeonholed into “acceptable” roles. Instead, people and families make decisions based on what’s right for them, plain and simple.
P.S. – Thanks for the “modern, conservative, feminist rock star” intro. I need to put that on a t-shirt!
If you could have dinner with one former American President, who would it be and why?—Jim; Charlotte, NC
That’s a tough one, but I think I’d go with Thomas Jefferson because I could ask him to write up some constitutional addendums to prevent certain people from distorting the Commerce Clause. I’d also bring along a copy of Obama’s health care law to provide him with a good, hearty laugh (likely followed by a good, hearty cry.)
What leads the way in media stupidity this week?—Carol; Florida
Too many options to choose from!
I guess I’ll say it’s a close call between Salon.com’s column titled “Right wing wins Helen Thomas’ scalp” and the fact that Time.com ran this column: “Facebook Group: Plug the BP Oil Spill with Sarah Palin.”
If you could ask President Obama one question directly, what would it be?—Sal; New York, NY
I’d ask him if I could have a dollar for every time he blames something on President Bush in the next thirty months. Someone’s about to hit the jackpot!
In all seriousness, I’d ask him what specific kind of “change” (philosophically and historically) inspired his personal ideology, how he would specifically define that ideology, and what specific “change” he’d like instituted in America – politically, economically, and socially – in the next twenty years. Notice my emphasis on “specific.”
One simple request: No 17-minute, 2500-word answers that take me on a yellow brick road to nowhere.
Email your questions to Jedediah here. If you would like to, please include your city/state.