Politics are one of those things that I don’t really talk about much. Religion? Sure, let’s start that conversation! Sex? An appropriate topic of occasion. But politics? Well, I get into politics with very few people. Because in this democracy, either you care about politics or you don’t. Either you are informed or you are ignorant. But, in my opinion, we all seem to take politics way too personally.
Take, for example, a conversation I found myself in yesterday. A coworker brought up the election that we are currently in. I suppose it seems like a safe topic for conversation. We’re all dealing with this election. These days, politics seems to be interchangeable with only the weather when it comes to small talk. My coworker promptly started sharing her opinion of a political leader that I myself have supported in the past. Her words did not simply put down the politician, but she insulted anyone who would vote for him too.
See, those conversations are why I avoid talking about politics.
So, it might seem odd that I am bringing this discussion here. But bear with me. You will soon find out that I actually want to say very little on the topic.
Despite supporting a certain political leader in the past, a leader that my colleague would never be caught dead supporting, the leaders this time around have left me feeling disenchanted. So I’ve decided to pay a little more attention to my local candidates.
As I’ve been driving around Dartmouth, I haven’t failed to noticed the spattering of campaign signs littering the roadways and the parks. I am constantly inundated in blues, reds and oranges (and to a lesser extent, greens). I’ve noticed names and I’ve noticed affiliations, but I, as of yet, know very little about these people.
Except for one.
There is one candidate who has shared a little more about herself on her campaign signs.
This is what I know about her.
She is a woman.
I have seen her picture.
She is running for the Conservative Party of Canada.
She is a teacher.
She is a volunteer.
She is a mother.
In fact, her role as mother is the first quality that is listed on her campaign signs. She seems to be running on a motherhood platform.
I was very interested in this decision to highlight the maternal role in an election campaign. What does this one word on election signs say about the candidate? What am I, as a voter, supposed to learn about her from this word?
I can say this much, I know nothing about her platform (considering that when I go to her website I am greeted with a blank screen. – 100 points!) but I am already drawn to her, which is strange because I am not looking for a maternal figure when I go into the voting booth. I am not hoping that she will comfort and coddle her way into being a member of parliament.
But, I feel connected to her.
As mothers, we are linked to one another. We have unique stories but we share experiences that bond us. We understand what it is to love a child and to nurture a family. We recognize the work that this takes. We know how important it is that family comes first.
Maybe that is why I feel partial to Wanda Webber. Maybe I’m hoping that this family first maternal mentality will work its way into government. Maybe that is why her signs include the word mother. She doesn’t need to unveil a Family Pack election promise to get me to understand that she will be working for Canadian and Dartmouth families.
She just needs to use that word.
A strong word.
A community word.
A family word.
A powerful word.
This one electoral candidate has taken this word and made it mean something for her.
So, I wonder, what does that word say about me?
Photo taken in March
**Please note that I am not advocating for any particular candidate or party. I recognize that the use of the word ‘mother’ in this campaign is a very deliberate decision. I am just very interested in this choice and on its effect on me.**
On second though…
While writing this, I was very aware that none of the other candidates could use this word in their campaigns because they are all men. But I believe that the word ‘father’ also carries strong, positive connotations, just as the word ‘mother’ does. What is interesting is that men rarely choose to identify publicly with this term.