Who could object to Mother’s Day?

Apparently a whole lot of of folks once did, as Bill Kauffman reminds us, citing the lopsided defeat the first resolution proposing a national Mother’s Day suffered back in 1908:

Senator Henry Moore Teller (D-CO) scorned the resolution as “puerile,” “absolutely absurd,” and “trifling.” He announced, “Every day with me is a mother’s day.”

Senator Jacob Gallinger (R-NH) judged the very idea of Mother’s Day to be an insult, as though his memory of his late mother “could only be kept green by some outward demonstration on Sunday, May 10.”

“There are some thoughts that are so great and so sacred that they are belittled by movements of this character,” lectured Senator Charles Fulton (R-OR), who went on to suggest the consecration of “Mother-in-Law Day.”

Besides—and this objection may strike modern ears as bizarre—whether or not young men honored their mothers was none of the federal government’s damned business.

“It is not a proper subject for legislation,” declared Senator Weldon Heyburn (R-ID). “[T]he sentiment that exists between the parent and the child” was “too sacred to be made the subject of bandying words” and symbolic resolutions.

By a margin of 33-14, the Senate contemptuously returned this first Mother’s Day resolution to committee.

Read the rest.

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About Charles Davis

A writer and producer with whose work has aired on television and radio and been published by outlets such as Al Jazeera, The Intercept, The Nation and The New Republic.
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