Reflections on Jon Kyl and Type-A Moms

Mon, September 28, 2009

Changing the World, Moms & Politics

Type-A Mom 7I had a great time at the Type-A Mom conference this weekend.  I’m a bit “conferenced” out after attending several this year, but I’ve come to realize that I’m much better at the smaller gatherings than the big extravaganzas.  I still feel anxious and a little out of place, but if I see a few people I know (or at least feel like I know from our online conversations!), and can see them a few times during a conference, then it feels good to me.  I get too overwhelmed at the huge events where you see someone for a split second and then maybe just to wave across a crowded ballroom, never getting to talk.

I was excited and honored to be asked by the fabulous Kelby Carr to come and speak and be a part of this event.  I was given two topics, one obviously being political blogging!  I had a great “intimate” session with about eight women, but was sad that so few wanted to talk about writing in a way to help change things in the world.  A few ladies got upset with me who wanted to attend the session next door about monetizing their blogs — when they were pulling out the ballroom divider wall thingies, they were on the side of the wall with my session.  They got a little huffy when I told them I was sorry, but we couldn’t hold our session if they couldn’t put up the dividers and they’d have to move over to the other side.  I did invite them to stay and participate in my session, but I just got a couple of eye rolls when I told them we were going to be talking about moms and issues.


In the meantime, I got word about this little incident with Senator Jon Kyl who seems to be out of touch with reality:

You go Debbie Stabenow!

Maybe the world of politics (however you describe it) is overwhelming to some.  But I couldn’t help thinking what a collective effort from a conference full of moms could do on this issue, especially since maternity care isn’t partisan  — there were moms of all political persuasions at this conference, and I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of them would be pretty ticked off at Senator Kyl for making such a silly statement that probably was only meant to toss a bone to some lobbyist.

Except that it wasn’t. Kyl thinks that each individual insurance company should be able to decide what minimum benefits are offered in a package and that it should be OK to exclude maternity coverage. Why make a man pay for something he’s never going to use, right?  Does that mean I can have Viagra coverage taken out of my policy?

So here’s my thought.  If women can pull together an amazing conference, find enough sponsors to make it possible for the speakers to have their travel expenses covered and create an uplifting sense of community, I bet we could take some of that energy and make sure that the John Kyls of the world keep their hands off what little maternity care insurance provides now.

I know that means we have to find a way to make involvement appealing and not scary.  We’re amazing at supporting each other when it comes to our writing, our business ventures, our dreams and our friendships.  What if we could also build a community to support each other’s causes, especially when it comes to maternity care covered by insurance so that no mother has to worry about whether the cost of having a baby will put her family into bankruptcy?

You know the old guys on Capitol Hill aren’t going to look out for our ovaries and uteruses.  We have to.

UPDATE:  If you want to send a letter to Senator Kyl, here’s a link through EMILY’s list. And you can send a thank you note to Senator Stabenow for standing up for mothers over at MomsRising.  I also would love to know what his wife and daughter think about his comments.

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5 Responses to “Reflections on Jon Kyl and Type-A Moms”

  1. Amy Romano Says:

    I’m so sorry we didn’t get to connect in person at Type-A-Mom, and I’m sorry I missed your political blogging session, which, as a blogger, I was certainly more suited to than the one I actually attended. I was one of the masses in the making money session, but sitting in to try to sort out, as “blogger engager” for a nonprofit organization, how we can get bloggers interested in issues that should and do matter to women, which may sometimes mean paying them for their time. In any case, I loved this post and agree that if we could harness just a fraction of the energy spent to promote each other’s ideas, small businesses, insightful writings, or ridiculous and hilarious videos and spend that on moving women’s issues forward, we’d be in a really good spot. Thanks!

  2. Caroline Says:

    Hands down, that session with the eight of us was the most inspiring and interesting panel I attended. Another woman at that session came up to me later on and said the same. Women can come together and make change and constructive conversation happen. We just have to want to do the work to make it to happen. Great post and panel, as always.

  3. David Wescott Says:

    These things always start small and then something happens to spike interest.

    I’m wondering if Sen. Kyl would support removing prostate/testicular cancer screening and treatment. I have a history of prostate cancer in my family and I’m quite glad exams are covered.

    I wonder how he’d react if Sen. Stabenow said she didn’t want to pay for it because it doesn’t affect her.

  4. PunditMom Says:

    Amy, I wasn’t trying to take away from the other panels. I found all of them interesting and informative. Paying bloggers for their time is a goal so many of us would like to see — great writing and great content should be compensated.

    Caroline, I’m so glad you felt that way and I was SO HAPPY you were there, since you also write about politics. I appreciate all your great thoughts and helping to make the talk successful.

    David, excellent points. You can bet that Senator Kyl and others would probably “poo-poo” anyone who tried to suggest that their interests aren’t important to all.

  5. Corina Says:

    I must say, with all honesty, that your panel was the most useful, engaging and enlightening. I wish there could have been more involved as I truly think that we, as bloggers, as passionate women and mothers can change the course of the country. Why not? I would LOVE to work on a project with a group of us on creating a safe place for discussion. I would love to create action. In the next few weeks, I am going to be brainstorming on how to start this. If you (or any of your readers) have any ideas, throw them my way. It is time to move from hysteria to conversation and ultimately action.

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