I watch the news.


I watch the news a lot.  I’m kind of a current events junkie, I guess.

And all that reporting is making me wonder about something.

Does this country really care at all about its children? I’m not sure.

Oh, I know, I know. We buy them everything they could want.  X Boxes and iPhones, Nikes and Kindles and snowboards and laptops. We surround them with stuff. So I guess we sort of care about them.

Especially if they happen to be our own.

And I guess we do think about their safety.  Look at the whole carseat situation. Kids are supposed to be in a car seat until they are 4 foot 9.  Yikes.  And we make sure they wear bike helmets, too.   So I suppose we do worry about keeping them safe.

Especially if they happen to be our own.

But as a nation, do we really value them very much?   I’m not sure.

If we did value children, wouldn’t we guarantee that every one of them had access to the best in health care?  Seems to me that we would.                                                                         Wouldn’t we make sure that they could all go to school in a state-of-the-art school building?  Like, with heat and lights and all that?                                                                       If we really, truly, valued our children wouldn’t we make sure that they all had a roof over their heads?

If we were a nation that honestly put our children’s needs before our own, wouldn’t we pass  gun laws to make sure that they wouldn’t get shot to death in the classroom, the movie theater, the mall, the neighborhood playground?  Wouldn’t we at least try to make it harder for people to slaughter them?

See, I watch the news.  It seems to me that if we valued the next generation, we would understand that sometimes adolescent depression overcomes adolescent impulse control. We would recognize that life is a struggle, and we’d make it a whole lot harder for those sad young men to escape that life.  We’d make it harder for them to take others with them when they lash out at the world.

If we valued our children, we would try to keep weapons away from the angry, the delusional, the insane, the evil.  We wouldn’t delude ourselves into thinking that better locks and thicker glass and lockdown drills could really keep our babies safe.

I watch the news. It seems to me that if we truly valued our children, we would refuse to make them into millionaire demi-gods at the age of fifteen and then expect them to grow up into mentally healthy, responsible adults. We would be smart enough to know that you can’t hand world fame and unlimited money and power to a kid and then just set him loose.  Where were the caring adults to show Lindsey Lohan or Justin Bieber  how to make good decisions in life? I don’t know.  But if we loved our kids, we wouldn’t be trading snarky Twitter comments about their hair as they crash and burn. We’d be owning up to our own culpability and we’d be working hard to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

Does this nation really, truly value its children?

Sadly, I honestly don’t think that I can say ‘yes’.

14 thoughts on “I watch the news.

  1. Ah Karen – you know the deepest question is how can we change the paradigm – occupy? Education reform? Political engagement? most of us are relegated to grass roots – doing our very best everyday, the hardest, slowest most unforgiving route. Your words do bolster our sometimes flagging morale.

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    • I’m glad that you felt “bolstered”; I am feeling incredibly unnerved and pessimistic…..I keep thinking of those young people dead at the mall! It could be my Matt or Tim…..or Sam….or any of them.
      Why don’t we even try to make it better?

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  2. There are a lot of things this nation values. And I’m not sure if we value the things that matter most, people. Thank you for sharing your mind. It’s comforting to know we are connected in this uncertainty.

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    • I kind of think that we talk a good story: “Greatest nation in history”, “American Exceptionalism”. But kids can go missing for months (as happened here in Central Mass this fall) and no one even notices.
      I just don’t think that we have progressed very far since the Industrial Revolution.

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  3. Absolutely agree. I can’t say my answer is “yes” either. But I don’t think it is necessarily about safety. I think it is about systems of violence. We live in a society that perpetuates violence as an answer. To me, that includes mass incarceration (that had unequal outcomes depending on your level of privilege), the media, entertainment industry, rape culture, the death penalty, even abortion to a degree (I’m pro-choice, btw). I don’t know what the answer is but for me a big first step would be to even acknowledge we have a problem. Not all people believe we do.

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