As families around the country celebrate the women in their lives this Sunday with gifts and dinners, I am reminded of the origins of Mother’s Day and how much we need that sentiment today. Women organized for peace, spoke out against war and grieved for every son that had been killed. Mother’s Work Day and Friendship Clubs took action by fighting poverty and unsanitary living conditions for poor women and children.
I do agree with Hillary Clinton that it is time that America elects a woman for President. But I want that President to reflect the values that are part of being a mom. Taking care of others and being compassionate, starting with our children. We need to make child care a universal right. We need to end hunger and poverty for all, but especially for children. We need to increase federal support for our school systems.
A mother is also a healer. That starts with joining the rest of the industrial world and providing health care to everyone, through a single payer improved Medicare for All program. It means solving international disputes through negotiations and a commitment to international law and human rights, not being the biggest bully in the sandbox.
As a mother and a physician, I am outraged that this presidential election has been reduced to a battle of the sexes. Donald Trump makes demeaning comments about female opponents, members of the press and women as a whole by his sexist rantings and ill-conceived statements on abortion and immigration.
His tirades have prompted Hillary Clinton to literally cash in on promoting a “Woman Card” to show that she stands for women’s rights, a gimmick that has brought over 2 million dollars into her already overstuffed war chest last month. What Hillary Clinton stands on is the Clinton legacy of demonizing poor women by repealing the main New Deal program for poor children, Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) and sending hundreds of thousands to “work” with inadequate child care or household support while they did meaningless tasks that offered no chance to lift them out of poverty through real job training.
The best welfare reform program would be full employment, with government as the employer of last resort, with a strong safety net with dignity for those unable to work or working by taking care of others.
What do my two major political rivals for the Presidency offer on this Mother’s Day 2016 to the over 18 million women living in poverty today, along with over 15 million of their children? Neither Clinton nor Trump are talking about a national initiative to eliminate poverty and hunger in the richest country in the world. In fact, their positions on war, climate and health care will contribute to the loss of life in our most vulnerable communities.
Clinton may be ticking off a list of female-friendly promises, like equal pay for equal work and reproductive rights, but we need to follow the money and how that influences what she takes action on. Bankrolled by Wall St. and Clinton Foundation money from countries who trample on women’s rights means the pressure of donations can take precedence over principles.
A Green New Deal that will both create millions of good paying jobs and stop climate change in its tracks by moving to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030. This is a comprehensive initiative that will improve the lives of women and children. It would ensure that everyone has access to clean water and air, affordable housing and other essential services.
Clinton and Trump are both playing the “Woman Card” but the women and children living in poverty are the losers either way. It is not about electing a woman to the White House for the first time but electing the woman who will take the lead in the political revolution to put people, planet and peace over profit.
Dr. Jill Stein is the presumptive Presidential nominee of the Green Party. While practicing medicine and raising her children, Dr. Stein helped to lead initiatives to fight environmental racism and injustice and to promote healthy communities. She is co-author of two widely praised reports, In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development (2000) and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging (2009)