The Secret Life of Julia

President Obama’s newest campaign tool has been providing laughs all week in conservative circles. This is hardly surprising, as The Life of Julia meme, in addition to being short-sighted and factually inaccurate, almost seems to have been made for ridicule. There’s something in it for everyone to laugh at, and although not everyone can agree on just what it is that’s wrong with the poor Julia’s life, everyone agrees that something is wrong.

A little perusal of the web results in a smorgasbord of takes concerning the debacle of Julia from conservative bloggers and columnists. The most prominent of these seem to be:

Julia gets some awesome benefits, but the national debt skyrockets as a result of them, leaving her future uncertain.

Julia has a better life under conservative leadership.

Julia gets some awesome benefits alright, but she doesn’t represent the average American woman.

Julia gets some awesome benefits, but what about the men in her life?

Julia gets no awesomeness and no benefits.

Julia gets some awesome benefits and you and I pay for them.

The Obama campaign failed to consider some less desirable things that Julia will get.

Julia may or may not get awesome benefits, but the whole thing is so laughable I don’t even want to think about it! Make the stupid people go awayyy…..

Julia gets some awesome benefits…..for a citizen in an Orwellian 1984 regime.

Upon further consideration, what Julia gets isn’t that awesome after all.

A number of these conservative responses are spot-on and insightful and even many liberals have weighed in against the Obama campaign on this one, but I’d like to spend a few moments considering a possibility for the Julia saga that I’m not seeing discussed as much as I’d like to, and that I think may be the most likely possibility of all:

What if Julia gets some awesome benefits for the price of her liberty?

Let’s suppose for a moment that the highly improbable is, in fact, true: that the champions of fiscal sanity and personal responsibility are wrong and that President Obama is not only altruistic but also correct in his figuring and that Julia gets awesome benefits. Let us suppose that Julia gets government money to be enrolled in a Head Start program and that the program actually works and improves her three-year-old learning skills immensely, vaulting her into the world of grade school education with a bang. Let us suppose that Julia’s high school gets government money via Obama’s new Race to the Top program which also shocks everyone by actually working. Let us suppose that this money really does improve her SAT scores and that Julia also qualifies for President Obama’s American Opportunity tax credit and a Pell Grant, breezing through college, except for a short interlude during which she undergoes surgery that is covered by Obama’s healthcare plan.

And so on.

In short, let us suppose that everything goes right for Julia as she waltzes through life under the protective shadow of her government’s wings. Even so – even in this very unlikely paradise of Obama’s to which we have committed Julia – I would not want what Julia has, for Julia has got all of this at the expense of the most precious civil right she possesses: her right to be right when the government is wrong.

Because it’s all well and good to be dependent on an altruistic governmental system you adore. If you are of one mind with your nation’s ruling powers, there is, theoretically, little reason to object to the concept of a shared money-bag and no fear of a future state of involuntary servitude to scare you away from the benefits of having all things in common.

The question is, what about when the system that claims a desire to nurture and nourish you is one with which you fundamentally disagree? Is it truly wise or even sane to support the burgeoning and swelling of such a system by feeding into its open jaws more and more responsibility for your life?

The question is, how is Julia going to break away from her protector and her supplier when he demands of her things she cannot in good conscience do? And the answer is that we don’t have to look far to find ample examples of the bondage that results from a people’s exaggerated dependence upon their government.

How is Julia going to respond when her healthcare provider insists that her web design company pay for her employees’ abortions or allocates her funds for the purpose of research utilizing aborted fetal cells? Who is likely to get the upper hand: Julia’s health or Julia’s conscience? What is she going to do when her privacy is violated by airport and train station security officials at every checkpoint? Who is likely to get the upper hand: Julia’s need to travel (to visit her aging parents, and to keep her job) or her privacy? What will she do when her children are subjected against her will through the public education system to ideological indoctrination concerning family, homosexuality, sex ed, political science, religion, history and everything in between? What will she do if she wishes to liberate her children from an education system she finds ineffective and abhorrent and to homeschool them but isn’t permitted to by her government? Who is likely to get the upper hand: Julia’s relatively comfortable lifestyle or Julia’s conscience and her children?

I know not what course others may take, but it seems to me that handouts and awesome benefits pale in comparison with the freedom to think and to abide according to my convictions and to do business and raise children in the way that I see fit and to keep myself from becoming tethered to the manipulative and unstable monster that is government.

Upon further consideration, what Julia gets isn’t that great after all.

Bryana Johnson | Dallas, Texas | @HighTideJournal

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13 Responses

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  1. Debra
    May 10, 2012 - 06:30 PM

    I’ve been on this earth for 46 years now, and not once have I ever heard a woman complain that she could not get birth control. Give me a break. This topic is ridiculous and disingenuous. Women taking the bait on this trumped up offense are nothing but puppets. The feminist movement was about equality and demonstrating that women could take care of themselves…of course, until now. Birth control doesn’t cost that much, in fact, in many cases less than a copay would cost. In addition, I’ve never had an insurance plan not pay for my birth control. This is about mandating religious institutions to provide bc within their plans. Those working for such organization who need bc should be willing to sacrifice luxuries such as a couple of Starbucks drinks or trips to the fast food joints are in order if they can’t afford their bc. If they aren’t willing to prioritize their own health by doing so, I can’t either. I’m not willing to sell my freedom for their refusal to be responsible for their own lives.

    Chelle, Planned Parenthood is taxpayer funded. If your plan doesn’t pay for your bc, you can go there to get it. That’s where women who can’t afford bc have gone for years. But of course, there are those who wouldn’t be caught dead in such a place. Oh, and another thing, if you don’t think PP can cook the books to fund the abortions you’re truly naive to the ways of the world. Good grief.

    • Chelle
      May 10, 2012 - 10:59 PM

      Considering the Hyde Admendment was established in the 70s, I would love to know how Planned Parenthood has been able to fool the federal government for so long – since they’re audited every year just because of that.

      You’ve never heard a woman complain that she couldn’t get birth control? You must be hiding under the biggest rock ever since many women have come out to say that – which is why women need affordable healthcare.

      Having birth control be treated like every other preventative medicine is equaility.

    • Tori
      May 10, 2012 - 11:46 PM

      I am one of those women that you have never heard. Either you’ve found a way to get very unusually cheap birth control or the Starbucks where you live is REALLY overcharging people. I paid $70 per month, and that was through planned parenthood. I’m a little surprised to hear you saying that going to pp should be the solution to the problem when the people who are against bc being considered a part of basic women’s health care are the same ones who are rather aggressively trying to shut pp down and may very well succeed. What should they do when that happens?

    • sam.perez1978@gmail.com
      May 22, 2012 - 02:16 PM

      You cant get b.c. past 24 at planned parenthood. And before 1998, 21. Yes, i am in the legion of minority women whom had children young. I don’t want to get food stamp and public health care but after i had my children I relized how dumb I was. Between my 2 part.times, school and exes salary ( we were married) i can t do the 400 in insurance from my job. I love our children just wish the common ground was on awakening the masses on the ‘ liberal ‘ and ‘ conservatives’ not educating us on celibacy and birth control as a must have for the working poor & welfare bums
      btw. I meet someone w 12 kids yesterday on welfare. ( YOU get cash for to 7)God help us.

      • Chelle
        May 29, 2012 - 08:30 PM

        I’m really confused – you can get birth control from PP if you’re over 24.

  2. Tanner Brumbarger
    May 10, 2012 - 04:24 AM


    You are missing the point. It’s not anti-women, it’s not anti-safe sex. If you want to have sex, that’s fine. Heck, you could have all the sex you want for all I cared! The thing Conservatives are against, is tax payer funded contraception. If you want to have sex, it’s your choice, but you pay for the consequences, not the public.

    • Christy
      May 10, 2012 - 07:37 AM


      Please remember that there are thousands of women on birth control for medical reasons. This isn’t about “tax payer funded sex,” it’s about ensuring that women who need birth control will have access to it. Birth control regulates menstruation, relieves severe cramping, prevents the progression of endometriosis (women can lose their reproductive organs and fertility over this, so please educate yourself on it), treats PMDD and PCOS, and has many other health benefits like reducing a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer. For these reasons, it is quite justifiable to include birth control under “preventative care” in insurance programs.

    • Chelle
      May 10, 2012 - 01:32 PM

      Please tell me what tax payers have anything to do with paying my birth control under the new mandate? Because of according to the mandate, I would be working for my birth control and still paying for my health care out of my pay check.

      Also, please tell me how tax payers are paying for abortions since it is illegal to use federal funds for them? And yet, conservatives are very interested in what medical procedures I should required to have or when its acceptable to have them – that I’m paying for by the way.

      So yea, please tell me where, in recent news, we’re discussing tax payer funding my sex life? Because the two major stories are abortion and the birth control mandate and tax payers are not nor will not be paying for either regardless.

    • Chelle
      May 10, 2012 - 01:33 PM

      “If you want to have sex, it’s your choice, but you pay for the consequences, not the public.”

      And I take you’re against tax benifits for those with kids and tax payers funding public schools correct?

  3. Michelle
    May 10, 2012 - 03:11 AM

    I like how in Obama’s world, Julia chooses to be a mom but in the Heritage one Julia becomes a mom.

    I guess in the ultimate cool conservative world Julia won’t be able to make her own medical decisions without the government redefining rape, making her pay for unneed medical procedures such as ultrasounds and not having access to birth control since conservative states don’t believe in teaching condoms or other safe sex measures.

    Yea, I’ll keep Obama’s world. At least I get a say over my life there.

    • Debra
      May 10, 2012 - 06:32 PM

      No, he’ll own your soul. Ladies, study history, or be doomed to repeat it.

      • Chelle
        May 10, 2012 - 11:58 PM

        And you’re referencing what exactly?

        I’m pretty sure every time a President has fought for women’s rights I benefit.

        Yea…can’t think of time when a President giving women the ability to choice for themselves back fired. However, every time a President fights to have control over my body/medical choices, women die.

        Yea, I’ll stick with Obama, thanks!

      • Tori
        May 11, 2012 - 12:15 AM

        Whoa!! That’s dramatic! I think the problem for most of us is that repeating history is exactly what we are trying to stop.

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