I’m off to Chicago today to spend two days with folks who belong to the National Legal Aid Defenders Association. These individuals work tirelessly to make sure every American can get legal aid, especially those most vulnerable among us. From there I will go to Las Vegas, where I will be with business, non-profit, foundation, and social service leaders, among others, who are part of an initiative to ensure that all children and families in Southern Nevada can live healthy and safe lives.
Within these two groups alone, I’m sure I will find moms who care deeply about children – not just their own children, but all children. Indeed, throughout my work I have met thousands of moms who have risen up to fight for vulnerable children and families. I have met caring moms in our Kellogg Foundation-supported work in Detroit, Battle Creek and Santa Fe. And I have found inspiring moms in our efforts with local United Ways and public broadcasting. I have been contacted by such moms via personal emails, phone calls, and when they come up to me to talk after speeches.
My point is this: I have seldom met a conservative mom or a liberal mom who do not hold similar aspirations for their children. When I close my eyes and listen to moms talk, I often cannot tell the difference between a wealthy mom and a poor mom. When I travel along our coasts, or through our nation’s heartland, I hear moms of all kinds speak about their children in similar ways.
Our country is facing tough challenges nowadays and kids are paying a hefty price. Too many kids still go to bed hungry at night. Too many kids still go to substandard schools. Too many kids don’t have adequate health care, while many of their health problems could have been prevented through a simple visit to a primary care doctor. Too many kids cannot afford to go to a four-year college, or a community college.
Now, I know Sarah Palin is out looking for donations to her PAC and votes for those candidates she has endorsed; she’s no different than any Democratic leader who seeks to position their cause and themselves. But rather than try to stoke an uprising of conservative moms, rather than spark a stampede of pink elephants, why not reach out across dividing lines and mobilize moms for a kids’ agenda that we all can agree on. Why not bring people together rather than divide them even more. This is the awakening we need.