Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Proclamation

Unlike many of the corporate "Hallmark Holidays" that Americans are abused by yearly (may Valentine's Day and its ilk forever be banished to the dustbin of history!) the origins of "Mother's Day" here in the U.S. was actually based on a more noble cause: an anti-war statement against the carnage of the American Civil War.

The following poem by Julia Ward Howe was written in 1870 as an early call to celebrate Mother's Day and asked that women take on more responsibility in shaping the politics of their country (given the current political landscape its as relevant as ever...):

Mother's Day Proclamation

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided 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 bosom of the 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 at 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.

--Julia Ward Howe (1870)

Happy Mother's Day!


Anonymous said...

Hey Den,

I read the info from was tired in the civil war era (through 1865), and is even more so today. This seems to be the battle between the idealists and the folks who reside in the real world. I could give you a plethora of examples, and will if tasked. I would like nothing more than a kumbaya experience with the rest of the world...but it isn't going to happen. Not in 1870, not now. Whether you realize it or not (it truly does not matter, because this has nothing to do with you OR your beliefs), you are a target, the same as me. The enemy does not care that you are more sympathetic than me...we are both Americans, and are the enemy. They do not care that you might reason for 5 seconds longer...they don't want to reason with you. You, me, Susan Sarandon, George Bush and Gen. Patreus are the same in their eyes...sorry. They don't care for any measure of sympathy, because that does not fit with their goal for the future. I share the same idealism, but I understand the human condition and its limitations. We do need to be prepared to effect the world we want to inhabit. The enemy has the same goal. They're winning, but we have potential. If you answer your phone I can get the details behind your thoughts! Check in soon...


Anonymous said...

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

John Stewart Mill