We Don't Really Care About Our Children

We Don’t Really Care About Our Children

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Why do we pretend we care about our children? We like to spout that the “family unit” is sacred, often at the expense of our population as a whole. But let’s get real here, people. Much of the time when we hear talk about the “family unit” or “family values,” what they are actually saying is “HEY, LOOK OVER HERE (*whispers* not over there at the actual issue).” Politicians are professionals at gaslighting. So the next time you hear ominous talk about “the end of the traditional family,” maybe stop to consider what other important issue big Mr. White Shirt and Tie is trying to distract you from.

Because if we cared about the family, and in particular, if we cared about our children, we sure as hell would be doing things differently.

The next time you hear ominous talk about “the end of the traditional family,” maybe stop to consider what other important issue big Mr. White Shirt and Tie is trying to distract you from.

If we cared about our children, they wouldn’t be doing lock-down drills at school because we would have solved the issue of school shootings years ago. Congress would have been held accountable after Sandy Hook when we lost 20 little six and seven-year-old children to an angry white guy with access to an automatic weapon. My kid is six right now and in kindergarten. Some days I feel crippled with anxiety that I won’t see him at the end of the day. Call me weak, or call me realistic. This is the reality of the American school system; there will be a school shooting soon.

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If we cared about our children, one in seven children in our country wouldn’t be considered food insecure. Meanwhile, we continue to talk about lazy parents and poor work ethic. Give me a break. One in seven children potentially going hungry in our “first world country” isn’t an issue of work ethic, it’s an epidemic of poverty. If we cared about our children we would be having real conversations about how to address the wealth disparity and feed the nearly 15% of our children that are hungry.

If we cared about our children, we wouldn’t be facing an immigration crisis where little kids are being put in cages apart from their mothers and fathers. We wouldn’t be blaming children for the actions of their parents and then shrugging our shoulders because “they should have known better.” In fact, let’s be really honest here. We wouldn’t be labeling children as illegal and then trying to act like we have any fucking sympathy for their situation.

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If we cared about our children, we wouldn’t be shrinking their world irreversibly with a disgusting lack of incentives to encourage green living. Do you know how difficult it is to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle in our current social and political climate? Going green absolutely must start at the top with business practices and government incentives that encourage or, more accurately, force corporations to follow through. Stop poisoning our earth and air quality in the name of money. Our children’s heritage isn’t hundred dollar bills, it’s this earth that we live on.

If we cared about our children, we wouldn’t be exponentially raising the costs of childcare. Good quality care wouldn’t be limited to the rich while the rest are sent to scramble to find affordable care that is safe and reliable. Mothers and fathers wouldn’t feel tortured with the decision to lose income and stay home because our society would be designed to support families from the get go with better parental leave policies. We are the only industrialized country with no mandated paid parental leave, despite the mountains of evidence that support parent-child attachment during the first year postpartum. So, stitch it up, suck it up, and get back to work.

Because this is America, where we like to talk about how much the family unit matters. But empty words mean empty promises and inaction. And if the proof is in the pudding, then in reality, we don’t care about our children.