I Remember Mama Voting

*crossposted at BlogHer.com

My mother has never been the most political person in our family. Pregnant with me at 18-years of age, her life was preoccupied with things like bassinets and receiving blankets instead of the economy and war.

However it was my mother who wrote the note to my high school principal on MY 18th birthday excusing me from class so I could go register to vote.

It was also my mother who encouraged me to get involved in anything and everything regardless of what our Catholic neighborhood shunned or what our relatives said.

She has always voted, but it has been this election that has her arguing back at my aunt who calls to rag on Democrats or my uncle who makes fun of the candidates. It is this election she rings me during the ABC debate to YELL about flagpins and other ‘really stupid’ questions.

I LOVE that my Mom calls to talk about the election much more vocally than she has EVER done. More importantly, she is CONFIDENT in what she says and debates.

Makes me proud.

My mother’s political influence has always been one of support for my beliefs and has turned into a dual education on policy and issues. Her political world has been expanded by mine, but I am reminded at how very different our 18th birthdays were-and how far we’ve come.

As part of ACORN’s ‘I Remember Mama Voting’ project BlogHers and others are weighing in this Mother’s Day.

Contributing Editor Kim Pearson writes, “But the most important political lessons were about my African legacy. She showed me South Africa, told me about apartheid, and said, ‘Always remember, we will never be free until South Africa is free.’ She introduced me to real Africans, made sure I read about the new countries emerging, and about their efforts to press their cause at the United Nations. All of this while we tracked each success and failure of the civil rights struggle, and talked about whether black women had any business getting involved in feminism.”

Contributing Editor Suzanne Reisman says, “My mom is not as involved in political causes as I am, but my family has always been Democrats surrounded by a Republican community. I just always knew that Republicans were not for us, although when I was older, I remember overhearing my father telling our neighbor a bizarre joke about my mom voting for Ronald Reagan because she thought Jimmy Carter had bad legs. I was utterly horrified at the thought. How could my mom vote for a Republican?!?! Fortunately, when I asked her about it, she had no idea what I was talking about, but it was my first exposure to the stereotypical notion that women don’t vote on the issues, but rather on a candidate’s attractiveness. I thought that was the dumbest thing any woman could do, and swore I would follow my mom’s example and always vote for the candidate who would help ‘the people.’ Thanks, Mom!”

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan writes, “I remember the first political discussion I ever had with my mother. We had been in a waiting room with many magazines, and I was too young to read any of them, but I did notice covers with horribly graphic photos of men at war. It happened to be towards the end of the Vietnam War, and I asked my mother, ‘Why is there war?’ She told me that people don’t want to be at war, the leaders of the countries make the wars. That was when I realized women were not in positions of political power. Then I said, ‘We should make women the leaders of all the countries in the world, and then there would never be any wars.’ My mother told me that sounded like a good idea, but it probably would never happen. My response was, ‘Then those men leaders who want a war, should fight it themselves.’ I didn’t understand then, and I still don’t understand today, how war solves any problems, neither does my mother.”

Rontun writes, “No, I don’t have any photographic evidence to prove that Satan’s inferno suddenly has been transformed into a winter wonderland, nor am I meaning to suggest that the threat of global warming has abated. But it’s evident to me that there has been a climate shift of cosmic proportions.

Let me explain. My mother, an octogenarian who’s voted Republican her entire life except in 1960 when she elected to support JFK because he shared her Roman Catholic faith, revealed to me on the telephone yesterday that she’s voting in Kentucky’s upcoming primary for Barack Obama!

This is no minor transformation, and it began as a direct consequence of the Bush administration’s war policies combined with the emergence in power of the evangelical community.”

L.K. Campbell says, “One of the biggest political arguments that I remember between Mama and Daddy happened during the 1972 presidential campaign. Daddy never voted for a Republican. If our German shepherd dog ran against the Republican incumbent, Lady would’ve gotten Daddy’s vote.
When he announced his intention to vote for George McGovern, Mama couldn’t believe it. Even though she was a registered Democrat, she was way too conservative to vote for McGovern.
‘You mean to tell me that you’re going to vote for that hippie-loving radical?’ she asked.”

Many of us in some way, shape, or form have been influenced by our mother’s or grandmother’s or stepmother’s or a friend’s mother’s political voice. Share your story this Mother’s Day-and don’t forget to vote.

Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest also blogs at Queen of Spain blog.


  1. Happy Mother’s Day!!! Thanks for linking to my post.


  2. My mother has always been more political than I am, but I’m coming into my own in this area (after almost 10 years of being able to vote) I’ve always voted, but know I haven’t always done enough to educate myself on the issues, so I’m working on that. My mother’s views strongly influence mine and we have great family political discussions when we’re all together – I love that we can do this and that my mom was the one to influence me so much – I hope to do the same for my daughter and son, of course.

  3. It is sad to me that growing up I was never exposed to politics. If I asked an innocent question, I was told it was “adult stuff”. Neither of my parents or step-parents voted.

    I still fight with my mom to this day about the fact that I expose my 12 year old to politics. Hell he even volunteered with me at the local Indiana for Obama office:)

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