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May 9, 2014

Carl Cannon's Morning Note: May 9, 2014

Dan Sullivan's Alaskan Quest; Bye-bye Capital? The Origins of Mother's Day
IPI expert referenced: Tom Giovanetti | In The News | Media Hit

By Carl M. Cannon

Good morning. It’s Friday, May 9, 2014. President Obama delivers remarks on U.S. energy policy today at a Walmart in Mountain View, Calif., then returns to Washington.

On Capitol Hill, the Senate is in recess, but the House is in session and may vote on two initiatives. The first would extend the longstanding research and development tax credit. The other would expand access to and increase federal funding for charter schools. Called the Success and Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Act, it enjoys bipartisan support.

One hundred years ago today, the president and Congress were on the same page -- at least regarding motherhood and, presumably, apple pie. On May 9, 1914, Woodrow Wilson lent his name to a joint resolution passed in Congress the preceding day that designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

The president’s directive instructed federal officials to display the American flag on all government buildings and also invited “the people of the United States to display the flag at their homes or other suitable places on the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”

All successive presidents since then -- and many who predated Wilson -- have extolled mothers. And if you were under the impression that Mother’s Day was an invention of the florist industry or greeting card companies, you are mistaken. From the start, it’s been a day devoted to love -- and peace.

I’ll have more on this -- and on one modern U.S. president’s poignant words about the holiday -- in a moment. First, I’d direct you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which aggregates stories and columns from across the political spectrum. In addition, we offer a complement of original material from RCP reporters and contributors, including the following:

* * *

Dan Sullivan Aims to Unite Alaska Republicans vs. Begich. Scott Conroy has this profile of the frontrunner to win the GOP Senate primary in the 49th state.

As Capital Flees, U.K. Is Texas and U.S. Is California. In RealClearMarkets, Tom Giovanetti cites Pfizer’s planned deal with Astra-Zeneca and subsequent move overseas as emblematic of America’s business climate.

Literature and Geopolitics. In RealClearWorld, Robert Kaplan explains why the great books are great sources for understanding the human drama and disfiguring passions that often swirl around momentous foreign policy decisions.

It’s Time for the U.S. to Tap the Energy Boom. In RealClearEnergy, Jared Meyer details what he considers a politically viable proposal for increased drilling on federal lands.

The Light Bulb’s Next Trick. RealClearTechnology editor Greg Scoblete reports on an odd intersection of LED and audio features.

The Devil and Man at Harvard. In RealClearReligion, Mark Judge reflects on a Satanic “black mass” scheduled for Monday as part of a student-led series examining different cultural rituals, and why such explorations are harmless and yet unwise.

 * * *

Venerating motherhood predates Western civilization, let alone Woodrow Wilson, but the idea of setting aside a specific day can be credited to a fellow Virginian named Ann Jarvis.

The Civil War split the Old Dominion in half, and when the state government in Richmond seceded from the Union, Jarvis found herself suddenly living in a new state, West Virginia, in a community of divided loyalties. But she was a preacher’s daughter whose instincts were always toward nurturing instead of carnage.

Before the war, she’d launched Mothers’ Day Work Clubs to address local health needs.

When the bloodshed started, Jarvis urged the clubs to stay neutral -- to the point of providing medical care to soldiers from the Union and Confederate armies -- and solace to mothers on each side.

She knew the pain of losing a child: Eight of her 12 children never reached adulthood.

The end of the war brought a cessation to the fighting, but not the grief, and in the summer of 1865, Ann Jarvis organized a Mothers’ Friendship Day on the grounds of the Taylor County courthouse. The event brought together soldiers and families from both sides, many of whom were mourning lost sons.

In 1902, she was widowed and so moved to Philadelphia to live near her children. When she died, her daughter Anna vowed to keep her mother’s tradition alive, and on this date, May 10, 1908, Mother’s Day ceremonies were held simultaneously at the Wanamaker Store auditorium in Philly and the Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, W.Va.

Just six years later, Woodrow Wilson signed that joint resolution of Congress setting aside the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

Today, we live in a world where childhood death is much rarer than in Ann Jarvis’ time. We expect everyone to grow to adulthood -- and for our mothers to live a very long time. But they don’t live forever, as another U.S. president reminded us 20 years ago this month.

In May 1994, Bill Clinton embarked with little fanfare on a series of speeches that White House aides hoped would prompt a national dialogue about personal responsibility. The first talk was the commencement address at Gallaudet University in Washington, a school for deaf students started by Abraham Lincoln.

Clinton made a point of praising members of the school’s senior class who had enrolled in the government’s national service program, AmeriCorps. He ended his talk on a more personal note.

“A few days ago, when we celebrated Mother's Day, it was my first Mother's Day without my mother,” he said. “And so, I have been thinking about what I should say to all of you, those of you who are lucky enough still to have your parents, and, perhaps, some of you who do not.”

He continued:

“On graduations, it is important for us to remember that none of us ever achieves anything alone. “I dare say as difficult as your lives have been, you are here today not only because of your own courage and your own effort, but because someone loved you and believed in you and helped you along the way. I hope today that you will thank them and love them and, in so doing, remember that all across this country, perhaps our biggest problem is that there are too many children, most of who can hear just fine, who never hear the kind of love and support that every person needs.

“And we must commit ourselves to giving that to those children.”


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