Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Hurting children

Americans posture and puff about their commitment to children. From the lip service we pay about education, to our indignation we exhibit if anyone dares to question our inadequate parenting skills, Americans talk a good game about children. Rarely however, do we back it up. A good case in point is how our schools continue to fail large numbers of children, leaving them ill-prepared for life after school, yet little is done to bring about any substantive reforms that benefit all children, not just a handful.

From the government we choose, to the services that are taken away, our nation cares very little about our children. If we in fact did care, we'd address the issues that plague children during childhood and adequately care for them, rather than engaging in moral posturing.

A good anecdote for this is the specter of seeing a parent physically abuse their children in public and being foolish enough to intervene (been there, done that); this is a good illustration of disconnect I'm talking about between what we say and what we do. Anyone who's been in that unenviable position has heard some parent, whose just beat the crap out of their defenseless kid in public, utter the refrain, "Don't tell me how to raise my kids,"; yeah, just go right on beating the crap out of them, because as a parent, it's your right.

Molly Ivins latest column is a case in point concerning the Bush administration's utter lack of concern for children. I know conservatives, the enablers that they are, will justify whatever this administration does and doesn't take kindly to anyone who points out there shortcomings; remember "Don't tell me how to raise my kids....."? As Ivins points out, the budget shenanigans and the funding for the empire's expansion is being done on the backs of one group in particular; our children.

As Ivins writes, "Budgets are the guts of government. That's where you find the answer to the first of the three important questions about who runs a society: Who's getting screwed? Who's doing the screwing? And what the hell will they do to us next?

There was a time when reporters actually read budgets to find out what was going on, but the things are so humongous these days, we've given up on that. Consequently, there's usually a bit of a pause after a budget comes out, while we wait to hear from the various special interest groups that study their own section of a budget in minute detail. Then, the screaming from injured parties commences, and the press presumably sits up and takes note of who's screaming loudest.

With President Bush's proposed budget, may it die in committee, no pause is necessary. Read any overview of the proposal, and you can see exactly who's getting screwed: children."

I'd encourage you to read Ivin's latest; it's a good one!

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