When Mama Ain’t Happy We Can Do Something About It


Written by guest blogger Diane Nilan
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I n the olden days, say 50 years ago, most knew that “when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Today, pissing off mama seems to be all the rage. Women--of all colors, shapes, ages and sexual orientations—seem to be fair game.

Male legislators seem to be competing for how to piss off the most women. The latest entry into the “how to make women most miserable” contest is a doozy. Maine’s Senator Saviello (Franklin), joined by Representative Casavant (Biddeford) and Senator McCormick (Kennebec) decided to up the ante of punitive welfare (TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) policies. They’d like to penalize families for staying on welfare too long. So, at the end of TANF’s 5-year federal limit, which effectively cuts families off any federal assistance—things like medical care, food assistance, and cash benefits—These-Even-Meaner-Than-the-Feds want to bar families from municipal general assistance (GA)—as meager as it is. Local assistance to help with basic needs such as rent, food, non-food, medication, fuel, utilities, and other essential services will be off limits to these welfare-failures.

I could go on ad naseum about why this is, well, stupid. But I won’t. Most thinking people can figure it out. I have a simple question: What would your mother say?

"I have a simple question: What would your mother say?"How would you explain to your mother, even if she happened to be a conservative, god-fearing, righteous woman, why you are knowingly torturing families for their failures (which often includes the failure of the system, another story for another day)? What would you tell your mother you want to happen to these families?

The demise of traditional family values might be a bad thing, not for reasons often cited. I think the “mamas” of the world have somehow ceded—or got shoved from—their position of authority. Use to be that dissing women (and their kids) was something that mama didn’t tolerate. She’d whoop your behind if she found you were disrespecting your neighbor.

So, Mean Maine legislators, Mr. Romney and Mr. Santorum, and all who clamor for public office, or who have a position of authority, think of what your mama would say when you start getting all stupid and saying things like women on welfare need to be punished. Pull out a picture of your mother any time you’re planning to open your mouth about women, look at that picture, and imagine what your mama would say.

Mama ain’t happy that women (and their families) are being disrespected. You’re gonna get a whooping. It will be on Election Day.

author About the author
Diane Nilan
Diane is the founder and boss lady of Hear Us. A not for profit, advocating for homeless children nationwide. Learn more at
Hear Us

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