The Great Awakening of the Mommy Patriots

It doesn’t matter what Sarah Palin does. Or even whether Michele Bachmann runs. What matters is that thousands of conservative women are connecting with their female candidates—and each other—with unexpected passion. This new segment of politically active women has found its voice, and its members don’t plan on shutting up or sitting down in 2012

Christina Bellantoni
Photograph: IIllustrated by Yuko Shimizu

“It’s not fear. It’s not anger,” says Becker. “It’s vigilance and concern.”

“We’re not angry people,” says Doll. “I don’t think we’re afraid of anything, or we wouldn’t open our mouths.”

When I ask if it’s fair to compare the rise of their movement to the birth of feminism, Doll bristles. If anything, she says, today’s conservative women reject feminist ideals. She remembers when “the feminism thing,” as she calls it, began “creeping into our magazines” in the 1960s. Women were being inundated with articles about the “drudgery” of being a mom and how to avoid the boredom of housework by finding paid employment. “They were really putting our job down,” Doll says.

Not that it’s easy to do right by a family and be politically active; for Becker, juggling both has been a challenge. “I think that’s part of the problem we all have, because we are moms and we all volunteer for stuff, whether it’s the school or the library or church . . . it’s hard to get involved,” she says. “I don’t necessarily say I’m into politics; I say I’m in this to fight for my freedom. I don’t care about politics. I don’t care about marketable politicians. I want a statesman who will be a good public servant for me and everyone I care about.”

As we start to wind down our conversation in the library, Sue Bican, cochair of a Tea Party Patriots group in Milaca, Minnesota, presses into my hands a stack of cards. In big red letters above a photo of an adorable infant, the cards read, “Protect Baby DNA: Say NO to Government Ownership of Newborn Blood Spots and Baby DNA Warehousing.” The cards refer to the government’s policy of keeping blood samples (“blood spots”) from infants, which started in the 1960s with screening for genetic defects and diseases. The women raise the issue of privacy and wonder aloud if it could be part of an attempt to clone babies. Soon my lap is filled with Bican’s literature: A bumper sticker urges me to “Join the revolution. Health care: Resist. Repeal. Reclaim”; a 40-page booklet called “Sustainable Development or Sustainable Freedom?” bashes the United Nations’ Agenda 21 policy on the environment.

“This has everything to do with all your freedoms,” Bican tells me. “This is the head of the snake.” She says I need to read this material to understand the threat posed by the Democrats. “Are we too late, folks?” she asks the group. The other women allow her to get on a roll, and they tell me that Bican is happy to let me keep all these brochures and flyers because she has more in her truck. “You probably have a file cabinet in your truck,” Doll cracks.

“I have two totes full!” Bican says.

 

Three of these women went to D.C. for the health care rally. Bican and Becker became friends on the bus and later spent five hours pounding the pavement, going from Senator’s office to Senator’s office to urge their elected officials—in the words of their heroine, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann—to “read the bill!” Joined by a friend passing out IMPEACH OBAMA stickers, Becker headed to the front lawn of the Capitol to watch Bachmann rip sections out of the 1,990-page health care bill and hand them off to the crowd of thousands to distribute to lawmakers. And that’s how Becker and I first met—in a sea of American-flag clothing, somewhere between the man in the tricorn hat waving a DON’T TREAD ON ME flag and the women with the bullhorn singing their own Tea Party version of “Yankee Doodle” (“Stop the spending and the debt, we don’t want communism . . . We are here in Washington, please read our Constitution/Can you hear us now, you fools, our voices are in the millions”). “I’m here representing 1,000 people,” Becker told me then. “I don’t think it’s the quantity of the numbers that matter; it’s the passion of the people who are here.” She’d made the trip because she’d heard Bachmann publicize the event on Fox News: “She exudes truth. I completely trust her.”

First Published May 10, 2011

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Allison Roelen05.28.2011

It's refreshing to finally see a magazine, especially a women's magazine recognize that not all women are ultra feminist progressives - One of the key future woman leaders in politics is not included from Ms. Bellatoni - and that is Jaime Radtke who is running for the VA Senate and a force to be reckoned with - she has what it takes, understands the real issues as well as realistic solutions and is a mother above all else - and is running and awaiting the Palinization attacks of the left because she cannot stand by and watch her children's future be destroyed by socialism which has destroyed so many economies and even worse - the gumption for people to be motivated to do their best & innovate - remember this - without a meritocracy there will only be mediocrity - and that is one of the key messages of true conservatives, or as I liken myself - True citizens who honor and revere the Constitution as our founding document - it doesn't need to be re-written it needs to be 're-read' as Herman Cain so aptly said - I hope that MORE and other magazines will be willing to actually participate as journalists - aka unbiased, both sides reporting as well as instead of the on-going nonsensical guilt trips put out to women that if they aren't working, having some fabulous career they're somehow less fulfilled or not even self-actualized - I have been a single working mother for many years and I can tell you that you can't have your cake and eat it too - no one expects men to do this - so why do women in particular slam other women for not 'having it all?' You can't something always has to give and trust me when I say - your family, children and their upbringing are the first priority - this is fundamental to what's breaking down our society.

05.26.2011

"The women are refusing to let me into their homes". The article "The Great Awakening of the Mommy Patriots" begins like a Gothic novel and I was intrigued. Rising at dawn for a 2 hour drive to meet with The Mommy Patriots at a (oh no!) public library to interview women loyal to the Tea Party Movement has annoyed the author, Christian Bellantoni, of the WASHINGTON TIMES. As the ladies munch on carrot sticks, the author compares the "unexpected passion" for conservatism to the adolescent hysterics of meeting a rock star.
So, like any good Gothic heroine, I did some sleuthing. Let's go to Bellantoni's article in the WASHINGTON TIMES dated 01/25/2009 titled "Obama Volunteers Aim To Stay Involved". A group of (10) Obama suppporters were INVITED to lunch at the beautiful Oceanaire Restaurant in Washington, D.C. as guests of, you guessed correctly, THE WASHINGTON TIMES. The praises of the newly elected administration rang out clear as a bell on an old Gothic church. I thought the re-election campaign had started. No wonder Ms. Bellantoni was put upon, no water glasses at the public library?
Unfortunately, no intelligent insight was forthcoming as to the mindset of women conservatives and that's a shame. MORE readers, and I've been subscribing for at least 10 years, deserve better. MORE would benefit by healthy discussions of conservatism by enlisting conservative writers (Ms. Bellantoni is a self-described Liberal). You can email me! Thanks.

05.20.2011

The most passionate conservative Mommy patriot I've met is Kimberly Fletcher (kimberlyfletcher.com). I'm not a Sarah Palin fan at all, but Kimberly's message of encouraging stay-at-home moms to become politically active -- and showing them how they can do it without sacrificing (as they see it) their families is thought-provoking.

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