ONTD Political

Does America Hate Its Children?

10:11 am - 12/18/2012
America’s children seem to be shortchanged on almost every issue we face as a society.

Not only are we failing to protect our children from deranged people wielding semi-automatic guns.

We’re not protecting them from poverty. The rate of child poverty keeps rising – even faster than the rate of adult poverty.

And we’re not protecting their health. Rates of child diabetes and asthma continue to climb.

If we go over the “fiscal cliff” without a budget deal, several programs focused on the well-being of children will be axed — education, child nutrition, school lunches, children’s health, Head Start. Even if we avoid the cliff, any “grand bargain” to tame the deficit is likely to jeopardize them.

At the same time, states and localities have been slashing preschool and after-school programs, child care, family services, recreation, and mental-health services.

Why?

Conservatives want to blame parents for not doing their job. But this ignores politics.

The NRA, for example, is one of the most powerful lobbies in America – so powerful, in fact, that our leaders rarely have the courage even to utter the words “gun control.”

A few come forth after a massacre such as occurred in Connecticut to suggest that maybe we could make it slightly more difficult for the mentally ill to obtain assault weapons. But the gun lobby and gun manufacturers routinely count on America’s (and media’s) short attention span to prevent even modest reform.

The AARP is also among the most powerful lobbies, especially when it comes to preserving programs that benefit seniors.

We shouldn’t have to choose between our seniors and children — I’d rather focus on jobs and growth rather than deficit reduction, and sooner cut corporate welfare and defense spending than anything else. But the brute fact is America’s seniors have political clout that matters when spending is being cut, while children don’t.

At the same time, big corporations and the wealthy know how to get and keep tax cuts that are starving federal and state budgets of revenues needed to finance what our children need. Corporations systematically play off one state or city against another for tax concessions and subsidies to stay or move elsewhere, further shrinking revenues available for education, recreation, mental health, and family services.

Meanwhile, advertisers and marketers of junk foods and violent video games have the political heft to ward off regulations designed to protect children from their depredations. The result is an epidemic of childhood diabetes, as well as video mayhem that may harm young minds.

Most parents can’t protect their children from all this. They have all they can do to pay the bills. The median wage keeps falling (adjusted for inflation), benefits are evaporating, job security has disappeared, and even work hours are less predictable.

It seems as if every major interest has political clout – except children. They can’t vote. They don’t make major campaign donations. They can’t hire fleets of lobbyists.

Yet they’re America’s future.

Their parents and grandparents care, of course, as do many other private citizens. But we’re no match for the entrenched interests that dominate American politics.

Whether it’s fighting for reasonable gun regulation, child health and safety overall, or good schools and family services – we can’t have a fair fight as long as special-interest money continues to poison our politics.

Source:  Salon

Note:  First post, so please let me know if I've screwed up something and I will edit.
luminescnece 18th-Dec-2012 04:54 pm (UTC)
Reasons I'm not bearing children until I know I have enough money to avoid putting them in the same situations I was in: all of this.

mutive 18th-Dec-2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's all really sad to me. Because kids can't vote and don't have lobbies, we (the collective, not the individual) choose to short-change them. And we do so little to help out struggling parents.

It always bothers me when people go on and on about how "children are the future" without taking a serious look at how badly we (as a society) treat them.
luminescnece 18th-Dec-2012 05:32 pm (UTC)
The way we treat children is completely in line with the way we treat all of our resources, land, trees, water, atmosphere, children, citizens. All these are resources ruined by or abjectly misused. Children are just a subresource of our entire population of citizens and look how we treat them.

Everything this culture does is pretty consistent, its just that we say we're not doing what we are doing, that we value what we're not doing and that the way we are is perfectly the right way.
____jonas 18th-Dec-2012 05:38 pm (UTC)
I think this is what really screws us over. It's very difficult to change something when you can't even call it what it is. (I hope this makes sense?)
furrygreen 18th-Dec-2012 06:18 pm (UTC)
I think this is what really screws us over. It's very difficult to change something when you can't even call it what it is. (I hope this makes sense?)

I disagree. I think you're mixing up "when you can't even call it what it is" with powerlessness or the lack of an ability to change the system.

For example, 76% of gun owners in the US want tighter restrictions on who can obtain guns in this country. The congress's approval rate in this country is (or was until recently) only 10%. A lot of those companies who refused Obamacare and declared they will cut hours saw significant cuts in their profits only a couple weeks to a month after the announcement to retract that. Compare that to Chik-Fil-A, which saw a great boon.

These questions are being asked and they are being answered. The problem that the gov'n doesn't care. We're a Plutocracy. The goal for lawmakers isn't to do what those that voted them into power want to do. They do the bidding of big business because when they leave that office, they can potentially earn millions as a lobbyist. You just have to follow the money.
mutive 18th-Dec-2012 06:21 pm (UTC)
This is a *very* good point. And explains why even things that people in the US are overwhelmingly in favor of (letting tax rates for very high earners rise, making the capital gains tax higher) never seem to get implemented. *sigh*
furrygreen 18th-Dec-2012 05:10 pm (UTC)
Does America Hate Its Children?

Yes.

Oh, wait. Was this a rhetorical question?
ragnor144 18th-Dec-2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
Considering how much time people, especially social conservatives, spend clutching their pearls wailing, "Think of the children!" you would think that the answer to this would be a resounding "no" but that is obviously not the case. I just wish that the response to people that want to cut social programs, education and block gun control was, "Why do you hate children?"
____jonas 18th-Dec-2012 05:40 pm (UTC)
I really love all the people who are so pro-life, but then argue that we need to cut food stamps to kids because we're making them dependent on the government.

I'm beginning to think the moon colony was a really underrated idea. There are just so many people I'd love to send there.
fishphile 18th-Dec-2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
If we sent people to a moon colony, we'd just be fucking up the moon too.
zhiva_the_mage 18th-Dec-2012 06:16 pm (UTC)
send them to the Sun instead
aviv_b 19th-Dec-2012 03:48 am (UTC)
We are pro-birth, we are not pro-life. Unless its miserable, impoverished life.
mutive 18th-Dec-2012 06:19 pm (UTC)
I'd love it if that was exactly what we (as a society) told them.

"Oh, I see...so you want to cut food stamps? What's with you? DO YOU HATE KIDS?"

Might change politics. (Then again, I'm an optimist.)
kitanabychoice 18th-Dec-2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
If only they'd left video games out of this, I'd be 100% behind this piece. Parents can still choose whether their children play video games and get exposed to varying levels of violence, ffffffss.

Other than that, yeah, I agree with this. Everybody is suffering for the sake of a few people's pockets. It's sickening.
mutive 18th-Dec-2012 07:02 pm (UTC)
I agree on one hand. On the other, I do think that advertisers have waaay more power than they should. And that it's really difficult as a parent to tell your kid, "Yes, every other kid in your class is playing Grand Theft Auto. But because I believe that it's a racist, sexist game that glorifies violence, NO."

Parents are fully able to tell their kids that. (And I think that people should be free to play GTA - I've enjoyed tooling around with it.) But I can see why someone might be concerned about advertising for violence filled TV, movies, and video games. Yeah, kids might not be able to (easily) get their little mitts on them without parental approval. But they can still whine, guilt trip, and often win. And even if they lose, you've just made it so that you have a little kid feeling incredibly resentful that he didn't get to, say, have sex with a prostitute before killing her to get his money back.
missjersey 18th-Dec-2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
You can thank Ronald Reagan for that one. He basically gave advertisers the right to do whatever they wanted in ads for children.
dienaid 19th-Dec-2012 01:25 pm (UTC)
I agree. The mention of violent video games is a smudge on the rest of the piece.
missjersey 18th-Dec-2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
Children are so screwed if things don't change tbh. It's gunna start (and somewhat has already started) with our generation.
aviv_b 19th-Dec-2012 03:49 am (UTC)
If I had children there is no way I'd raise them in the U.S. We love our own children but apparently DGAF about anyone else's. At least that what our policies say.
romp 19th-Dec-2012 04:00 am (UTC)
Well, yes. Not just because children make up many of the people living in poverty. There are smaller signs like how often people complain about children behaving age appropriately in public. I see it to a lesser degree in Canada and saw a bit in England. IDK if it's from the culture or just a sign of entitlement.
mutive 19th-Dec-2012 01:12 pm (UTC)
To be fair, some of the age appropriate stuff is people complaining about children being places where they traditionally wouldn't be. (Five star restaurants.) But I do agree that people complaining about kids running around a supermarket or play ground while acting like kids is pretty eye rolly. (Not to mention the cafes that will allow dogs but not children. I believe that would be Germany, though, not the US.)
romp 19th-Dec-2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
I don't think the 5-star restaurant situation is common, certainly not as common as the daily complaints about children being out in public. I was told by one guy that I should have my 3yo better trained by a guy who'd never raised children (it was a good guess based on the trophy wife with him and he didn't deny it).

When people complain about children being children in the library, I remind them that everyone is welcome there. They don't complain about the retired man sleeping over the newspaper or the guy with Touette's or the deaf woman...but they feel free to complain about the homeless people and children.
mutive 19th-Dec-2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
Yees, that's pretty crazy.

And people are complaining about children in a library? That's...pretty crazy. (Unless they're being really disruptive and you're ignoring them, or trying to use the librarians as sitters.) Kids are supposed to learn to read and love learning from libraries.

People are really strange.
poetic_pixie_13 19th-Dec-2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
Your icon is fantastic and I might just steal it.
romp 19th-Dec-2012 05:34 pm (UTC)
Do it! I just made it last night from an image online and only now have found one in the series with the artist's name visible. It's by Dwayne Bird, a graphic designer in Winnipeg.
crooked_halo 20th-Dec-2012 03:20 am (UTC)
Welcome to the community and what a great first post!

The short answer to the not so rhetorical question is "yes."

Beyond the excellent points made in this article, there is little to no support for parents and our culture/economy is structured in such a way that both parents have to work at least 40 hours a week, leaving very little time and energy for active parenting of their children.

And I will spare you all my rant on how demonized co-sleeping is (based on studies paid for by crib manufacturers) and how that actually might lead to more SIDS deaths.

Long comment summed up-being a parent in this country is extremely frustrating and that's one of the reasons why politics is so important to me because as mentioned in this article, children don't have a group advocating for them which is really unfortunate because we're all losing out by not giving our next generation their best chance for success.
mutive 20th-Dec-2012 01:27 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you. I've been in the comm a bit, but first post to it. (Vs. comment.)

It does bother me more than a little that children have no advocates. (And that parents seem to spend an awful lot of their time bickering about co-sleeping and breast feeding, rather than about things like "how do we pay for college without bankrupting our children?" and "how do we put in an adequate safety net so that if one of us is laid off or dies that the kids don't starve on the street?"

It's so sad to me. We like to claim that children are our future. But federal spending on education (vs. defense, social security, medicare, and medicaid) tell a different story. (As does that we have very lousy programs for making sure that kids get fed + medical treatment.) A few thousand in tax credits doesn't pay the cost of kids by a long shot.
crooked_halo 20th-Dec-2012 11:09 pm (UTC)
You're so right about that. I hate the bickering amongst parents about the "right" way to raise a child and arguing about that instead of looking at why there is so little funding for education, healthcare for children, the safety net as you mentioned.

I also have a special needs child who was just diagnosed with autism and I'm "fortunate" to be in one of the states that actually offers a program that pays for treatment. BUT the waitlist is 18 months. Which is ridiculous, because 18 months of not having that early intervention treatment can make the difference between whether a child with autism has a chance at succeeding by traditional standards in our society or not. So this is definitely an issue that is close to my heart and informs my voting patterns, even if it doesn't seem to be doing a lick of good. The Democrats seem to be more MEH on the subject of the wellbeing of children, which still doesn't help anyone.
mutive 21st-Dec-2012 04:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I get really annoyed by how a great many wealthy parents devote something like 95% of their parenting discussion to how someone else in their wealthy sub-circle is "doing it wrong" (which will cause her children to, IDK, maybe only be in the top 90% percentile vs. 95%), while ignoring that there are kids who are actually dying of malnutrition out there. (And that even in the US, the educational and health care system is pretty ghastly.)

The 18 month thing sounds familiar. My Mom's a social worker and it takes something like 6 months to even get an assessment. Which is pretty crazy, especially as we're talking about people who urgently need treatment. It's really sad. :(

I honestly think that when we say "the children are our future", what we secretly mean is, "White, upper class, non-disabled children are our future. Well, the rest of you are our future, too. IF by "future", you mean "permanent underclass"." *sigh*
crooked_halo 23rd-Dec-2012 04:06 am (UTC)
It took my daughter about 3 months to get into the birth-3 program. And then another 2 months to get into the birth-3 program when we moved to a different county. Even though she had previously had the service. So I can believe 6 months.

And I think you're right, which makes me really really angry.
mutive 23rd-Dec-2012 06:17 am (UTC)
It should make you angry. It's ridiculous that we put up this big to-do about loving children, yet regularly act as though providing basic services to them is too hard/too difficult/too whatever. (And pay those who care for them as little as we can get away with.)

Hell, it's not all that great even for the wealthy. 6 weeks unpaid maternity leave isn't exactly great even for the upper class women who want kids. Sure, it's better for them than it is for the poor (but what isn't?). But saying, "Sure, you get six weeks off (unpaid), but then have to return to work if you want to keep your job. Also, good luck finding infant child care!" doesn't exactly help out the female leaders of the future. (Unless, of course, they want all future female leaders to remain childless.)
roseofjuly 22nd-Dec-2012 06:40 am (UTC)
First of all, just let me say that I hate the words we've been using to describe Adam Lanza? Deranged, crazy, disturbed, troubled, etc. We don't know anything about the young man aside from what unnamed "family friends" quoted in tabloids have said, and distant family members who haven't spoken to him in years. Besides, the focus seems to be on his potential illness instead of the magnitude of what he did. I notice that this rhetoric happens very often with young white male killers - happened in Columbine, and Aurora, now this - they are portrayed as young men who were mentally disturbed and/or tortured by others who just snapped one day, and how sad it was that they fell through the cracks. The discourse around the Virginia Tech shooter, and other shooters of color (DC Beltway comes to mind) were very very very different.

But no, America doesn't hate its children. America hates poor people. The cuts that are cited are all targeted towards keeping wealth with the wealthy and cutting low-income people out of the prosperity. Children are casualties of it but so are women.
mutive 22nd-Dec-2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not very pleased with it, either. We keep trying to diagnose a root cause (and make it match our own desires for what we think needs to be changed) without knowing it. It's pretty disgusting.

Eh, we help the poor elderly more than we do poor children. And rich children can become poor (not that it often happens, but still.). So I'm willing to say we hate our children. Our poor too. But we hate poor children in a way that we don't seem to hate poor pensioners.
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