Why anyone would pay 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney money to talk about anything, I don’t know, but I guess it’s mutually beneficial. He has to pay the bills on that car-elevator somehow. Anyway, quoting from the book of Luke in the Bible, Romney encouraged the recent grads of Southern Virginia University to “launch out into the deep.” But what exactly did this mean? Find work that you love? Pay off those student loans before Sallie Mae hunts you down like a dog?
No. Get married.
And he throws in a bonus commentary on how he means straight marriage only, just in case you weren’t sure.
“Launch out into the deep and let down your nets.” In some ways these are a metaphor for life … ”Launch out into the deep, and your nets will be filled.” How do you do that? Well, getting married is one way of launching into the deep. I’m so glad I found Ann when I was still so young. Combining your life with another person, particularly someone — men and women as different as we are, this combination is tremendously challenging and enormously rewarding. Some people could get married but choose to take more time, they say, for themselves. Others plan to wait until they’re well into their 30s or 40s before they think about getting married. They’re going to miss so much of living, I’m afraid. From the beginning of recorded time, the prophet Adam recorded this life secret: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife.” Marriage is a gift from God. Now, some may dismiss the counsel coming from the Bible because it comes from a book which they’ve discarded. But the Bible is one of two things: either it’s the word of God, as I believe, or it’s the product of brilliant philosophers and sages who’ve observed lives and and nations and civilizations and history over thousands and thousands of years. Either way, the Bible is a pearl of wisdom, the distillation of lessons of life. So when it says “marry,” listen. Now, bringing children into the world is also launching into the deep. I had friends who weren’t sure they were going to have kids. They told me they were going to buy a dog first to see how that went. (laughs) … Again from the Bible, “Children are inherited to the Lord and the fruit of the loom is his reward, happy is the man who is quiver full of them.”
Look, I know the economy is bad and it would be difficult for any commencement speaker, even someone well-versed in trumpeting bullshit, to stand up at the pulpit and play hype man for careers that may not get off the ground for years. But can we not aim a bit higher, as a society, than encouraging our new college grads to marry and have kids so soon, as Romney suggests (because, hey, it worked for him and Ann)? Damn, between Romney and Princeton Mom, it’s like everyone’s trying to get us to get hitched. Take a chill pill, everyone!
Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not against getting married or having children. (I plan to do it five or six times, at least.) I just question whether in this economy — or, actually, any economy — advising young adults still finding their way in life to tether themselves to other young adults still finding their way in life is really the best idea for anyone’s career/happiness/financial security.