My Facebook has been lit up lately with news of various politicians cutting back welfare, or denying it entirely for people who have committed this egregious act or that. Most often it is drug addicts who are the target, but I also see “bad parents” (whatever that means,) felons, and the very occasional lesser known groups (job hoppers once and a while are thrown under the bus.) Through all this one group is consistently neglected or downplayed through extreme verbal legerdemain. Too often those that count themselves as champions of “family values” (again, whatever that means) are willfully ignorant about what their preferred policies will do to children.
What escapes too many people’s notice, though others have written about this as well, is that so very often, these are the same people that rally around their other pet causes around cries of “for the children.” We must continue to wage a racist war on drugs “for the children.” We must monitor, regulate, and even ban what consenting adults do behind closed doors “for the children.” We must censor the efforts of the artist “for the children.” Yet when it comes time to save less than a penny on the dollar in order to express our ire with “layabouts” we are willing to starve children to death.
We have seen states move to deny welfare recipients who test positive for drugs (oh, and spend more money than we were in the process.) I have listened to folks in a meeting of progressives argue that parents of children failing in school should have their benefits taken away. How do either of these help the children? Why should a child, a member of any society’s most vulnerable population, be made to pay the price for their parents’ supposed shortcomings? If you actually have to think, more than a second, about that answer, there is a long list of other questions you need to answer for yourself. I would recommend a good year worth of self examination.
One of the truly sad wrinkles in all this mess is so many of those willing to punish these kids for problems not of their creation claim to be Christians. I say “claim” because I have known too many Christians that do live by the words of Christ. I know too many who know that this casual cruelty and anger towards the poor are both contrary to the teachings of the New Testament. No, at the risk of sounding overly judgmental, I have to say that these “Christians” values are twisted and their faith shallow.
The thing is, those of us who recognize this for what it is need to act more. We need to get involved with our local, state, and yes federal politics. We need to make sure to get sane, compassionate people in office. We need to call out those who speak with cruelty and anger towards those who cannot stand for themselves. I know it is a point I beat to death, but our “conservative” family members so often have no compunctions about sharing the “wisdom” that Fox news and their ilk impart upon them, we have to be just as verbose. If we sit quietly and let them dictate our policy, if our silence is taken as tacit approval, we are just as much to blame. We cannot let that be the case anymore. We have to push back against the forces of greed, envy, and hate. We have to do it: for the children.
- Obama: Economic justice is the “great unfinished business” of March on Washington (cbsnews.com)
- Broken homes, poverty push juveniles to crime (thehindu.com)
- Activists Highlight MLK’s Economic Justice Stance On Mag Mile (chicagoist.com)
- Inequality in Britain: too many children are born to fail. Why? | Observer editorial (theguardian.com)