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May 13, 2002—For the Love of a Mother

Celebrate.  It was Mother's Day, and Mom got the day off from mealmaking and a few other tiresome chores.  We celebrate all the holidays, and Mother's Day is right up there in the galaxy of great ones that help to push aside earthly cares and daily monotony.  We hope you made lots of phone calls, sent out a bunch of cards, and made bare the shelves of your local florist.

Venerable Occasion.  We all know those sadsacks who think Mother's Day is a commercial farce designed to do them out of their gold.  We learn, however, that the day has a venerable history, often heavily promoted by women of character who felt strong affection and admiration for their mothers.  Apparently there was a spring rite in ancient Greece for Rhea, mother of all gods and goddesses.  England had its Mothering Sunday.  In 1872, Julia Ward Howe, lyricist for the Battle Hymn of the Republic, advocated a Mother's Day.  Others followed in her footsteps, but it was Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia who buttonholed everybody and really put Mother's Day on the national map.  Finally in 1914, President Wilson and the Congress proclaimed it a national holiday.

Power Moms.  Mother's Day reminds us that we need a few high-powered moms at the pinnacle of politics.  It is probably not too much of a stretch to say that Mother Maggie Thatcher saved Great Britain.  Mary Robinson (we have not checked her motherhood credentials) has distinguished herself as president of Ireland and in her duties for the European Community.  Golda Meir brought heft to Israel not seen since in the prime ministership.  And so it goes.  It is arguable that a lot of governments (say Japan?) won't get straightened out til’ we get mothers at the helm. 

Next Week.  On the 20th we will tell you in our Gods and Heroes section how foster mother Louise Brown saved children from the welfare bureaucracy.  This week on Big Ideas we tell you about Lord Peter Bauer, an economist who correctly theorized that big Western governments and poor developing economies don't mix, maybe because governments don't really, really care for the poor, lousy surrogate parents that they are. 

Also look out next week for our Annual Report on Annual Reports 2002, by the way, in which we say that companies are running scared and know not where they are running.

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