Idaho's senior member of Congress, Republican Sen. Mike Crapo, often submits guest columns the Statesman and other newspapers. In 2011 alone, he wrote about 50.
This year's Mother's Day column may not break new ground on motherhood. Crapo says moms are the "glue of our families," and revisits the history of a holiday established in 1914. But he also offers a reminder that American women are still frequent victims of violence.
Crapo stuck his neck out last month in joining with Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy on extending the Violence Against Women Act, S. 1925, which passed 68 to 31, with Idaho GOP Sen. Jim Risch in the minority. The bill didn't get a single GOP vote in committee, but 15 Republicans voted for the bill on the floor.
The measure is opposed by Concerned Women for America and the Heritage Foundation and faces an uncertain future in the House, where Republicans have an alternative, H.R. 4970.
The Leahy-Crapo reauthorization includes new language forbidding discrimination against gays and lesbians in providing services under the programs authorized in the act and a provision that would allow tribes to prosecute non-Indians if they commit a domestic violence or sexual assault crime on a reservation against a non-Indian.
Crapo's guest column follows:
Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
Through tradition and Presidential proclamation, Americans have set aside the second Sunday in May to celebrate mothers. Mothers are the backbone of society, and as a son, father and husband, I know they are the glue of our families. We should honor them every day, but since 1914 we have had a day on the calendar to annually remind us to do so.
Prior to the formal declaration of Mother’s Day, U.S. mothers gathered in the aftermath of the Civil War to promote peace. Mothers who lost sons and husbands in the war worked to heal the divide in our country. The efforts of those women were the impetus of Anna Jarvis’ efforts in the early part of the 20th century to bring recognition to her mother’s role and all mothers living and deceased. Her commitment led to Congress and the President declaring a day for the “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”
With Memorial Day later this month, I will write more about honoring the patriots who serve in order to promote the peace—many of them mothers—but today is an appropriate time to single out a special group of moms: the wives and mothers of those working to keep us safe through our military, intelligence, public safety and law enforcement communities.
These women share their loved ones with all who benefit from their service. Whether it is the wife whose husband is leaving for a shift protecting his community or a mother whose child is deployed abroad, they live with the risks faced by their sons, daughters and the father of their children. Many are left to raise their families and pay their bills with distant support when loved ones are called to serve away from their homes. They carry a special burden, and we should express our support and appreciation for their “service.”
Mothers nurture, raise, inspire and support us in many ways. We should be grateful. The moms I want to honor today have also raised their children with a sense of honor and altruism that has led to careers dedicated to keeping us safe. They support and sustain these men and women and are heroes in their own right.
We should thank them for what they do and seek opportunities to demonstrate that support. I am committed to finding ways to support them at the federal level, whether it is support for families of deployed military, grants that assist our law enforcement and firefighters, policies that promote more flexible and family-friendly environments or laws that protect women from domestic violence, such as the recently passed Violence Against Women Act reauthorization legislation.
Lastly, I want to note that a mother’s impact is timeless. For many of us, the memories of our mothers continue to inspire and comfort us. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”
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