A mother’s response to MoveOn.org

MoveOn.org has started running this advertisement in the Milwaukee market:

I had heard about it earlier today, but had not seen it for myself until this evening. As you saw, my response was immediate and angry.

As a mother to two sons – one of which was my first – aged 20 and 22, I’m here to tell MoveOn.org that it’s not that mother’s choice whether her child chooses to join in the defense of this country. “Alex” will get to choose for himself.

My response as a mother to the thought of my sons at war is exactly what is stated in that ad. But as a political advertisement, this is a miss in so many ways. What makes MoveOn think their little actress is so special? I guarantee without hesitation that every mother suffers as her son leaves to serve. Even more, MoveOn.org’s ad trivializes every loss of life a mother has suffered.

I wrote a month ago how easy it is to assume that someone else’s son will be called. I have one son that would be there now except for a medical condition. The other has made it clear that we would never dodge a draft. They both have friends in service now. And those young men have mothers who would rather have them home.

Roberta McCain sent several sons to war. Cindy McCain sent one, as well. Surely you sense the point I’m making.

So MoveOn.org – my original response does stand, just in case you are reading.


  1. Anonymous says:

    This mother has no right to choose for her innocent, defenseless child….and using him in that regard is just pure wrong. Let him make his own choices when he is ready. It is so not the point of what this woman’s circumstances are, where she came from or where she is at in her life right now. This ad is about as ridiculous as those who place picket signs for or against abortion in their child’s hands while they are yet sucking their thumbs or clinging to the baby stroller.

  2. Lucky Lady says:

    It’s interesting how abortion victims get no say in their survival before birth, but once the survivors reach the age of 18, they can’t decide for themselves if they want to serve their country? At least that’s how Democrats see it.

  3. She didn’t say he couldn’t serve his country. She said you couldn’t have him for a 100 year boondoggle in Iraq.

    The only thing that the Iraq War is serving is the pocketbooks of the military-industrial complex, and that my friends is a disservice to our troops.

  4. That wasn’t the point being made.

  5. The point being made is that a mother has the right to choose for her child yet again. But since that point doesn’t fit your agenda, you twisted it into something else.

    Same crap, new day.

  6. No, the point was, “if you plan on being in Iraq for 100 years, you can’t count on my now-infant son to sign up for your war.”

    It was a mother protecting her son’s future. Of course she can’t control whether or not he grows up and decides to join the military.

    Same crappy spin, new day.

  7. Shawn, her words are “you can’ t have him, ” not “you can’t count on my now-infant son to sign up for your war.”

    My argument is that when the child is grown, a mother really doesn’t get to make that choice.

    Your argument is whatever the Daily KOS is spitting for the day.

  8. Kathryn says:

    You’re all wrong. It isn’t about who gets to sign up. The point is that women (parents) have hopes for their children that don’t include war–the same stuff that leaves us crying on our hymnals when some little boy we knew turns up in uniform and we wonder what kind of hell he’s been through in the last 18 months.

    That emotional response is the point. The take away is individual and self-scripted–very clever, actually.

  9. Fine, if you call gross manipulation of America’s youth clever.

    So Ms. Middle Ground, where would your son go?

  10. By and large, America’s youth are the most vehement opposition to Iraq.

    It is America’s servicemen who have been manipulated. Stop-loss, extended tours of duty, a war based on false intelligence and political platitudes, horrible health and human services for returning and wounded veterans, crumbling hospitals, bad armor. The list goes on.

    But as long as we wave that flag, we are supporting our troops!

    Under the “leadership” of the past 8 years, we’ve seen our troops suffer in ways you can’t imagine, and seemingly don’t appreciate from your desk chair.

    Cindy, you’ve been on quite a streak–making pithy retorts, but never actually addressing the issues. That’s your choice. But it shows how much you are plugged into conventional wisdom and talking points. That’s your choice, too.

  11. Not addressing the issue? Shawn, I poured my heart into this post. You simply don’t respect my opinion. And that leaves me plenty of room to reject yours.

    Don’t you have your own blog to blabber this “my country sucks” routine?

  12. Kathryn says:

    Gross manipulation of America’s youth–I’m not sure I follow.

    This ad is like the old mushroom cloud ad, except instead of asking who can best defend us from the communists, it asks who is most likely to squander young lives (my own interpretation, naturally.)

    Your take-away was different, but I bet you were reacting to similar emotions; as you said, mothers would rather have their sons at home. Regardless, you and I are being targeted, not the youth vote (unless you mean young parents–even then, 18 seems like forever away at that stage.)

  13. And Kathryn, you didn’t answer my question.

  14. Kathryn says:

    Are you manipulating me now?

  15. No. I asked you a hard question, mother to mother, knowing that you like to play the middle, I stick to the right, and we both have sons.

    I say my sons make the decision to enter active duty, not me – and not that mom on the tape. What do you think about your son? Is it his decision or yours at 18?

  16. Cindy, you didn’t respond to my claims as I responded to yours. That’s what I was getting at. Somehow you always find a way to misinterpret my comment and not answer it.

  17. Shawn, what claims? My post was original and my response to the ad. You took the discussion back to rhetoric.

    If you have original unique claims, pop them on your blog and see what people think.

  18. Kathryn says:

    It’s his decision, obviously–barring a draft. It sure wouldn’t be my first choice for a career, but after a point I can only influence. How is this a left/right issue?

    I don’t so much like to play the middle as I like to acknowledge possibilities apart from the rhetorical straight jacket. Americans like to make much of our political differences, but nobody gets rounded up or shot after the election, and most of us prefer it this way.

  19. I’m a full-time American now, not a full-time pundit.

  20. In the time you’ve spent here, Shawn, you could have crafted and posted your own response to the ad. I don’t mind you showing up now and then, but for goodness sake don’t pout when I reject your opinion.

  21. Kathryn, it’s not left/right. I said you hung out in the middle. It’s a mommy issue. We’d all dislike sending our sons to war.

    The ad sought to manipulate the emotions of women. It drew a pronounced response. I am unwilling to forgive the organizations that trivialize the pain of war with a 20-year-old blond and a bouncing baby.

  22. Cindy, you’re wasting your time trying to get any reasonable response from the pacifists in our midst. The contention that the youth are”the most vehement opposition to Iraq” seems to ring hollow when they are the ones volunteering to save the future for the witless cowards who would rather surrender than fight. Our liberal buddy has gotten arrogantly feisty lately but he’s still the same little twerp in my opinion!

  23. Oh, Grant. I’ll be signing off on this topic for now. You guys wrap it up.

  24. Arrogant? That’s another one of those words people throw around when they want to really hurt someone’s feelings. And when they don’t know what it actually means.

    For myself, I haven’t “exaggerated my own self-worth.” In fact, I happen to be self-deprecating more than arrogant these days.

    But then again, I am a result of our public schools. With the little kiddies who are coming up through our public schools who are going to be dumb as a bag of rocks because they are chained to a hopeless liberal bureaucracy, right?

    Those kids signing up for the military? Yeah, enrollment rates are at historic lows. Most kids do it because they believe they will be taken care of–but they are abused. That’s wrong, and Grant Tommy, you are wrong too.

  25. Shawn, I can agree with Grant on arrogant. Sarcasm and quick hits is not self depreciating, it is telling that you actually catagorize is as non arrogance.

    Lately you are quick to be sarcastic, or you throw the kitchen sink in with your ramble. Your posts read like a rip off of DailyKos and TalkingPoints.com.

    I appreciated the breath of fresh air in Brookfield, but it has not been very “fresh” for awhile.

  26. I guess i’ve sprung a leak then.

  27. Agreed