Maybe the first impulse is to laugh at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s woke attempt to attempt to remove words such as “mother” from official use in documents of the House of Representatives.
But don’t laugh. Author Abigail Shrier explains what lies behind this effort (whether Pelosi herself fully realizes it or not) in a must-read piece in this morning’s New York Post. Shrier writes:
“Mother” — among the most important concepts in human life — would be erased from the lexicon of the US House of Representatives. It’s important to recognize how radical this is. And no, it isn’t akin to updating federal law to replace “policeman” with “police officer,” a rational corrective sought by feminists for generations.
There, the terms were changed for the benefit of clarity and accuracy. “Fireman” became “firefighter” to reflect that women could be firefighters under the law and, in fact, were already serving as such. However much fun it is to say “mailman,” we all knew and know female mail carriers. It was silly, archaic and inaccurate to pretend such jobs could be filled only by men.
But “mother” is a fundamental biological, emotional, familial reality. It captures the irreplaceable bond between a baby and the woman who bore her in her womb. That others can be excellent guardians — a fact no one disputes — can’t justify extirpating Mom from our vocabulary. (For that matter, the political erasure of “dad” is also dehumanizing, because it entails the loss of our capacity to describe relationships that define what it means to be fully human.)
House Democrats don’t pretend to seek this change merely for the sake of “streamlining” congressional language. The explicit point is to advance “inclusion and diversity” and to “honor all gender identities.” Pelosi & Co. are desperate to accommodate an aggressive gender ideology that insists “man” and “woman” are fuzzy, subjective categories, rather than biological ones.
By all means, call people what they prefer. But language in the law, by definition, ushers words into action. Words grant rights or take them away. Words can enhance or diminish status, placing people and concepts beyond the bounds of legal protection.
No one knows this better than Democrats. By pressing for these changes across the country, they have allowed biological boys into sports competition with biological girls, peeling back Title IX protections for women’s sports. If “mother” is now a useless concept under House rules, why shouldn’t it pose an equally offensive presence in federal law?
Ms. Pelosi’s attempt to erase the concept of motherhood comes on the heels of a year when rioters tried to erase our history, toppling statues of abolitionists and Confederate soldiers alike.
These are not mere cosmetic changes. I hope we will pause and consider just how revolutionary these efforts are (we don’t know whether Ms. Pelosi herself realizes this or is merely pandering to the woke).
Similar attempts to re-engineer society by changing names were made during the French Revolution. Here is a description of this phenomenon from the Britannica’s online encyclopedia:
French revolutionaries believed they did not simply topple a government, but established a new social order founded on freedom and equality. Far from limiting reforms to the state, revolutionaries sought to align French institutions and mores on the basis of the new republican ideals through a multitude of changes, from reorganizing France’s regional divisions to abandoning the terms Monsieur and Madame in favor of the more egalitarian Citoyen and Citoyenne. To mark the advent of the new age of liberty, they also replaced, in October 1793, the old Gregorian calendar with a new republican calendar. Henceforth, the year of the official proclamation of the Republic (1792) would become Year One. In this secular calendar, the twelve months of the year were named after natural elements, while each day was named for a seed, tree, flower, fruit, animal, or tool, replacing the saints’-day names and Christian festivals. The republican calendar was abandoned by Napoleon on January 1, 1806.