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[crossposted at Democracy Cell Project and After Downing Street]

I was nominated for an award named after Maria Leavey this year.  I didn’t win, but that’s OK, because in reading about Maria, I recognized aspects of so many of the women (and some men) who work day after day to make a difference, including the lack of resources and reduced circumstances under which they toil.

So I made a video.  It's called "What Would Maria Do?" I made it because I want you to know about the women who create, write, speak, march, and who make a difference, no matter how small, and who inspire me to keep on keeping on.

At Kos, many of these women have been maligned and questioned, ignored and celebrated. I ask you all to note that as uncomfortable as some of the tactics these women use may make you feel, that good Moms do not always provide comfort. Sometimes they provide lessons.  

Women who have raised children understand a lot about how to motivate them to do the right thing, as opposed to the easy thing, or the self-serving thing.  Allow me, as a mom,  to share some insight into that process:

Johnny, age 8, tells Mom he can’t possibly clean up the mess he has made, because if he stopped now to clean up, he would not finish his game and then his friend Freddy would be disappointed. Besides, he tells me, he is winning, or will be soon...

Mom response:  "You have ten seconds to begin cleaning up.  9,  8,  7...."

Sally, age 14, tells Mom she does not have NEARLY enough clothes for summer and she needs a credit card to go to the Mall.  Besides, her friends all have credit cards and THEIR parents let them charge as much as they want...

Mom response: "And you will be getting a job in which store?"

The United States government, age (almost) 211, tells all the Moms that their sons and daughters are needed to fight a war, that the kids will be fighting for freedom and to protect our vulnerable borders, and besides, they will take good care of them upon their safe return from battle...

Mom response:  "WHAT noble cause???"


I live on Capitol Hill and have seen and been a part of many actions in which the clear message was delivered to Congress and the White House that the Iraq War is untenable and immoral, and must end NOW.  Women and men have come from all over the country and the world to deliver the memo, in Lafayette Park, on the National Mall, in the halls of Congress, in offices and hearing rooms.

Other related messages are delivered as well: Health Care for All, Save Darfur, Save the Planet, Stop Torture, etc.  Such critical feedback is part of good citizenry, just as critical feedback is essential for raising good citizens.  

And yet, women are so often criticized for getting in the faces of lawmakers and asking questions, speaking out, and letting folks know how most of the people in this country feel.  "Strident", we are called.  "Let the process work", we are told. "They have their reasons", we are reminded.

Mom response: "While I have breath in my body, I will speak up.  If not me, then who?"

Maria Leavey was not technically a Mom, but she knew how to get people off their butts doing the right thing.  She could make some calls; she knew some people, she could get the story out there...

I ask you all to process the lesson inherent in the song that accompanies the video: Phil Och’s "When I’m Gone," especially this verse:

And I won't be laughing at the lies when I'm gone
And I can't question how or when or why when I'm gone
Can't live proud enough to die when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here

What would Maria do?  She would be doing what she could, while she could. Which is what she did.  Now it’s our turn.  Are you ready to be effective?

Come to DC


Support the veterans speaking out

Originally posted to karendc on Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 05:07 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What a great tribute to all women (7+ / 0-)

    in this fight. Lets keep on keeping on cause there is nothing else to do. The war isn't going away just because we lay down our fight.

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 05:20:52 AM PDT

  •  Great video (5+ / 0-)

    I recognize some of those faces.  Lots of wonderful women, wonderful moms.  

    They should listen to us.

  •  Moms teach their kids right from wrong (5+ / 0-)

    when the kid messes up, there are consequences--usually not happy one.

    Moms teach kids not to lie, cheat, steal.  Maybe it's time for a time out.

    We as moms know that we have to keep pushing, giving time outs, listening to temper tantrums, but along the way we never stop teaching right from wrong.

    This why all of us keep speaking out agasint torture, the war, war profiteers, the media etc... It feels like we're dealing with a bunch of spoiled bullies and nonlistening teenagers.  Still...We need to keep pushing them to shape up or ship out.

    It's the right thing to do.

    (And looking at Dick Cheney and George Bush, you cans see the consequences of rotten momming.)

    Support truth tellers. Read Jesselyn Radack's The Canary in the CoalMine.

    by Silence is Complicity on Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 05:26:23 AM PDT

  •  Thanks (5+ / 0-)

    Great diary and video.  I'm afraid too many women have taken their eye off the ball in our country. We need to recognize our power and use it for good instead of staying on the treadmill and accepting the world the way it is.  Thanks for the reminder of what being a woman should be about.

    "The world breaks everyone, then some become strong in the broken places."


  •  Thanks, Karen, for the video and your words (4+ / 0-)

    A very moving way to start the day.  I am humbled by the works of women across the country who have sacrificed so much to speak up in our democracy.  

  •  speaking of momming---yesterday the headlines rea (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    karendc, nolies32fouettes, Lujane

    read how 'proud' the Republicans were of "Blocking the no-confidence' vote that the Democrats had put forth.

    Can we talk about accountability, shame, getting away with bad behavior?  Because if you exchange the "Republicans" for "Democrats" for what Gonzalez had done, would it make it right?

    This is what I'm saying.  When talking about government, we have to make sure that the 'kids' aren't getting away with things.  When did Congress become a school yard? When did politics become about little cliques and bullies?

    I don't really care if it has 'always been this way', what I care about is that I didn't take 20 years to build character in my kids, to teach them to be honest, fair, and loving, and to watch our government officials act like children.  

    Just yesterday, I was called 'Extreme' and I asked why?  I listed what I'd do if in gov't and the person changed his mind about me being extreme.

    I'm not extreme, but I believe Bush, Cheney, Gonzalez all need to be impeached.  Why?  Because they're criminals.  Because they lie.  Because they have caused the murder of innocent lives.  Because they're corrupt.  Because they put politics above the rule of law.

    That's not extreme.  That's being a mom.

    Support truth tellers. Read Jesselyn Radack's The Canary in the CoalMine.

    by Silence is Complicity on Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 05:47:24 AM PDT

  •  Come to DC (4+ / 0-)

    Kudos to Karen!  Moving and memorable.  Writing is good, faxing is good, but being there in the halls of congress is the BEST.  Join your sisters in DC!

  •  Thanks, Karen - great & powerful video (3+ / 0-)

    "Overcome anger by love, evil by good, the greedy by generosity, and the liar by truth." - Buddha

    by madame defarge on Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 06:10:09 AM PDT

  •  Beautiful tribute, Karen (4+ / 0-)

    I hope they use it at TBA!  I'm sorry you didn't win, but you are still my role model! This is a lovely tribute to the power of women, and the strength we share.  Nice to see all those familiar faces.

  •  UPDATE and message (3+ / 0-)

    from Tina Richards:

    Immediate Action is required: Join the Swarm from home.
    We are currently occupying Rahm Emanuel's office in DC and we need calls and faxs sent ASAP to demand the end of the occupation.  

    Washington D.C. office call 202-225-4061 or fax to 202-225-5603.

    Something you can do...

  •  Would you argue with a bitch? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And yet, women are so often criticized for getting in the faces of lawmakers and asking questions, speaking out, and letting folks know how most of the people in this country feel.  "Strident", we are called.  "Let the process work", we are told. "They have their reasons", we are reminded.

    And women are also called 'aggressive bitches' when they point out right from wrong, but if men say or do the same thing, they are praised for being just plainly assertive.  That's always amazed me, even though I've worked in positions where women were a novelty years ago.  To adapt and do my job well, I had to learn to act like a man, say and do the same things men did.  (Well, okay.  To be fair, it was law enforcement, and male or female, the officer had to be right or it might mean the end of someone's life.)

    Personally, I wouldn't argue with a snarling bitch defending her puppies, protecting them from harm.  She's only protecting the next generation of her own kind, trying to ensure a future for them.  Isn't that precisely what homo sapien women are trying to do nowadays?  Make sure our offspring (by birth or just because they're one of our own kind) have a future...?  (No one in their right mind would interfere with a female of any kind except in rare circumstances where a rabid bitch was devouring or harming her own or others, and then it would be only a rescue mission.)

    "Seems to me" that every four years or so male politicians wake up and realize women make up 51% of the world's population and just before election day they do something women approve of so they can get our votes.  That's condescending, and it treats women like teenage girls with a nanosecond attention span (and some fit the stereotype, I know that - so do some men, for that matter).

    Women politicians are now following suit, and like their male counterparts they're still kow-towing to the Bu$histas and their corporations and the religious reich and that mysterious thing called 'the middle' (who are the so-called 'people in the middle,' and didn't their parents teach them right from wrong, and why can't they make up their minds?), which doesn't bode well for women, children, men, or any other living thing on the planet.  It's utterly shameful that women have to become political whores to try to accomplish anything, and then become corrupted by the system they were elected to try to balance or even fix.

    "Let the process work" - we've tried the existing process and given it years to try to work.  Georgie and Dickie and their evil minions who have lied to us weekly, if not daily, are still in power because the men (majority in Congress, along with their women counterparts who have become political whores for corporations and the administration) have seen fit to leave them in power "for their own reasons" (and those reasons have never been explained, and I'm tired of senile old men symbolically patting us on the head like we're mentally challenged little children who don't understand how the world of politics works).

    War is wrong.  That's a given.  The war in Iraq is more wrong than most because the premises for the invasion were lies.  The only people who benefit are oil corporations and Halliburton and their ilk.  Under the Geneva Conventions the invasion of Iraq was an act of aggression against an innocent country, and therefore it is a war crime.  Torture and imprisoning innocent people at Gitmo (and wherever else rendition flights took prisoners) are also war crimes.  There are no middle shades of gray when it comes to these issues, this particular 'war of choice' based on lies to steal oil from the Iraqis, nor the torture and false imprisonment.

    What I do not understand is why our politicians (of both political parties) don't seem to get that, why they have not been howling for impeachment of people who are so obviously lying war criminals.  Georgie and Dickie give politicians of all stripes a bad name, but yet they are still in power.  Why?!?

    What is the benefit to both neoCons and Dems to leave Georgie and Dickie in power, especially since questionable legislation in the last seven years has now laid the groundwork for a "legal" fascist dictatorship...?

    It's up to the politicians of both sexes and both political parties to give us 'poor dumb animals' a logical explanation for why these war criminals are still in power and taking us over the edge into madness.

  •  You Go Girl! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    karendc, nolies32fouettes

    ...As an activist for people in poverty I know most of our empowerment comes with active women of all creeds, economic levels,gay, straight, and every race.  I LOVE them all!

    One idea I have is for all concerned women to join in a national movement to wear a head scarf for a day in solidarity with our Muslim sisters. Because these women bravely wear theirs every day and this could be a way to join with them against the war as well as show solidarity for religious tolerance.    

    BTW, the line is busy and I will continue to try to call.  Keep it up Ladies!  

    Cat In Seattle

  •  Karen's Diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    karendc, Silence is Complicity

    What a truly outstanding tribute to women everywhere who are working to save this country. And the lovely men who help them.

    Brings back so many memories... Makes me miss you all terribly.

    "Politics has become very hostile, but we CAN do more."

    by Polly Sigh on Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 09:21:45 AM PDT

  •  The video is missing someone, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    karendc, Silence is Complicity

    YOU. Sorry that you didn't win the award, but to many of us out here in the blogosphere you have inspired and made us ( 'just a Mom' trying to make this country right for our kids and grandkids) activists for life. A big hug to you.

    NGU !


  •  Many kudos to you... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silence is Complicity

    I am thankful for the maternal force that is awakening to stir the pot in our nation's capitol and across America!

    My own dedication to Bush/Cheney Inc. Listen to WMD: Words of Mis-Direction

    by NewWay4NewDay on Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 06:01:12 PM PDT

  •  Do moms have the time to be political? They must. (0+ / 0-)

    The little voice inside too many moms tells them to take care of everyone...make the appointments, make lunches, buy the birthday presents, organize the car pool.  When is there time for a mom to be an activist? That is the dilemma of the Mom-Who-Would-Be-Political.  So...will your kids remember all that tidy stuff you did?  NO! They will remember how you helped them see the world, how you spoke up for justice,  how you cared enough to vote FIRST, and vaccumn only if there was time... not the other way around...

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