Matt Lewis

What conservatives and ‘Mommy Bloggers’ have in common

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

Breastfeeding

Pope Francis has taken some heat recently for saying Catholics shouldn’t be “obsessed” with issues like gay marriage and abortion.

As I’ve argued, there might be a lesson here for conservatives, too.

This is not to say they should abandon first principles, but it is to say we can be a little more creative in changing the culture.

Back in September I wrote about Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen and his wife Tiffany, who started a charity for families who (like the Bowens) have lost premature babies. According to the Bowens, many hospitals treat these babies like “medical waste.” The Bowens aim to change that.

The story didn’t get much play, but this is exactly the kind of issue the pro-life community should champion. After all, if the fundamental goal is to encourage a culture of life, then this story is consistent with that. Politics is downstream from culture, so if more Americans respected the dignity of life, overturning Roe would be a moot point.

People who volunteer at pregnancy crisis centers or work to end human trafficking already get this. But the rest of us should probably be seeking creative and subtle ways to share our family values with the culture.

The good news is that there is a popular, relevant, and timely issue that is consistent with a conservative worldview: Breastfeeding.

This issue has been around forever, of course, but here’s the latest development. As Erick Owens reported, a Missouri woman faces a $500 fine and jail time for bringing her baby to jury duty.

Only twelve states currently exempt nursing mothers from jury duty, and this is a problem. As a dad of a toddler and an infant, I can attest to the fact that babies eat pretty frequently. And if ensuring that their primary sustenance is readily available isn’t an important duty (or a valid excuse), then I don’t what is.

The traditional conservative ought to embrace this cause as an organic and healthy extension of family values. This is not to say it should replace the right to life as the defining issue for social conservatives, but it is to say that breastfeeding advocacy is perfectly consistent with the values that cultural conservatives ought to espouse.

Why should this be a liberal issue? Were I advising a socially conservative group, I would suggest embracing this issue.

Why not team with moms in various states to lobby for changes to the law?

This issue works on a variety of levels. First, it’s the right thing to do for babies and moms. Second, it’s consistent with traditional conservative values. And lastly, it’s good PR.

Inasmuch as the bogus “war on women” meme isn’t going away any time soon, conservatives ought to highlight the many areas where they are demonstrably pro-woman, pro-child, and pro-family.

If you’ve spent any time on one of the many “mommy blogs” that proliferate the blogosphere these days, you’ll know a lot of these ladies think they are liberal, even as they advocate for (what should rightly be) socially conservative positions.

Why not stand proudly with self-reliant moms against the government on this one?