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Signs Of Life

Columns by Pamela Majteles

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Excuse Me

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Posted by pam on January 14, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Originally published February 8, 2008

Reprinted with permission from Bay Area News Group – East Bay.

“Excuse me?” That’s what I would have said if anyone was listening.  At the time, I was alone watching political commentators on television discuss the presidential primaries.

I would have said it with a lot of attitude, drawing out the first word (as in “Excuuuse me?”). It wasn’t that I didn’t hear what was said, but more like I heard it too well.  A commentator described some voters in the primaries as “white soccer moms” who are “Oprah-watching, Tolstoy-reading book club members.”

So, now they’re picking on soccer moms.  When discussing politics, everyone needs to watch their step.  In this case, the political pundits were crossing the line and stepping onto my turf.  (I’m talking about more than just the line and turf on the soccer field.)

As a soccer mom, I’m here to speak out for all the others.  That’s what soccer moms do – we help each other out.  We know what it means to play on a team. Some of the others might have missed these remarks, because soccer moms are too short on time to listen to long-winded commentators.

It’s the inaccurate portrayal of soccer moms that I find objectionable.  Even if they were only sketching a picture, I still take offense. This is politics after all – someone should be offended.

The first thing wrong with the picture is the color.  Where I come from, soccer moms are not just white.  They’re not even just black and white. With so many different skin colors, soccer moms are like a jumbo-size box of crayons.

Then, the description “Oprah-watching, Tolstoy-reading book club members” makes us sound like we have a lot of free time on our hands. How else would we be able to watch an hour-long talk show in the afternoon and read a 1000-page Russian novel? Anyone who knows soccer moms knows we never watch afternoon television.  That’s the busiest part of the day.  At that time, soccer moms are behind the wheel of a car taking kids to soccer games or to an infinite variety of other activities which make-up kids’ lives today.

For those who don’t know, the term “soccer mom” has come to mean more than a mom who takes her kid to soccer games.  It’s also used as a catchphrase to describe the kind of mom who is always there and does it all.  Along with ordering uniforms, arranging photo day and providing snacks for her kid’s entire soccer team, she is performing similar feats in other parts of her kid’s life.  When she’s not helping with the many activities after school, she’s in school lending a hand to teachers, organizing lunch programs, and fundraising. So, there’s no time for morning talk shows either.

As long as I’m setting the record straight, there’s something else I’d like to clear up.  In my book club, we read more than just Tolstoy and the same old classics.  We also enjoy contemporary classics by writers like Rohinton Mistry and Orhan Pamuk.  Our broad taste in literature makes it impossible to know exactly what we’ll read at any given time.

It’s also impossible to know exactly how each of us will vote.  The most important thing to know when discussing politics and soccer moms is that you can’t simplify us.  You might say we’re like a Tolstoy novel – it takes a lot of time to try and read us.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

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