‘Rage moms’ unite
Politicians actively courted the “soccer mom” vote in the 1990s all while I languished obliviously somewhere between recovering mediocre adolescent suburban agitator and imperious, impervious young adult. Likewise, I failed to identify with the “security moms” of the early 2000 elections and 2008’s “hockey moms,” all of whom seemed separated from me if not by an entire generation, then by my distinct antipathy for both pitbulls and lipstick. The 2020 “rage mom,” though? C’est moi.
A recent New York Times piece describes the inadvertent “It” girls of this year’s presidential contest as having been “built on the anger of women who find themselves constantly — and indefinitely — expected to be teacher, caregiver, employee and parent.” If this week’s Aspen School District Board of Education meeting was any indication, on the ballot Nov. 3 will be Donald Trump, Joe Biden, invisible labor and unpaid child care (and, because apparently this year hasn’t been 2020 enough already, Kanye West).
The Aspen public schools’ reopening plans presented Monday were infused with an abundance of thoughtfulness and caution, with no small amount of imperfection sprinkled throughout. Anxiety bubbled up in the crowded comment section of the public Zoom meeting, including via subversive character attacks on teachers and parents, and impassioned pleas from all sides for more robust learning and basic empathy.
Glaringly absent from the three-plus hour school board meeting was an agenda item presumably not up for discussion since the facts are demonstrable. The catastrophic federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic is emblematic of a broad disregard for most people who are not white men.
(If you argue children are being spared the worst of the coronavirus by discounting the adverse effects on their mental health and emotional and intellectual development, know that you are a flaming turd who adds fuel to the fire burning inside of rage moms.)
It’s not just the Aspen schools that, despite months of careful planning and preparing, are reopening on a wing and a prayer. Without the existence of a cohesive and robust national testing strategy, there exists no consistent way for teachers and students to once again gather safely in person. By failing to provide access to quick, affordable, reliable and frequent testing, the Trump administration has thumbed its nose at children, teachers, their families, lives, livelihoods and the economy. In other words, the whole country.
Rage moms aren’t single-issue voters. They’re allowed to care about keeping kids COVID-19-free and educated even while wanting their 401(k)s to boom and AK-47s to be well-regulated. They can let moss grow on their stadium seats because they’d never not stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Rage moms know that genuine patriotism comes from the top, bottom and all the other places in between. Love of country is not an abstract concept embroidered into a flag or slapped on a bumper sticker but rather a duty that requires choosing hard work and people over politics and profit.
Rage moms don’t need to smile more or feel less. We’re not bitter about indentured servitude; most of us cherish our kids (most of the time). God didn’t only give us what we could handle. This isn’t all happening for a reason. It isn’t just what it is.
We’re over here working, wiping, worrying, feeding, shopping, teaching, scrimping, saving, cooking, cleaning, planning, picking up the pieces, worrying some more, improvising, starving, not sleeping, schlepping, overeating, stretching, hiding, panicking, sacrificing, crying, screaming, laughing, eking by, and often simply not making do. It may all work out in the end, but only because It has a name, which is usually Mom.
Since March 2020 the United States has endured the equivalent of more than 60 consecutive September 11ths, a fact that should leave you breathless, especially when you consider why so little has been said of those who’ve been lost. Rage moms will be there to start performing CPR on Nov. 3.
Compassion is love. COVID-19 testing is love. Ensuring kids get to and from school safely and can thrive without catching or spreading a deadly virus is love. Supporting teachers, families and communities by adequately acknowledging and addressing inequalities in health and child care? Yep, love.
As U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington tweeted Monday: “Rage moms, nanas, and parents across the country want COVID-19 relief, a functioning post office, racial justice, and a brighter future for our families. And you can bet we’re going to fight for them.”
More at MeredithCarroll.com and on Twitter @MCCarroll.
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