Happy Mother's Day!
If we want to make our mothers happy, we should celebrate them more than one day, and, generally speaking, we should try to elevate the position of women everywhere.
Linguist George Lakoff in his book, Moral Politics, he talks about the strict disciplinarian father and the nurturing mother as two different models of government. Lakoff suggests that we need more of the mother model--which is preferred by the progressives. The conservatives appeal to people's belief in a strict father; and it seems, that many people need the rigid structure in their lives as they prefer to follow than lead.
We are different after all. Progressives want to explore the world, entertain ideas, are open to change & revision, and have a more positive view of human nature. Conservatives, like GW Bush, don't want debate (or talking back). Why, exchanging liberty for a promise of safety is welcome... Oh, and an absurd reductionist approach: with us or against us; good or evil; hero or villain; moral or immoral, etc.
Again, I repeat, the philosophical difference is that we like the nurturing approach in our government--not a nanny state, but a government that creates the conditions in the country for the individual to have a reasonable opportunity to reach self-fulfillment!
Mothers have played a greater role than fathers in raising the generations of humans. They're the keepers of the culture--even if this often means discriminating and prejudicial practices against them! But, without their long investment in our well-being, humanity would not have arrived at where it is today.
We do need a progressive culture of life, whereas family values, for example, have a true meaning... Not when the government or religion try to control a woman's reproductive choice, but during pregnancy and soon after birth mother & child are left to their own devices to survive! Not when women are treated as chattel and as vessels for procreation. On the contrary, it means pre-natal care, full health care coverage for mother & child; it means good educational opportunities for the children too.
Since societies became militaristic, women were relegated to the bottom of the social ladder and their duty & self-fulfillment was to be found by serving their husbands. This has to change fast. For goodness' sake, we've come a long way to the 21st century; at least we should bring all humanity to the present and not leave them in the past!
We hear about family values but we see little in the way of policy that actually promotes those conditions that enhance family life when it matters! Family values should mean a lower (to non-existent) infant mortality. Every minute a mother dies due to childbirth complications. Her children die of malaria and other preventable diseases. But, even before a woman becomes a mother, she can greatly benefit from formal education. An educated mother is less likely to totally depend on her husband, less likely to get AIDS (and more likely to be healthy), and less likely to have too many children.
Some of the conditions in the developing world are appalling. But, poverty, hunger, and preventable diseases are not strange to American mothers either. The US is a much better place than the Third Wold, but we do have the weakest social safety net among the advanced democratic countries! The indicators of the health of the nation tell the story... we're number 37 on the World Health Organization's list.
The bottom line is this: we honor motherhood by treating our mothers well. It makes sense, doesn't it? Better mothers & better conditions for motherhood and we all benefit. After all, we exist because we were the recipients of our mothers' nurturing and love. That's a smart culture of life, and good family values!
May 10, 2008
Happy Mother's Day!