For years I’ve marked this day by sharing Julia Ward Howe’s stirring Mother’s Day Proclamation, today I was stopped by a Facebook post
that made me laugh out loud:
“If your mother says all she wants for Mothers Day is love,
She really wants Trump impeached”
In light of today’s happenings, I’m rethinking my almost reflexive disdain for the bouquet-trimmed smarmization of Mother’s Day. There’s the old primal story: the ability to bring life into being has captivated human imagination since its beginning. Ivory, stone, antlers, bone and clay have been fashioned into female forms emphasizing woman’s reproductive abilities for some 30,000 to 40,000 years.
Now, instead of awareness and awe of this power, there’s brunch. Instead of respect or reverence, send a card, order flowers and call it good.
Women today face a strange balance, trying to reconcile our unique capabilities, while few recognize that being a woman extends beyond motherhood. We struggle with rage and fear, trying to stay openhearted as we see women controlled or reviled, objectified or imprisoned, trafficked or treated like meat, like property, made into a trophy or a target.
Our abilities, our nature, our strengths involve so much more than giving birth.
It seems crucial to call on these neglected capacities while our country struggles with a greedy, thrice married, adulterous pussy-grabber-in-chief whose relationships with the women in his life are disturbingly far from normal.
What most women want, deep in their heart of hearts, is something we’re often reluctant to ask for: a better world. A world where all children can be safe and healthy and happy. Where a woman can walk down a street and not feel threatened. Where the air and water are clean and healthful food is available. Where no one fears for the future.
Though we may differ on how to achieve that world, the gift I’d like is for all women to remember that a better world is still possible.
Let’s recall the power of that colossus, Lady Liberty, whose torch is designed to enlighten the world. May we rekindle the passion our foremother Julia Ward Howe gave us all:
The First Mother’s Day Proclamation
Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly: We will not have questions answered by
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.
" From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God .
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
-- Julia Ward Howe, 1870