The old Chestnut "The Greatest Love of All" starts with the phrase, "I believe that children are our future". Now, in the future that song referenced, we as adults would do well to ask ourselves if we really believe that anymore. Recent developments, locally and in DC, conspire to make us appear to be the most hypocritical grown folks in a very long time. If we look at the facts, we really have no intention to teach our kids well and let them lead the way. Consider the cold hard facts, the inconvenient truth.
Last week I wrote about the hostage taking of American college kids by a Congress seemingly best on reducing the national debt on their backs. Turns out that was only the beginning. Look closely at the debt reduction deal that House Republicans voted on after welching on the original, and you might notice a cut in the food stamp program. That cut would mean that 300,000 children would lose access to the program. That's 300,000 children who, last I checked, didn't do anything to John Boehner and his Fools on the Hill. While this is a serious blow to poor children, it's not the only one.
Here in New York City, our mayor has decided to balance the budget on the backs of kids to the tune of 30,000 day care slots lost. Oh, and did I mention that after school programs have been cut as well? Maybe it's because children don't vote, and the people who run corporations do. After all, corporations are people, even if we treat kids like they're not. And the icing on the cake, as if we needed any, if what's happening to young black and Latin men in good old NYC. The NYPD's Stop and Frisk program has managed to nail over 168,000 young black men aged 14-24 last year. Trouble is, there are only 158,000 young black men living in the city. You do the math.
Now every adult in America is a screaming hypocrite when it comes to children and young people. President Obama has done his level best to put aside federal dollars for summer youth jobs. He's also got commitments from the private sector to create a decent number for this summer. He's leading the fight to keep higher education affordable for those depending on it for a better life. Yet he can't do it alone. It's time for those of us who have been around long enough to push back against the gutting of our kids' future. The food stamp cutters, higher education impeders, stop and friskers, and day care slashers can't be allowed to do their work unimpeded.
I for one don't want my 15 year old daughter to look back at this time and ask herself, what were the adults thinking? Do you?
Mark, your essay raises facts and questions that, if we were to take them all seriously and to heart, would move and sane decent human being to strongly wish to change the sick sad status quo to which you are pointing.
It all comes down to the degree to which we wish to be merely passively entertained and diverted versus the degree to which we wish to become able to actively take responsibility for addressing the complex of assaults on our children and on our future which you pose above.
I have no pithy facile answers. It comes down (up!) to our willingness to share and struggle collectively and individually.........and, I dare say we are MUCH more effective when we can find ways to share common visions and to work with each other in pursuit of common aims.
I've marched in demonstrations where we chant, "the people...united...will never be defeated!" A seemingly simple affirmation......but it raises all maner of questions re who *are* we the people? What does it mean to be united" What would victory look like?
Your show, and WWRL, has a role to play in helping people to be better able to ask and answer all of these questions (all while still paying the bills! ;-)...and, you're doing a great job! Thank you!
I fear for the future of all young people. They try to afford college, which is getting more and more unaffordable. There are fewer and fewer decent jobs for recent college graduates. And, if ou don't go to college, forget it.
Not content with wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare, the right-wing also wants interest on student loans to double, or perhaps, triple.
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When confronted with the amount of absenteeism, our dear mayor blames the parents, instead of making school more interesting.
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