May 12, 2006



The real Mother’s Day
by Jim Hightower

Mother's Day is a time when all moms should get breakfast in bed and some flowers, right? Sure — then all moms should gather up their families and head out for a peace rally to demand an end to the bloody war of lies that's slaughtering so many mother's sons and daughters in Iraq!

You won't learn it from today's crass commercializers of this annual celebration, but Mother's Day was not meant to be a rose-scented tribute to sweet, docile mom. Rather, it began as a bold cry by mothers for all mothers to rise up against war. In the 1860s, thousands of mothers were devastated by the brutal slaughter of the Civil War, and many dared to stand up (at a time when women could not even vote) to decry war in the name of motherhood — and to urge that all mothers become a force for peace.

The original Mother's Day Proclamation was penned in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe, the renowned author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Far from the singsong sweetness of a Hallmark card, this was a stark and ringing call for action: "Arise then, women of this day!" it began. "Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience."

In the spirit of this Julia Ward Howe's proclamation, a nationwide group called CodePink: Women for Peace will rally in Washington on this coming Mother's Day weekend. There'll be a 24-hour vigil in front of the White House, concerts, organizing sessions and readings from hundreds of poignant letters that mothers have written to Laura Bush, urging the First Mother to help stop the war in Iraq.

Over the long haul, CodePink is organizing to build the greatest gift a mother could get: a world without war. To join the effort, go to www.codepink4peace.org.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let’s Stop Beating Around the Bush, on sale from Viking Press. For more information, visit www.jimhightower.com


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