The MOM’s (Mothers of Means), have taken this world by storm, commanding and commandeering the message, steering us into those difficult, almost incomprehensible conversations as the entire planet’s population does the very best we can to ensure that our lives and our children’s lives get out from under these fiat-like dictates splintering communities and undermining individual freedoms: freedom of expression to freedom of health to the freedom to pursue financial security.
Philadelphian MOM, Alison McDowell, says openly in every interview she gives that she is lucky to be able to have the privilege and opportunity to share her knowledge of the child-ledger-system that is currently underway in all United States public and private schools. She is fiercely committed to making teachers and parents understand that the children all across the world are now invested in as commodities, or short sales, and with just the click of a button or a corporate report investors can invest in the failure, or success, of innocent lives of children. She has given hundreds of interviews and has provided thousands of hours of research and resources to illustrate and define this complicated topic.
San Franciscan native MOM, Naomi Wolf, has used her media platform to further the conversation. She makes no apologies for the privilege she’s been given, to demand the science behind the mandates that would require children experience the deep torture of being removed from their peers, pulled from that necessary interaction in school, which provides emotional and cognitive development, and asks over and over again “Where is the proof of claim that this health crisis would justify such extreme torturous measures.” In her latest interview with another MOM, San Franciscan Jennifer Sey, they use their position and their personal experiences in their past to illustrate the human rights violations occurring right under our noses. These two women of privilege have painful abuse stories that they’ve been willing to share publicly in the hopes it will give all women, of privilege or not, the courage to start asking questions and to pay closer attention to the long term (and possible irreversible) effects of the current torture techniques being done to the children of San Francisco every single day.
Tulsan MOM Julianne Romanello states plainly on her Facebook page, “After over a decade of happily being absent from Facebook, I’ve signed up in order to share the tragic story of the theft of the University of Tulsa. So I’m shamelessly adding friends and posting as much information as I can in the hopes that public consternation over this debacle might have some small impact. Thank you for reading.” Holding her own city’s anti-life dictates up as a way to signal what the rest of the country can expect, and using her professional experiences in academia as a teachable moment for all of us, she uncovers layer and after layer of what is being done in Tulsa to the detriment of the children and the derailment of the poor and the vulnerable in her local population.
There are of course hundreds more women that have influenced our work and our vision. There are just too many to name to put in a simple blog post.
Alison McDowell and Julianne Romanello inspired one of our more popular video essays “Lifelong Learning.”
Naomi Wolf taught us how to read a bill and inspired us to do one of our first video essays, which we published before the Age of Covid. It’s a haunting retrospective especially now, as we face the removal and cudgeling of common spaces we’ve all taken for granted: public parks, public gardens, theaters, event spaces, holiday events. Even tables and chairs and benches have been removed in downtown centers. Anything that would allow for communing with one another or appreciating nature has been yanked from us as if we are disobedient slaves.
MOM’s have been carrying water for all of us, not just other mothers. These Mothers of Means have shouldered much of the work and fiercely demand the conversation keep going. But I purposefully chose McDowell, Wolf and Romanello for a reason. They all come from very different backgrounds, ideologies and belief systems.
McDowell has educated herself on the topics she illustrates on her platform. She has deep ties to the earth, has a history in activism and even has leftist anarchistic tendencies. She tends to waive away politics, preferring instead the idea of communing with each other and nature in a horizontal connection. She started asking questions about programs her then grade-school child was being introduced to in Philadelphia and this led her to clearly see the web of impact financing wrapping its tentacles around the most vulnerable in society: children.
Wolf was given a meritocracy and opportunity that most in the liberal or managerial class use to further the class divide and put themselves into positions of influence or authority on mainstream platforms like NPR or New York Times. Instead, she uses her understanding of the complicated machinations of the political world, having first hand experience with it as a speech writer for Al Gore. She uses her platform to instruct on democracy and importance of holding elected officials feet to the fire. She wrote a best selling novel, the Beauty Myth, which was an inspiration to women around the world. Her 2007 piece Fascist America, in 10 Easy Steps was a warning shot for what we are living today: a closed society.
Romanello, unlike McDowell and Wolf, is conservative, a Catholic and has three young children. She could have used her position in academia to speak only to those in her congregation or appealing to the conservatives in our country. Instead she articulates her message so that it can be well received by liberals, leftists and conservatives alike.
Despite their differences these three women intersect in their singular mission: to demand better for the world and the inhabitants of the world.
Let’s not get lazy or too sentimental and think that because we don’t have the same means that the MOM’s have that we can’t do anything. Whether you are privileged or not, or whether you are a mother of means or not, the duty is on all of us to do more, be more, speak more, be more courageous and work alongside all women of all backgrounds to make our own unique imprint on the world.
We’re making history here. We have no choice.
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