MAMMA’S DIARY – DIARIO DI MAMMA
Every family dinner feels like a pot that is boiling over because the divisive language coming from the 2016 Election is spilling onto my dining room table and burning my brain. At Italian Sunday Funday lunch, I was listening to the talk about San Francisco 49er QB Colin Kaepernick, which turned to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Doesn’t everything end with those two nowadays? Without telling you where I stand exactly (although you can probably guess), I had an epiphany later in the day after reflecting on my own reaction to recent national events. The anger snuck up on me, and I didn’t like the feeling or my behavior, so I took a walk and I thought and thought. Why am I taking all this stuff so personally? Why am I so angry? Then, I realized it is all about the messed up priorities of our country and what that means for me right now and what it will mean for my child someday. I ask you my fellow Americans (and outside observers like the Italians) is this how we want to define ourselves?
- We put more value and honor into throwing a ball than running the free world. Back at the Sunday table, my family freaked out when I suggested I didn’t want my son to play professional sports because I feel like most athletes get gipped out of the best education and often destroy their bodies by playing injured or taking performance enhancing drugs. A few weeks earlier my nearly 5-year-old son suggested he would someday be president, and this same family discouraged him saying no one wants that life. I get it. There’s no question POTUS faces tremendous pressure, threats, challenges, and responsibilities. With a salary of $400,000 per year, he makes far less money than most professional football players. But to have a son who is smart enough and capable enough to be president is much more prestigious – at least to me – than having one in the NFL. This is not to say that I don’t like sports or hate all athletes. I do like them, and I have found professional athletes to be smart and charming and kind when I’ve met a few of them. That’s not the point I’m trying to make. And, realistically, my son will probably be neither president nor a professional athlete. But that’s not going to stop me from worrying more about him reading books than scoring touchdowns.
- The Kardashians have success and financial reward for all the wrong reasons. There was a time when having scandalous photos or worse a sex tape come out meant your life would be ruined. Now, it’s the start of great financial reward and a platform for selling a slew of products and creating a brand the world consumes. Good for the Kardashians and others on turning this lifestyle into gold. But shame on us for letting them.
- While we elevate reality TV stars, my son’s teacher gets little to no credit. Our teachers are shaping the future, while the Kardashians are shaping their bottoms to be juicier. Our teachers have the ultimate responsibility of being with our children every day and helping them blossom into contributing and thoughtful adults, who don’t sit on those round bottoms. Yet, we pay teachers little to nothing and let education take a back seat to everything else. Where’s universal pre-K? What are we doing about the fact that our students are behind others in the Western world, especially in science, technology, and math, which will dominate tomorrow’s careers? How the heck do we plan on helping families make ends meet and find affordable care for their kids while they are at work?
- People are failing to channel their anger in positive ways. In the last week, fans have set Kaepernick’s jersey ablaze and suggested he flee to Canada. Their rage, many say, is because he is disrespecting the military, which has fought for our freedoms. I understand that argument. It’s one of the reasons I myself can’t help but put my hand over my heart and listen closely whenever the anthem plays. But I also understand that Kaepernick’s protest is exactly what the military fights for. He’s exercising his First Amendment rights, and he has sparked conversation about racism in this country. It’s a conversation we’ve been avoiding and need to have. Rather than seeing those people burn jerseys and shun a fellow American exercising the rights they claim to defend and love, I would prefer people doing something about the issues they really care about and could influence our future and the future of our children.
There are so many more confounding priorities and beliefs, but I’m a working mother in the United States, which means I have to work 10 times harder for less pay than my male counterparts and find a way to raise my son all at the same time with little to no help. Therefore, I must stop here. You can feel free to chime in and let me know where we’re going wrong in your opinion.