True Story – Debates?


Contributed by MOTHERS volunteer and guest blogger Kelly Coyle DiNorcia

True story: I help to lead a mom’s group in my area, and I recently met with my co-leaders to plan the autumn schedule for the group. One of my ideas was to host a debate party as a Mom’s Night Out. Partly, the activist in me wanted to bring people together to share this historic election. Partly, I was hoping that the adrenaline rush that accompanies entertaining would keep me awake and alert enough to watch the debate.

Three blank stares. “A debate party?” Yes, a debate party. “What, like we all get together and pick a topic to debate?”

“Ummmm….presidential election year? McCain? Obama? Anyone?”

“Oh! Maybe that’s a good idea, since I won’t watch the debates otherwise.”

Now, I KNOW that, unlike me, these women did not fail to put the debates on their viewing schedules due to their Early-to-Bed-Early-to-Rise schedules. They are well-educated, intelligent women who, I had assumed (falsely, it appears, thereby confirming once again what they say about people who assume things) would have an interest in these types of things. Perhaps, I thought, they just don’t have the time to stay informed, what with all the cooking and cleaning and laundry and driving and other everyday tasks they need to accomplish to keep their homes running.

But no, that can’t be it. These women spend hour upon tireless hour researching the best plastic-free water bottle for their kids. They drive hours to visit the health care provider of their choice. They interrogate local farmers to find out exactly which pesticides are applied to their crops and in what amount. Pre-folds versus pocket diapers; Weston Price versus vegan diets; television or no – these are all questions that are pondered, explored, and researched. So, maybe it’s that they just aren’t into politics.

No, that’s not it either. All these women have been actively involved in the fight for or against bills they believe in, whether it pertains to home schooling, home birthing, or vaccination choice. They have written letters, called legislators, and even attended rallies to fight for their rights. That leaves only one possibility that I can see:

They simply do not see how the upcoming election affects them.

If that’s the case, then, the next question is this: what came first? Is it that the presidential candidates, and politicians in general, don’t address women’s issues such as paid family leave, caregiver credits, and quality affordable childcare because women aren’t listening? Or do women fail to pay attention because the candidates are not addressing the issues that matter to us?

In the end it doesn’t really matter, because if we start paying attention as a group with shared interests and voting accordingly, they’ll sit up, take notice, and start talking about the things that matter to us. That’s what MOTHERS is all about – helping women to seize hold of their power as individuals and as a voting block, and giving them the information they need to understand and support policies that would make our lives better and more secure. And what better time to start than now?