Thursday, Jul 28, 2016
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Marilou Johanek

Let moms get nation back under control

MEN, if you fold at the hint of constructive criticism from a woman, or consider it male-bashing without merit, you may be excused. But your mother wouldn't approve. She would make you sit down and read this, whether you like it or not.

Any sassiness and you're in the time-out corner, Mister, no matter how old you are. Moms mean business. You should know that by now. Moms get things done.

In a flight of fancy recently, I found myself wondering how some current events might be handled differently if moms ruled the world the way they rule their little corner of it. I'm not saying we're perfect by any means, or better than the men in our lives. We're just wired differently when it comes to problem solving.

Just as there are exceptions to every rule, there are exceptions to gender generalities. But having said that, any woman who has ever assembled with other moms on school, church, or community committees to fix what's broken, achieve the impossible, or change the status quo, can attest to the power of single-minded women with no time to waste.

So as I got caught up on the news after the holiday weekend, from the nightmare in the Gulf of Mexico to the national vat of red ink, I imagined an alternate universe with a bunch of moms in charge. Try to think of it without wincing.

If a majority of moms ran Congress, and the White House answered to a mom, would America be reeling from its worst oil well blowout or spending itself into a $13 trillion debt? Would things have gotten this far out of control?

I'm guessing we'll never know, at least not in my lifetime. But suppose a new administration were led by a mom and supported by a mom-filled House and Senate. How might a mom monopoly on government make a difference, given the opportunity?

They'd begin with a thorough, top to bottom, government house-cleaning. Women naturally know you can't take on a new challenge when old debris is in the way.

Generally, men prefer to walk over it or around it, which could explain, in part, why the planet is such a mess. Women have a lower threshold for procrastinating on what's piling up.

Moms have even less patience for foot-dragging on work that needs to be done. It slows everything down. It scrambles schedules meant to be kept. It threatens the execution of super-organized plans and programs.

The delays, disorder, and dysfunction that dog everyday life make multitasking women crazy. But they persevere because there is too much depending on them not to. Watch them go to town on government with a makeover only a mother could love.

They'd start with any bureaucracy that has a background of consistent bungling or scandal. The Interior Department would obviously need a good scrubbing to remove all the dirt stuck to the Minerals Management Service.

The agency, notorious for its chummy relationship with the oil industry, would have to come clean as a regulatory body. No more breaks for Big Oil. No more arbitrary exemptions to following protocol.

If moms ruled, safety measures and environmental protections would supersede profits in oil drilling operations, not the other way around. Contingency plans to cap an oil spill before it becomes catastrophic would be mandatory.

The Interior secretary would personally ensure that malfeasance at MMS is history, or his job would be. Strict compliance and accountability would be the mantra of the department in an administration where the buck stopped with mom.

Lord knows, she can take the heat. But you can't fool Oval Office Mom or Capital Hill moms with excuses about allowing dangerous drilling in the Gulf on your watch - they instinctively know when you're lying or shirking responsibility.

President Mom would have been in the gulf with other congressional moms on day one of the disaster, hovering. That's what moms do. They need to be there to see the damage, feel the pain, and find a way to make it all better - and before days, weeks, or months pass.

Then the men can take over, act like they've been running the show the whole time, and try to get along like big boys. How's that for a fantasy?

Marilou Johanek is a Blade commentary writer.

Contact her at: mjohanek@theblade.com

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