Who’s Your Momma? Is That What Really Ails US?
I am constantly reminded how the US has no mommy. It’s all about daddy here who would rather take the kid to go hunting or shoot off rockets than scold him for not doing his homework or ‘clean your plate, wash your hands, don’t lie’.
Think about it. We’ve never had a mommy to do this. The church and the press has acted like that for
much of our history, but when there’s a chance to make lots of money or go fight a war, we always ignored her anyway.
Oprah’s not our mommy, nor is Hillary. Martha Stewart? Nope.
Britain may be the example that proves the rule. Victoria and Elizabeth so overshadowed the British for the 18-1900’s. In her case, she IS the state and once was esteemed everything maternal values would stand for.
Russia has them in her history, Germany too. Italy, Spain, France all still have some form of a Mary figure, still an amazing figure and they all at least have sense enough to have state healthcare.
I’m not saying this as a lark or a joke. It’s rather serious and getting worse all the time.
Glenn Beck seriously needs his mommy.
But in at least three big ways have I seen this maternal role being played out in our American history:
One) In Churchly community-oriented models and methods, the way many hospitals used to be
Two) the culture of the university — one that used to teach distinctions like between self-interest and enlightened self-interest as some might point out or even scientific rigor and which now measures most things in a strict cost-benefit analysis — which no longer has a collective understanding of what is meant when it’s graduates are asked ‘Where did you matriculate?’ Of course, Matriculation has been replaced with a superior sleaker, business friendly model that works students like the products and strict resource producing assets they are. So long as they pay.
Three )the media in her watchdog capacity, with a history of popularizing things like abolition, even actions against Tamany Hall, or those efforts for Abstinence, for Prohibition, Suffrage, later the growth of Labor Unions and so on.
In short, the Nanny Culture, though folks will hate the term. We don’t have it. Absent.
Oprah may have seen this best and maybe did her best. Made a lot of money by … comforting people.
But the country hasn’t had even a surrogate, besides television since … I don’t know when.
Not Elanor Roosevelt though she was probably the last nation-wide descendant of that set of cultural waves borne out of Suffrage, out of Prohibition rallies and so on. And sorry, not Ayn Rand.
Nobody to tell us to wash our hands, wash our mouth out, or even ‘don’t take your guns to town’
Amen, pass the ammunition!
This is no indictment either of half the population. Not at all. In fact, it is the cue I see taken by many amazing women all over the country and all over the world standing up and saying what’s on their minds, pointing out what’s so often very wrong that I see so much real hope of what there is in what we can be as well as in what’s out there. I know Europeans who love Rachel Maddow for example or think Elizabeth Warren could act as a popular and thereby even necesary corrective to what ails so much of American CW about just the economy. And just for the record I think Nancy Pelosi has done a wonderful job, despite what many may say. As the first Madame Speaker she deserves a lot of credit for keeping her steel in the toxic political environment after 2006. So, despite what I may disagree with and often in policy, Yay Nancy!
And y’know, Jon Stewart has a mommy and it shows.
The Right is building one too or is she self-grooming already? Gosh how fast they grow up.
Even Silvio Berlusconi is instructive here. Back in November, I pointed out — Thursday’s scoop as it turned out — reported by NPR has him saying he likes beautiful women. But I didn’t think that he respected them so much as had shown a pattern of acting like he would simply own them or perhaps, even more important to him, to then own ‘the story’. This one story seems to have snagged the towering Berlusconi in a way that won’t let go. Hence so much trouble. Ahh, he’s a politician so he means the opposite of what he says. Bet he didn’t learn that from his momma.
The examples come up every day. Might this not be a handy way to point out the excesses we are daily being subject to? In every field it seems where economics, politics and power reveals their tendencies?
Does the US need someone to come on and remind us every day not to lie, cheat or steal and the last few words of the Pledge of Allegiance “… with liberty and justice for all” ? Like right before Fox-n-Frenz? Really?