Saturday, I scrolled numerous FB post and countless articles that cited an excerpt of a speech by our President. I am assuming reporters isolated these remarks from his speech to incite stay-at-home moms and the families that embrace this idea as a core value to rage. The President had been quoted as saying, “And sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make. So let’s make this happen. By the end of this decade, let’s enroll 6 million children in high-quality preschool, and let’s make sure that we are making America stronger.”
Watching repeated clips of this 28-second sound bite only incited me further. I spent different moments throughout the last several days carefully crafting a post in my head, a rebuttal. I was ready to actually blast and in my opinion cross a line by verbally accosting the President of the United States in print. Whew! I am glad I dialed my rage back a notch and did a little research.
I didn’t create my blog to become a political forum. I didn’t create it to join the political divide that continues to create a deep chasm in our country. I assume that through my posts, most people who read my thoughts would gather certain opinions about me. It wouldn’t be far-fetched if they concluded that I value God, my family, my marriage, my ability to be a stay-at-home mom, a good sense of humor, and honesty. I mean, after all isn’t honesty, even transparency in a conversation and in the situations around us an essential to everyday living? A key ingredient in our interactions that allows us to gain a certain level of comfort, even trust, in a person, company or idea?
I don’t want to speak to the complete integrity of our President or my beliefs on many of his policies. I can tell you that I do not pull the imaginary lever, push the button, or blot out the circle with his name next to it at election time. Even so, I am dismayed at the lack of honesty and shoddy reporting on this sound bite. During this speech at Rhode Island College, the President took an enormous amount of time building his point before and after the alleged offensive comment. I searched out reading the speech ready to be armed with information filled to blast the President. But it simply cannot be so. I could not find fault with his sound bite statement that was actually building his case for having better education for preschool age children and fair standards in the workplace for women.
I might not agree with his agendas on who women should and can be in the workplace, and he may very well devalue me as an American because I am an intelligent, vibrant woman who chooses to stay home daily and work within my home, but that was not the essence of this speech. In my opinion it was dealing more with the reality of what our workplaces, daycares and homes look like because we do have an America with legions of women working outside the home. It really was a speech aimed at supporting that fact in more concrete, viable ways. Again, I may not agree with him completely about how we make it better, but that’s not the point.
I wouldn’t begin to disparage these women. They have been my mother, my sister, my best friends and neighbors. They are hard-working women that for various personal reasons and circumstances have chosen both career and motherhood. And I simply don’t believe media, columnists, and fellow stay-at-home moms are doing women any favors as a group within the population by falsely raising our arms and pens to attack the President in this instance.
Let’s not do it, friends. Let’s not be labeled as lunatics who take every potshot possible to degrade the reputation of the President. If you are a stay-at-home mom, like myself, and hold your right to be closely to your heart, I understand and I stand in the daily trenches with you. But let’s not allow erroneous reporting to not only bombard our President but to annihilate and create an even deeper divide with women who do not make or have this choice. These women are not behind enemy lines.
No, I’m not the President’s biggest fan by a long shot. But I am not a fan of partial truth when it comes to reporting such an important issue. Actually, I want the whole truth in life. Just give it to me straight.
I am an American and I am a stay-at-home mom. And I don’t feel devalued by this sound bite when it is placed in the proper context of his entire speech. In the words of my former high school History teacher, Mrs. Hattie Suber, “It would behoove all Americans to copiously peruse this speech and give it serious meditation. We do not need to plant some erroneous statements to start a brouhaha.”
You can read the speech in its entirety here http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/31/remarks-president-women-and-economy-providence-ri