I’m about to express one of the most radical statements an American can say. It’s against the mantra that I’ve heard most of my adult life and you have, too. It’s one most have believed, especially since it is attached to every issue raised in politics, from the understandable one of education to global warming to the food we eat.
What is it? It’s obvious. It’s the refrain heard across the nation: “It’s for the children.”
What that phrase really means is that society should put the needs of little children above everyone else. It means we should ignore the current problems adults have and put them aside for the bright, glittery future of our little ones. It means that taxes raised so high now that parents have trouble providing for said children are our duty. It means that people who have put their own children through private school or those who have no children must still shell out for generations of young ones down the road. It means that education must take precedence over terrorism, the high cost of energy, recession/depression, job loss and dwindling health care. It means that state and federal legislators must never stop pressing for money and new programs.
Do it “for the children” also means there is never enough money to achieve the high level we have put on educating these kids. In Memphis, it is about $19,000 per student, but that still isn’t enough even though it’s more than enough for schools like St. Mary’s, CBHS and MUS. In liberal politicians’ minds this is a perfect concept because how can we ever put a price on our children’s future? It is the wellspring for money that will never stop flowing.
If you don’t think everything should be about the children, you should be shunned because you’re almost as bad as a racist, or you probably are one. It means that you are a selfish idiot only seeking your own pleasure, enjoyment and accumulation of wealth. You should be willing to give schools money for three meals a day, plus weekend meals, along with two pairs of glasses for the poor sighted ones, day care, after school day care and job help.
It also means that charities, churches and philanthropists can’t be trusted to carry out any of this. It must be federally regulated and administered.
It means that if you don’t embrace their philosophy totally, you are the enemy. There isn’t any room for anything but their way.
But look around. We’re not living in Dickens’ industrial revolution London. Kids aren’t begging on the street or going to factories at age 6 to help the family get by. Emergency rooms don’t turn them away. Utilities are provided for the poor so they aren’t shivering around an open flame.
Not that there shouldn’t be some help. But is the help now doing any good? Could I dare to suggest that maybe we have it upside down? If the parents can flourish in a prosperous economy, wouldn’t that take care of a lot of the problems?
If the climate was open to the free market with less regulation, more people could find jobs. If the entrepreneurial spirit was let loose, more could climb the ladder of success. If the government stopped discriminating against the family and tearing it down maybe we’d have more responsible fathers ready to take care of their own. If welfare wasn’t foisted on so many maybe they wouldn’t rely on it so heavily and take on the responsibility. If schools were more closely tied to the neighborhood, maybe the demand for a good education would come from parents insisting on it.
Why should one group be singled out for all the attention of the nation? Maybe it’s time to recognize that all Americans have rights. Maybe the nation needs to grow up.