Mother’s Day and the conservative movement

David Bossie President, Citizens United
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The strength of America comes from the power of the American woman. I have been married for over ten years and my wife Susan and I have four children together ranging in ages from five months to nine years. My wife is the rock of our household who holds everything together. Without her, the family bond that we share would not exist. Susan comes from a long line of conservative American women who not only keep the family unit together but, more importantly, keep our nation together.

Women have long served as the backbone of the conservative movement. From the Founding Mothers of the Republic, to Clare Boothe Luce and Phyllis Schlafly, to today’s “Mama Grizzlies” like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, women have been at the heart of the movement.

Last fall, Citizens United Productions released “Fire from the Heartland,” a film about the awakening of the conservative woman. America is facing a number of challenges due to the failed policies of President Obama, and some of the loudest voices against these policies have been mothers. In the film, Michelle Malkin explains this maternal activism, saying, “We do not want our kids’ and our grandkids’ futures taken away from us and we’re going to stand up and do whatever we need to do to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“Fire from the Heartland” brings female politicians, activists, and commentators together to share their emotional stories of triumph over adversity in the fight for freedom. One of the most striking themes of the film is the impact of motherhood.

Cast member Sonnie Johnson movingly reminds us that a mother doesn’t have to be the woman who gave birth to you. Born to a crack addict and abandoned, Sonnie was raised by an uncle’s girlfriend who had two children of her own but went on welfare so she could take care of her. When she became a mother herself, Sonnie found a renewed strength to stick to her moral convictions, knowing that one day she would pass her ideals on to her own daughter.

Rep. Michele Bachmann tells the story of her mother’s hardship upon becoming a divorced single mom living on less than $5,000 a year. Through her mother’s financial struggles, Michele learned the value of a dollar. As she recounts in the film, “My mother said to me, ‘Michele, there’s one thing that can never be taken away from you, and it’s your education.’ My mom at that point had lost everything in life and so, when she said that to me, I listened.” Now, as a mother of five and a foster mother for 23 children, Rep. Bachmann is a role model for a new generation of conservative women.

Of course, there would be no Michele Bachmann without women like Phyllis Schlafly. Mrs. Schlafly is the mother of six children, grandmother of 14, and in 1992 was named Illinois Mother of the Year. Phyllis Schlafly led the way in defeating the disastrous ERA and, as President Reagan once wrote in his diary, “Phyllis Schlafly came by. She’s darned effective.” Mrs. Schlafly tells her story in “Fire from the Heartland” with such vigor, you can see why she is an iconic and motherly figure who is greatly revered by modern-day conservative women.

Our country is only as good as its people. As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, reflect on what Alexis de Tocqueville observed of American women during his travels: “if anyone asks me what I think the chief cause of the extraordinary prosperity and growing power of this nation, I should answer that it is due to the superiority of their women.”

America’s women helped conquer the western frontier while their European counterparts sat idly by in parlors sipping tea. Coming from this very same heritage are the women leaders in the conservative movement of today. “Fire from the Heartland” is my tribute to my wife, my mother, and all of the remarkable women who are fanning the flames of liberty across this great nation.

David N. Bossie is the president of Citizens United and Citizens United Productions, and the executive producer of “America at Risk.”