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Remember the party hostess who warned me to not be sidelined by non-issues? Well she’s got to be feeling smug this week. You can’t listen to a newscast or read an item without an explosion of the Red versus Blue Mommy Wars.
The problem with politics led by gossip is that Bill Maher (who is childless) is on TV saying things like, “Ann Romney has never gotten her ass out of the house …” I won’t even talk about the fact that an eight-hour-a-day job with a terrible boss is a cake walk compared to parenting a newborn (and I’ve had my ass out of the house, ThankYouVeryMuch). I further resent the implication that Michelle Obama and her $300,000+ a year job makes her relatable.
There are few things about my life that resemble the Obamas or the Romneys. Our political system appears to be reserved for the very wealthy and it’s unlikely that in my lifetime or my children’s lifetimes this will change.
There will never be a president of my country that lives a life like I’ve led and that is okay. Good even, because it takes someone very different to even want the job. You see presidents and their wives aren’t like us. How many people actually want to be president of the United States of America? How many people want to be married to one? We are not electing a best friend; we are electing a head of state. It’s a different mindset and I implore my parenting colleagues to adapt to a wiser and less reckless frame of thinking.
You see, mothers are smarter than anyone gives us credit for. Mothers can change our country’s course with this (and every) election cycle. Let’s talk about the issues that every mother should care about. Let’s talk about education and what happened to math and science in America. Let’s ask the candidates about healthcare and taxes. Ask them why the middle class is no longer able to afford a home and for the love of gawd ask: Who can revive the American Dream?
So while mothers aren’t a homogenous group by any stretch, we are all caregivers. We do a lot of the household purchasing and, hopefully, quite a bit of saving, too. What happens when we (or our spouses) retire and we have to live off of our investments? Will we be paying capital gains taxes on the money we socked away 30 years ago? Had you planned for that?
I’d like candidates to talk about our food supply and why corn farmers are producing food that no one will eat while collecting huge subsidies. Speaking of subsidies, when’s the last time you noted the subsidies enjoyed by the fossil fuel industry? Would we be safer both here and overseas if we as a nation swiftly and decisively moved towards using renewable energy?
Our strength as a nation is best indicated by how we treat our very young and very old, how we care for our ill and what dignities we provide for the poor. Which president can help right our very tilted ship? I think the mothers know and I don’t think for a minute either of them cares how the First Lady spent her days.