I’ve written a piece for USA Today that was posted online tonight and will appear in the print edition tomorrow: Candidates ignore security moms at their peril. A few excerpts:
I am what this year’s election pollsters call a “security mom.” I’m married with two young children. I own a gun. And I vote.
Nothing matters more to me right now than the safety of my home and the survival of my homeland. I believe in the right to defend myself, and in America’s right to defend itself against its enemies. I am a citizen of the United States, not the United Nations.
I want a president who is of one mind, not two, about what must be done to protect our freedom and our borders. I don’t care about the hair on his head or the wrinkles in his forehead. I am not awed by his ability to ride a snowboard or fly a plane. Nor does it matter much to me whether his wife speaks four languages or bakes good cookies.
What I want is a commander in chief who will stop pandering to political correctness and People magazine editors, and start pandering to me…
I single out some of my security mom heroes:
Security moms are women such as Grace Godshalk, who lost her 35-year-old son, Bill, when the World Trade Center’s south tower collapsed on Sept. 11. Godshalk is on the board of the 9/11 Families for a Secure America, which lobbies for secure borders. She has made it her “lifetime job to put an end to terrorism so no one else ever has to live this nightmare.”
Security moms are women such as Bonnie Eggle, a Michigan schoolteacher who lost her 28-year-old son, Kris, a National Park Service ranger who was gunned down by a drug smuggler at the U.S.-Mexico border in August 2002.
“I approach this whole situation as a mother,” Eggle said during a Washington, D.C., news conference after her son was murdered. “I want other parents to know that these are things that can happen to your children. Our son took a bullet that he did not have to if we had secure borders.”
There are so many more I could have mentioned. Since I first started reading blogs, I’ve been struck by the intense passion and dispassionate analysis of women warbloggers, many of them mothers. (See Michele Catalano, Athena at Leaning to the Right, and Sgt. Mom, for starters.) And I have been in awe of security moms inspired to take homeland defense in their own hands (see Shannen Rossmiller, Rita Katz, and this Israeli mom, for example). In my book, Annie Jacobsen falls into this category, too.
Glenn Reynolds was on to this post-Sept. 11 phenomenon first, dubbing national security-focused women the Bellicose Women’s Brigade. Unfortunately, the presidential candidates seem to have lost interest in us–and I give them a good spanking:
So far, neither presidential ticket quite measures up. Judging from the touchy-feely-fest put on by the John Kerry-John Edwards campaign recently, it is clear that the Democratic Party still thinks it can win by wallowing in the Sept. 10 politics of grievance, entitlement and passivity. The Democratic presidential campaign is softer than a Kleenex tissue, when its motto should be “No More Tears.”
As for the Republicans, I have supported President Bush’s war on terror overseas, but he continues to fight only a half-hearted battle to defend Americans on American soil from hostile invasion or attack. Recently, the White House revived an amnesty plan for millions of illegal aliens, and the Department of Homeland Security retreated on immigration-enforcement sweeps in Southern California. It is clear that the GOP elite gravely underestimates the wrath we security moms feel toward Washington’s fatal addiction to “cheap labor” and “cheap votes” at the expense of secure borders….
Carol Taber, who has teamed up with Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, has started up a new organization called Family Security Matters to provide an alternative to the self-absorbed, head-in-the-sand klatches that pass for women’s groups these days. The website will be unveiled shortly, I hear, and I will keep you posted.