Mom is everywhere and everything and damned near everybody, and from her depends all the rest of the U. S. 

“Momism,” in definitions:

  1. “Excessive attachment to or domination by one's mother.” (Oxford Dictionary.)

  2. “A cliché or proverbial statement deemed typical of what a mother would say to a child.” (Wikipedia.)

  3. “Things that your mom tells you that can be considered wise, but most of the time you just do whatever you feel like and the one time she's right, you will never hear the end of it.” (Urban Dictionary.)

  4. A conspiracy by inordinately powerful women, most of whom have terrible politics, all of whom should be dead, to ruin American political life for everyone else.

That last definition comes from the 1942 bestseller A Generation of Vipers, written by extremely Mad Dude Philip Wylie, whose only regret in life was dying before the invention of Reddit. (I assume.) He’s the one I quoted up top.

According to Wylie, modern medicine had cursed the nation with an ever-growing number of women who refused to die while they were still hot — “every clattering prickamette in the republic survives for an incredible number of years, to stamp and jibber in the midst of man, a noisy neuter by natural default or a scientific gelding sustained by science.” Worse, Moms tried to participate in civic life, through neighborhood organizing, advocating their causes in public forums, and (shudder) voting: “Mom's first gracious presence at the ballot-box was roughly concomitant with the start toward a new all-time low in political scurviness, hoodlumism, gangsterism, labor strife, monopolistic thuggery, moral degeneration, civic corruption, smuggling, bribery, theft, murder, homosexuality, drunkenness, financial depression, chaos and war. Note that.”

1942 is long over, and Wylie still sounds like half the guys in my Twitter mentions. So this is a letter about momism. All the different kinds, actually. It is about my life, which is suddenly much more ordinary than I had planned — married, raising a toddler, in a small Rust Belt city north of NYC — and about the private, unpaid labor of holding a life together, which women do by the millions, and are told to keep quiet about lest they seem ungrateful. It is about how politics reaches into that life, and impacts it, and what I do to impact politics right back. It is about our ongoing fear of female power, and how even now, when women supposedly have more power than ever, the world works to suppress women’s voices and strip their rights.

A few notes on the proceedings: Updates are intermittent rather than regularly scheduled — when there’s an urgent reaction to share or just when there’s time to talk.

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Wylie was more right than he knew: Mom is everywhere. Mom is part of everything. Mom is damn near everybody, or half of everybody, at least. The country depends on her more than they know.

We owe it to her to let her speak.

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