Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Out of the Short Dutiful Phone Call and into the Street!

As it happens, Mother’s Day did not originate as yet another day to pretend you maintain something resembling actual human relationships with the people you probably claim matter to you most by occasionally buying them cheap crap, dying daisies, and recycled sentiments extruded onto on pastel-soaked cardstock. I surely won’t have been the first one to have called your attention to this, but everybody needs to be reminded of it from time to time.

And so: Mother's Day in the United States first came into being in 1870, in Boston, through the publication of Julia Ward Howe's “Mother's Day Proclamation.” Howe's "Mother's Day" was a call to women to mobilize their unique power as women and as mothers for disarmament, reconciliation, and against militarism. In 1872 Howe went on to call for this pacifist women’s holiday to be observed each year across the nation.

Here, then, are the words of Howe’s original “Mother's Day Proclamation”:
Arise then... women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with 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.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God --
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

1 comment:

Robin Zebrowski said...

I actually had no idea what the origin of Mother's Day was.

This is really cool - I'm anti-holiday almost entirely, but this is one I can be happy to celebrate.