“Who can turn the world on with her smile?”
Those of us of a certain age know to whom this classic lyric refers: the multi-talented, adorable, Mary Tyler Moore. So begins the theme song of her television hit, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." The show was a groundbreaking sitcom revolving around the trials and tribulations of a single woman during a time when the women’s movement was gaining prominence.
There was one episode I remember because it truly hit home. Mary walks into her boss’s office and demands to know why her predecessor made $50 per week more than she. Without missing a beat, her boss replied, as if Mary was an idiot, “he was a man.” Ba ba bing, cue the laugh track! Like me, I bet many women were not truly amused.
Looking back, Mary — and her production company which produced the show — were taking a stand. Using humor to expose a topic about which she felt very strongly. Throughout her life, there were many issues upon which she took a public stand. What made her so appealing was that she didn’t press her case with rancor or anger. Whether you agreed with her stances or not, you had to just love her.
Last week we lost this fine actress and role model for a generation of young women.
Sad to say these many decades later, women are still fighting to earn equal wages for equal work. Expanding on that issue, on Jan. 21, more than two million people around the world participated in women’s marches in support of reproductive, civil and human rights, perceived to be threatened by the swearing in of President Donald Trump. Those marches were planned and executed without incident, but tempers were running hot.
After the President signed several executive orders last weekend — including a controversial, temporary ban on immigration from seven Arab countries and calling for the further vetting of many other classifications of individuals trying to enter the country — confusion and spontaneous demonstrations erupted at airports across the country.
109 people out of the approximately 325,000 people attempting to enter the U.S. were either sent back from whence they came or were detained for further vetting before being permitted to enter the country. As of Monday morning, according to the White House, none of those 109 people remained in immigration limbo.
By all accounts, the roll-out of this executive order was majorly mishandled, resulting in the mass demonstrations.
When plans for the President to visit a Harley-Davidson factory in Milwaukee on Thursday were released, a massive demonstration was organized. This prompted the company’s decision to cancel the visit.
Harley-Davidson simply didn’t want to deal with the fallout that would ensue from the President’s visit.
I wonder what quietly tenuous Mary would think of these demonstrations. My guess is that, on the one hand, she would be supportive, but I keep coming back to the title she chose for her show’s theme song: “Love is All Around.”