In the Name of Womanhood and Humanity

By David Swanson

Imagine that tomorrow you begin to feel ill and rush to the hospital where you are eventually diagnosed with a horribly debilitating and probably incurable disease. Within a week your body and mind have deteriorated drastically. You cannot dress yourself. You have difficulty getting out of a chair or walking at all. You have no control over your bowels. You literally lack the sense to come in out of the rain or not wander into traffic. You are a danger to yourself and require a fulltime caregiver, one or more people of infinite patience and devotion who can turn their own lives into the handling of your life 24-7. And what if there is nobody who can do that for you? What if you are on your own?

And then what if there is someone, a single person, who can do everything you require and more, and be grateful for the opportunity to do it, do it with joy and love, and slowly and magically restore your faculties so that over a period of five to ten years you gradually regain your mental and physical abilities? What would your gratitude be to such a person? Would it be measurable?

Most of us began life in such a situation, and our mothers — with a lot of help from our fathers — provided just this unfathomably devoted service, and then some. What we owe them is infinite.

But now imagine the point of view of the 24-7 loving caregiver, educator, counselor, parent. A mother’s life is poured into a child’s life drop by drop, leaving behind in the mother no regret, no resentment, but ever increasing love and adoration. What would be the attitude of a mother, then, to the idea of shipping her child off to kill and be killed in a foreign land for the amusement and enrichment of a handful of wealthy fools without the heart of an insect? Resistance, yes, but also horror, and incomprehension, rage, fury, desperation, and despair.

Mother’s Day was created not so that we could be grateful to our mothers (and buy them plastic crap and pre-written notes) but so that mothers could engage with the world as an organized force of mothers, placing a greater value on human life than someone might who had never raised a human child. Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation reads in part:

“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
“All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
“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.”

It is in this spirit that CODE PINK: Women for Peace has organized a 24-hour vigil in front of the White House on Mother’s Day. It is in this spirit that every day should be mother’s day, every day father’s day, every day a day of preserving and protecting the most precious little creatures we have ever cared for or anyone else has cared for.

Every single day on which we read a number, the number of people killed by our latest bombing in Afghanistan or Pakistan, we should picture that number as a gathering of people, and we should picture each of those people’s mothers. And we should be deeply ashamed with the bottomless shame of a mother who has failed her own child. And we should act, together, nonviolently, lovingly, with such intensity that the war makers suddenly sense themselves interlopers who have accidentally stepped between a mother bear and her cub.

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