June 14, 2004
The other MOB
You may have seen their BlogAd, now here they are in the mainstream media: Mothers Opposing Bush.
Casual chats about Harry Potter matinees and the best places for family vacations were peppered with a very different conversation topic Sunday afternoon in Dallas: politics.
A group of mothers gathered at a local park for a play date and political meeting. Its aim: Get President Bush out of the White House in November.
The Dallas chapter of Mothers Opposing Bush, or MOB, formed last month to stand up for what members call "mom issues" such as education and health care.
The play date attracted about 50 people at Dallas' Reverchon Park.
"We have a lot of moms who are concerned about everything from the deficit to air quality, particularly in North Texas," said Melody Townsel, a member of the group.
Fathers and grandparents also joined the rally Sunday. Organizers said that the group is nonpartisan and that several people in the grass-roots effort voted for Mr. Bush in 2000.
"My mother has always voted Republican, but she says she just can't do it this year," said Dallas resident Marsha Fishman.
She said she joined Mothers Opposing Bush because she was disappointed in the Bush administration's stance on gun control.
Ms. Townsel said the group – part of a national effort – is planning voter registration drives and hopes to sponsor children's health screenings – and more play dates.
Carol and Owen Ware of Poetry, in northern Kaufman County, said they attended the event to meet like-minded people.
"These moms are gathering not because they have degrees in foreign policy, not because they are experts, but because they have a gut feeling that this administration is wrong," Mr. Ware said.
I'm very curious what real-world effect a group like this will have. By putting up a web page
and getting free media mentions, it can reach a lot more people than grassroots organizations used to be able to do, but will they bring more voters to the polls? Will they change anyone's mind? I'm not attempting to belittle here - hell, I love seeing stuff like this - I'd just dearly love to know of a metric that could be used to calibrate their outreach. There's gotta be a dissertation or three for some PoliSci grad students in all this.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 14, 2004 to The making of the President
They used to say that Donna Reed's mothers committee against the Vietnam war was really effective in middle america because even the most committed yahoo wouldn't cheer if John Wayne knocked Donna Reed down and walked over her like they did when he - erm - showed his manhood with hippies.
"M.O.B.", in graffiti, often stands for Member of the Bloods. Even in some suburbs where there are no Bloods, Tupac Shakur can be heard from beyond the grave. So, no bumper stickers, no yard signs, please. Or I can see it now, Rush Limbaugh reading from the right-winger who writes "News of the Weird" about some "tragic case of mistaken identity."
Mothers Oppposing Bush has spawned at least one other local organization, Mainstream Mothers Oppose Bush, in Boulder, Colorado. Their website has some useful resources for Moms who are politically active or want to be: www.themmob.com
I don't know how you'd measure it, but I'm all for it. My wife and I have been discussing whether or not to plant a Kerry sign in our front yard, as we live in a neighborhood that we assume is quite conservative, although we've never discussed politics. A yard sign isn't likely to change someone's vote, so we might simply succeed in alienating our neighbors. On the other hand, there may be other closet liberals like us who might be cheered by knowing they're not alone. At any rate, we're not going to do anything before the official nomination (how's that for a sidestep?).
As for the Dallas MOB, I suspect they might have more chance to sway votes. I imagine there might be many closet liberals in Dallas, or at least lifelong Republicans who are questioning their choice. Seeing others might just give them the courage to vote their convictions.
I'm just guessing, of course. My folks, who live in the Big D suburb of Richardson, are vocally anti-Bush and ain't sittin' on any fences!
I'm the woman who started it all here in Dallas - you would not believe the press and death threats we've received here because a two-year-old girl took a swipe at a Bush punching bag. Tell your friends to join the MOB. As for the Richardson mom, please tell her to email firstname.lastname@example.org and come join us!
A comment regarding putting up signs in a "red" neighborhood: I live in a mostly republican area and I've put out yard signs, have bumper stickers on the car and wear t-shirts. My husband and I had a debate over the yard signs especially. I think this year, and in this state it's vitally important to show our neighbors that "liberals" and democrats are regular upstanding folk.
A comment regarding putting up signs in a "red" neighborhood: I live in a mostly republican area and I've put out yard signs, have bumper stickers on the car and wear t-shirts. My husband and I had a debate over the yard signs especially. I think this year, and in this state it's vitally important to show our neighbors that "liberals" and democrats are regular upstanding folk. I also think that there are a lot more people opposing Bush than we realize and if we take the first steps to show our preferences openly others may follow.