Mom In Search of Pro-Child Candidate
Post convention and pre-election, this mama is surprised that mothers have so quickly taken the center stage. Not long ago, the only time politicians spoke of us was when they were bashing welfare moms, as if they might bring down the entire country...Now mothering is equated with the experience needed to run the country.
Suddenly mothers have been launched into the limelight, all of us: working moms, hockey moms and teenage moms. I want to shift this spotlight from lipstick, wardrobes, and truth-challenged attack ads, to asking the hard question: What will our elected leaders do to ensure a safe and sustainable future for our children?
There is a cyclone of opinion surrounding the Republican VP choice of Sarah Palin. As a mother and Director of Mothers Acting Up, my job is to continue to shift the debate from personality to policy and focus on how U.S. policies are impacting children – in the U.S. and around the world. I want to focus on whether Palin is “pro-child”, believing that all children deserve food in their belly, quality health care and safe schools to attend, with mothers who have access to pre-natal health care and proper nutrition. Will she support fully funding our county’s promise to contribute 0.7% of our GNP to the Millennium Development Goals by 2015? (In 2007 the U.S. was in last place for meeting this commitment, .16%.) Will she agree to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child; we’re the only country – besides Somalia, which lacks a functioning government – that hasn’t signed the treaty. Our “security” budget is bigger than all countries combined. Will she support shifting 15% of the budget to preventative “security programs like education for all"? These are the questions I want the media, Palin and every candidate to address. Then discerning mother citizens can decide for ourselves which candidate represents the interests of children.
A nationwide USA Today poll finds 80% of respondents are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States. As a pro-child, pro-earth mama, add me to that group. With U.S. childhood poverty rates at a ten ten-year high, our legislators voted down expanding health insurance for children. While the number of billionaires doubled in 4 years, 95% of the world lives on $10 a day or less. Mohammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank and father of microcredit, speaks of leaving our children a world where poverty lives only in a museum. Let's elect mothers* whose mission is to put poverty in a museum.
The war in Iraq – costing $1 trillion – has not made anyone safer, especially children, here or in Iraq. While our current president is discussing new generations of nuclear weapons, the U.S. Army has been working on innovative and pro-life alternatives to war. They consider girl’s education a vital link to our long-term security. MAU calendar portrait Lorelei Kelly, a security expert, talks about “issues that were once considered ‘women’s issues’ (read: not as important as guns and bombs) are now squarely in the middle of domestic and international debates on security.” Time to elect visionary leaders who will invest our tax dollars in human security and reject failed weapon systems.
Global climate change legislation has barely seen the light of day. Remember all the talk about how curbing climate change would hurt our economy? Turns out that investing in renewable energy means: jobs to boost our economy; cleaner air for our children; and a more sustainable future for the next generation. As the polar ice cap melts and asthma rates rise, let's elect a President and Congress committed to addressing global warming. I vote for an administration that will use children’s health and welfare as a barometer when voting for climate action bills.
This has all the makings of the most important vote of my lifetime and perhaps my children’s. I vow to respectfully engage in a fiercely passionate debate about what I hold most dear: children’s wellbeing. With those who are planning to check a different box this November, I will continue to search for common pro-child ground.
Here’s my approach and I welcome you to join me:
Get educated about the issues and select candidates who stand for children. Find scorecards at:
* Children’s Defense Fund Scorecard www.childrensdefense.org/site/PageServer?pagename=act_learn_scorecard200...
* “On the Record” with the One campaign www.onevote08.org/ontherecord/compare.html?c=13&c=8
* National Environmental Scorecard http://lcv.org/scorecard/2007.pdf
PS: Mothers Acting Up does not take a position in the pro-choice, pro-life debate, as it is MAU’s mission to rally both sides to create a pro-child movement. I dream of the day people say they are voting for a candidate because she’s pro-child.
Talk to everyone about this election. Write a respectful email sharing your perspective with facts galore, site your sources, and send it out to your personal network. Include all friends and family, even if they might not agree.
VOTE with babes in tow. MAU is a coalition partner with the White House Project in the Take Your Daughter (and Son) to the Polls campaign. Email MAU at firstname.lastname@example.org for Pledge cards and stickers!
This is our time mamas. Be not blinded by the paparazzi. Keep your eye on the prize: a pro-child President and Congress!
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