I’ve read that back in the fourteenth century bands of rogues would join forces, elect a leader, and pillage the land. Things sure haven’t changed much.
Frances Fox Piven’s “Get a Job: Why Welfare Reform Is an Attack on All Women” [September 1996] really saddened my heart, which is not easy to do: I am an ex-prizefighter, ex-heroin-addict, and ex-bank-robber, and am currently serving time for attempted murder. Piven’s article gave me quite a lesson in economics, politics, and history. There’s nothing wrong with America in terms of its soil, its vegetation, its wildlife, and its common folks. But we have allowed all forms of skulduggery and chicanery in our government. We no longer have public servants but an assortment of war mongers, misers, petty thieves, and liars who call themselves politicians. Our mothers could run this country better with twenty dollars than these egomaniacs can with twenty trillion.
I applaud you for publishing Frances Fox Piven’s “Get a Job.” She outlines problems that need to be addressed by all who are concerned with the rights of women and children — and men — in our society.
It is time, as Piven eloquently points out, for women’s work as nurturers and heads of family to be recognized by the powers that be. In many advanced countries, women are not stigmatized if they decide to become homemakers, and families are given more resources to help them do what’s best for their children. Delegating government responsibility to the states cannot work if the states represent primarily business interests and not those of children and families.
On another note, I was surprised by Anne Martin’s comments in the August Correspondence. I find Sy Safransky’s contributions refreshing and not at all “depressive.” “Self-absorption,” as Martin calls it, is the province of any artist, and often entails delving into deeply personal issues.