Friday, April 13, 2012

Note to Mitt & Ann: STOP Trying to Relate - Because You Don't

Ann Romney Plays Pretend 

Before I begin, I would like to take a moment to tell you about a few mothers that I know....

My own mother worked while she was pregnant with me. She gave birth and returned to work, only to realize that she was contributing a deficit to our household -- the child care bill for me on a weekly basis cost more than the small salary she brought home. For a majority of my childhood, my mother was a semi stay-at- home mom. Not because it was the cool thing to do or because she could, but because it was the most economical option for our family. She didn’t just stay home and watch us or act as the overzealous PTA mom. My mother put her brain power to work, and did what she had to do to bring in any extra income, so my father wouldn’t have the entire burden on his shoulders. 

One of my closest girlfriends was a stay-at-home mother for the first five-years of her daughters life. She had just finished her undergraduate degree and was recently accepted into a graduate program when she gave birth to her daughter. She didn't have a choice in the matter. Childcare, food and shelter just were not compatible. So she stayed home to pursue an option that today has afforded her a better life.

Lastly, another close friend from my inner circle is a single working mother of one. She also attends school and does so -- because she doesn't have a choice. 

What connects these women, is their work ethic, strength, passion and willingness to make personal sacrifice to do whatever is necessary to take care of their children and families. 

In my everyday non blogger life, I am surrounded by the most amazing and accomplished people. Most days I am just in awe of their talents and I always watch and listen to their approach and handling of various situations. I write things down and often take mental notes. I am not a leader as yet, but I consider myself to be someone with a strong potential for leadership. 

In 2008, when the world met Mrs. Michelle Obama there was something captivating about her that made you want to know more about her. Michelle had a way about her that made you feel connected to her. For me, I feel like Michelle would understand me as person. She and I could sit for hours and swap saggas and she would be able to say "hey, that happened to me too, this is what I did and this is what you should do." In 2008 we could see that Michelle Obama had a strong potential for leadership - we could see First Lady qualities in her. 

Mitt and Ann Romney have this compulsion to make themselves seem relatable to the average American and it's failing them. People have genuine concerns about his ability to connect with Americans across all walks of life. I don't understand why he continues to miss the mark on this and not course correct. Recently, the Republican Party as a whole has seen a dramatic drop in support from women voters. Most of this is because of the party's concerted attacks on women over the last four years, and the inability of the Primary Election candidates to grab on to the common issues that plague women. Mitt Romney in his attempt to calm the waters, has recently told supporters on his campaign speeches that he understands the economic struggles of women because his wife understands them and advises him. [Side Note: With comments like this Candidate Romney has made the choice to put his wife into the race. No one else did that.]

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo playerIn a recent interview on CNN with Anderson Cooper, Hillary Rosen  stepped in and shot down Romney's remarks. Rosen said "Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life." Guess what America, Hillary is right! Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life. Let's break this down! The original context in which Mitt Romney was speaking was regarding the economic struggles of women, women who have to leave their house and punch a clock to put food on the table -- those women. Ann thought it was appropriate to respond to Hillary's comments by setting up a Twitter account and posted this: "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work." [I had to shake my head here. How cliche.]

After putting some considerable thought into this overnight and listening to Shady_Grady's thoughts, I will say that Hillary should have been more careful with her words. We are in the thick of things where the words and actions of both parties will be watched closely and dissected at a moment's notice. 

[I will attempt to write this next section without any curse words - wish me luck]

I really, really, really, can't go another election season with people playing pretend and acting aloof and oblivious to what people are ACTUALLY referencing, when they speak. I just can't do it! Here is the problem that I have. Ann Romney has played pretend here and I find it insulting and offensive. I expect more from her and this was a moment for her to show us that she has the leadership potential to be a future US First Lady. Here is what I would have wanted to hear from Ann:

"I can understand why Hillary and others may feels this way; I am in a unique situation that is not afforded to all women. I wish Mitt and I were fortunate enough to be in a situation where we sustained our family on one income and this allowed me to take the role of a stay-at-home mother. However, believe me, if we were not in our situation, I would have been out there just like most American women, working and balancing motherhood.  It was hard work raising my children and taking care of my family all those years and I want all women to understand that though our circumstances are different, we are all united by our work ethic and constant dedication to care for our families."                                                              

Mrs. Romney has to know that there is a major difference between making the choice to NOT work and staying home to take care of your family versus not having a choice. She also has to know that her situation is very unique and one not afforded to most women. She has to know that the women I know and described above do exist. What is most frustrating to me is that she does know these things. Ann Romney is playing pretend and tossing pixy dust in the air. In typical "I don't care about anyone but myself" fashion, Ann and Mitt have taken a position to brush under the rug the normal lives of Americans and attempt to replace it with their own circumstance, then pretend that their way of life is the way of life for all Americans. 

Ann Romney knew exactly what Hillary Rosen was referring to, as did all the talking heads who've jumped on this in an attempt to sensationalize and label Democrats as anti-non working mothers. 

[Whew! I made it through. I'll save my anger for the comments]

Sound off...............

1. Was Hillary Rosen speaking dismissively of all STAY-at-HOME mothers?
2. Is Ann Romney truly aware of the various lives of women across the country?
3. Do you think that Ann Romney can appropriately counsel her husband on the economic issues of women?
4. Are you offended by the remarks of Hillary or Ann?
5. How do you see this incident playing into the general election?

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