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The Importance of Being Political: A Primer for Moms who Yawn at Politics

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July 7, 2011

As a mom, you’re busy.  Entire websites, print publications and support groups evolve to support your noble mission: “Operation Bring-Up Baby.”  You dote, you rock, you encourage.  No matter your style, you are placing all of your energy into the people you are producing.

No doubt, it’s a daunting task.  When actively engaged in bringing up Bambino, you have your hands full, and when planning the next step, or challenge, your heart and mind are operating on overdrive.  Is there enough time in the day to do all you do?  Probably not, but forage on, as you fuss with checking out the latest tips on properly tethering the car seat and choosing an orthodontic-friendly pacifier.

The topic of politics turns the stomachs of so many moms.  The lack of interest among the mom-community causes me concern.  Certainly, it isn’t because I find that moms are unwilling to take on tough topics or uninterested in engaging in intellectual conversation.  Why then, are the women who are concerned with paving a protected path to adulthood not more engaged in the ultimate environment in which our children will seek out success?

Is it time?  No intellectual test needed… we’re all clearly prioritizing in a busy culture.

Is it lack of confidence? Typically called “prevailing attitudes on political cultures” I think it can best be summed up as “if it’s just a pendulum that swings without my participation… what is the point?”

Is it unwillingness to make waves?  Women shy away from stereotypical insults when displaying strong opinions and often steer clear in order to maintain a favorable reputation.

But then, of course, there are those that argue that not caring is actually good.

I couldn’t laugh louder or harder at this short-sighted dismissal.  I certainly can’t change the cultural norms that bias us as to whether it is our mother’s example or our desire to avoid conflict.  I could spend some time telling you about my own experiences or I could show you many of the wonderful examples of how women are making a difference.

I’m choosing a different method:

You are completely short-changing your children.

That’s right, I’m going to where it hurts.  Your parenting is lacking.

The 5-Star Safety Rating of your premium SUV is important.

~But does the fact that your child, upon birth, owes the federal government, more than some married couples can produce in an entire year cause you concern?

Of course, the extracurricular activities that you are able to provide create a well-founded and solid individual.

~ All major federal funding initiatives (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) that provide stability to our aged and needy families have grown to such alarming rates, that each one is projected insolvent (that is, unable to pay future payments) within your lifetime and certainly the lifetime of your children.  Do you not wonder where this leaves Bambino?

I am not suggesting that you are choosing the wrong things.  I’m encouraging you to find that oasis: balance.

Let me also encourage you by giving you reason to believe that your small actions create a giant reaction.

  1. Stick to what is local. Local politics are often nonpartisan, leaving you able to strike a balance between divisive politics and activism.  While it’s been said ad nauseum: “all politics are local,” you’ll quickly discover the wisdom in the quote.  Immerse your interest here, where simply having a coffee club or hosting a meet-n-greet in front of the local grocery store on a Saturday morning introduces you to the topics of concern, and the politicians who wish to police them.  You can make a big difference locally — One that contributes to the school and community that is helping support your family.  You owe them your time and it takes very little to make a tremendous impact.
    1. Go to the local City Council meetings.
    2. Read the local newspaper, especially the editorial page.
    3. Attend a candidate forum, encourage your Chamber of Commerce to host one, or start one yourself.  It takes little more than a school cafeteria and a flyer!
  2. Get on a mailing list from your County or State Political Party. Local clubs deliver the latest news in short tidbits, either as emails or in a traditional newsletter webzine.  You don’t have to subject your children to nights of boring commentary, when you’d rather be playing ‘Fact or Crap.’  Get reliable news from your preferred provider and spend 15 minutes reading up on the state and national issues.  Many state and local interest groups even have valuable Twitter accounts or Facebook pages, boiling down today’s topics to digestible nuggets.
  3.  Find a discussion group or blog that feels like home. On the internet, your girlfriend posse exists.  Outside of your favorite nesting blog, recipe blog or couponing blog, there are a myriad of bloggers who are reliable fact disseminators.  There, your comments and discussion build into a further understanding.  Politics may seem a game, but moreover it is a learning process.  It’s a fascinating give-and-take, and a system that has been the beacon of the world’s interest since its inception.

The United States of America was founded as an experiment – one that was framed by a diverse crowd, in an effort to live peacefully with differing viewpoints. There is one thing that makes them different than us.  It was their passion.  We must dig down into our passion, and what better guiding reason than for the love of our children, and our country, to rekindle a caring spirit?  If there is no other encouragement that I can give, remember this – We have witnessed women use their unique gifts for consideration and respect to accomplish small victories of understanding on the web with respect to a whole host of issues and topics that are important to moms.  Bring passion to your community, and permeate this particular topic with what you wish politics could be, not what you perceive it to be.

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