What moms were talking about at the Republican National Committee Convention.
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The Republican National Committee Convention kicked off Monday night, and education and the pandemic were among the topics frequently discussed by the many women and parents taking the stage.
Schools and school choice were brought up early when California teacher Rebecca Friedrichs took the stage.
Friedrichs is the founder of For Kids & Country, an organization opposed to teachers' unions. Her lawsuit, Friedrichs v California Teachers' Association, was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 in opposition of mandatory union fees.
Fredrichs said President Trump's "courage gives great teachers renewed hope" and that his plan for Education Freedom Scholarships will "empower kids to escape dangerous, low performing schools"
Ronna McDaniel, RNC Chairwoman spoke soon after Fredrichs, noting that she is "a real housewife and a mom from Michigan with two kids in public schools….who happens to be only the second woman in 164 years to run the Republican Party."
McDaniel also spoke about health care, suggesting that "a complete government takeover of our health care system" would make it "so moms like me won't be able to take our kids to the same pediatrician they've been seeing for years." (It should be noted that Joe Biden's plan for health care involves using the existing Affordable Care Act and private insurance networks to build up the health care system. As the New York Times points out, "under the current system, insurance companies can already drop pediatricians and other doctors.")
Nurse Amy Ford was also on hand to talk healthcare and took the stage to explain that as "the daughter of a nurse and a coal miner" she felt called to follow her mother into nursing and was proud to travel to New York and a Texas hotspot to fight COVID-19.
Tanya Weinreis, a Montana small business owner, talked about how a PPP loan helped keep her coffee shop businesses alive during the coronavirus crisis. Maryland congressional nominee Kim Klacik spoke about her love for inner-city Baltimore. Later, father Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018 in support of President Trump and the Second Amendment, something several speakers spoke in support of.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News personality and current National Chair of Trump Victory Finance Committee 2020 and Senior Advisor to the Trump campaign also took the stage, describing herself as a mom and a first-generation American.
Like Kamala Harris, Guilfoyle is the daughter of an immigrant (her father was born in Ireland, her mom came from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, which is a U.S. Territory). Still, Guilfoyle describes herself as "a first-generation American" in the same way Harris does. While the two women hold opposing political views they are both examples of The American Dream so many parents have for their children.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, describes herself as the daughter of Indian immigrants, and stated: "America is not a racist country." The first minority and female governor of South Carolina and mom of two, Haley (former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.) attracted immediate criticism online.
As the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 continue, and just a day after police in Wisconsin shot a Black father, 29-year-old Jacob Blake, in front of his three young children, many social media commenters took issue with Haley's speech and her denial of racism.
When President Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. took the stage after Haley he called for a better future for American kids and contradicted Haley by calling for an end to racism. He also spoke about the racial segregation and inequities that keep many children in the United States from benefiting from the kind of expensive private education he received.
All of the speakers want to protect the American Dream and American kids, but the dreams parents have for their children in the United States have been threatened in 2020. In a post-COVID world we know moms do not want to go back to a "normal" where mothers feel unsupported. Recent surveys suggest mothers are more interested in competent leadership in government than in party politics right now.
This means that both the Republicans and the Democrats have work to do between now and November. The topics discussed by moms on the RNC stage are important and so are the topics moms were talking about in their living rooms Monday night.