Warning; There will be some political talk in this post. It will lean neither left, nor right, but there will be politics talked about. Yes, most of my writing content is primarily driven by all things mothering, whether that be dealing with raising boys or dealing with angst ridden teenagers, I try to intelligently and humorously cover the gamut of the ups and downs of raising children. But lo and behold, part of raising children does not mean ignoring your responsibility as a woman who holds a voter registration card.
The random day my ovaries decided to function, and nine months later someone handed me a new human, they didn’t subsequently take away my right to vote, nor did my critical thinking skills get sucked out along with breast milk. No, I am not that same naive 18-year old-girl, holding a voter’s I.D. card in my hand, and thinking about the issues that concern only me. I am far from it. At age 43, I am in a much different place politically, and I am no longer voting about issues that concern me, but about issues that will concern my children and grandchildren.
It is no secret this summer has been one for the record books. We have seen unprecedented violence across our country, huge racially ignited protests in every major city, anger fueled citizens who have lost hope in civility demanding action, and an almost unrecognizable feeling of doom and gloom concerning this fall’s presidential election wafting through the air.
Who do you think feels this the most?
I mean, feels it right down to their tired bones, while they are rocking an infant or sending off their kid to college, who do you think feels this loss of hope the most?
You. Me. Our moms. Our grandmothers. We feel this brutally divided country right in the core of our hearts, and it scares the heck out of us. I know it does me. I am scared for my future, my children’s future, and their children’s future. Will this country still be around in 10, 20, 30 years if the infighting and vitriol is basically all we have to agree on?
If you’re reading this, you’re clearly using social media. You’ve chosen to use it for many reasons, to stay in touch with old friends and family, to keep up with personal interests and hobbies, and for many of us, it is also where we get our news. But these last couple of months, social media has become a whole new animal.
It has been the summer of unfollow, block, unlike, and unfriend.
When did we as mothers become so completely unable to pull our big girl panties up and live in harmony with those that have a different set of political beliefs than us? When did political strife on social media force mothers to morph into 7th graders at cheer tryouts? “OMG, did you see that cartwheel? She. Is. Awful. She cannot be one of us.” “What is she wearing? Is she kidding? Who DOES THAT?” “I think the cheer she picked is stupid, and she must be too.” “She can’t be serious hanging out with that kind of friend. I’ve lost all respect for her.”
We talk about how disgraceful shame and judgment in the motherhood blogosphere is. We beg for it to stop. We abhor the rude and hateful comments made to the formula feeding mom, to the free-range mom, to the helicopter mom, to the unwed mom, to all of those moms that parent differ from us. We accept all the mothers for who they are, no matter how different they parent than us, but when it comes to their politics? Out come the fangs.
How about we use language that is more accepting and tolerant of that 7th grade cheerleader we think we must “hate.” “That is not something I would pick, but I support her being her trying out,” or, “I agree her stunts could use help, but it’s the same stunts I do, so we have that in common.” And maybe, “I bet if we worked together, we could help each other reach our final goal, being on the same team.”
Different people, working in harmony, on the same team. Isn’t that what we all want?
Attention all mothers from all walks of life, all shapes, ages, races, ethnicities, and religions, I want to be on your team, and I want you on my team. That team is not left, right, center, or independent. It is all of them together, reaching across the aisle, and fighting with all our might to get down to the business of finding out what we do agree on, getting back to our fundamental believe systems, and realizing when it comes down to it, we all agree on the same core principles. Let me repeat that, before you hate and shame another mother for her steadfast politics, reach out to her to see what core principles you share.
I have friends I’ve loved for over 20 years, who are as politically polar opposite to me as they come. We don’t agree on one single issue politically, but we have a mutual respect for each other as mothers that is held in such high degree, that there has never, nor will there ever be, an angry political argument between us. I don’t look at her, or any other mother who leans the opposite of how I lean, as less than, ignorant, scary, uneducated, or clueless. I also don’t try to bring her over to my side, or pressure her, or exclude her from my group because she is not one of us. I would never want another mother’s self esteem and personal right of conscience to be undermined by intolerance. We are both mothers, we care about this country’s future, and we can agree we both want the same thing for this country, for it to still be around and thriving for our grandchildren.
Mothers are the backbone of this country. We always have been, and we always will be. We may have huge careers and be in the spotlight working in politics helping to run it, or we may be at home going to playdates and making dinner, but dammit, we are the backbone. Period. We need to somehow start coming together, to stop immaturely unfollowing and un-liking, bitching, moaning, and complaining to all that which we don’t agree with, and replace that with, “I may not agree with you on that point, but what is one thing we can agree on?”
We need to work together to get to that point, to get to a starting point, to be able to have grown up, mature, and civil conversations, and then see where it takes us.
We both need to bend, or we’re both gonna break.
Because I’ll tell you what the opposite of that looks likes, it looks like this summer.
It looks like a bunch of women who lack integrity, grace, and understanding, and are on a rampage to pick a side and stay there.
I, for one, will not pick a side and stay there. If I am the first mom to walk across to the other political side to meet my fellow mother, and if I am all alone, then so be it. If it means there is still a great American around when my grandkids are having kids, then you better believe I will stand there and wait for another mother to meet me. At this point, it’s the only choice I have.