Mothers are in the mix. FINALLY. A major party nominee has broken the virtual "cone of silence" on the very real, shared motherhood issues that women in our nation face each and every day, proving there is indeed strength in the message that families need to be valued.
Not only was this the right thing to do, it's smart strategy because more than 50% of the electorate are women, and 81% of women in our nation have children by the time they are forty-four years old. Moms pack a powerful political punch.
In fact, there over 83 million moms in our nation, and frankly, many are struggling. With a full quarter of U.S. families who have children under age six now living in poverty, a child being born every 41 seconds without healthcare, and a steep motherhood wage hit which lasts a lifetime (moms make 73 cents to a man's dollar, single moms make about 60 cents), moms are justifiably worried about their families and ready for a candidate who takes these issues head on.
Senator Obama stepped up to the plate and addressed these issues directly tonight while accepting the nomination of the Democratic Party in Denver. He spoke to the need for healthcare coverage for all, for fair wages, for paid family leave after the birth of a new child, for paid sick days, for early learning support, and for making sure there are safe non-toxic toys.
He spoke for women like Selena who had her baby on a Thursday but was back at her desk the next Monday morning while her newborn son remained in intensive care because she didn't have any paid family leave. He spoke for women like Sharon whose husband had three jobs at the same time, but her family still went bankrupt due to the medical costs of her son's chronic illness. He spoke for Lily Ledbetter who was paid less than her male counterparts for the same job, with the same experience, for over a decade and is fighting for fair pay today. He spoke for his single mother, his wife, and his daughters.
Senator Obama talked about his grandmother being passed over for promotions because she was a woman, about his mother fighting for healthcare coverage when she had cancer, and about the need for people to be able to take a day off to take care for a sick child.
He talked about "having families to protect" in our nation, and I'm pretty sure his definition of protection meant more than buying extra bombs.
These issues were covered in the context of other national and world issues, as they should be. Bravo for putting them in the spotlight.
Stay tuned for the Sen. McCain speech at the Republican convention next week. Even if you've already picked your candidate, comparing how they speak to the issues of mothers and families at http://www.momsrising.org can be enlightening. After all, we all have mothers.
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