What about the children?
By Betty Wade Coyle
As I waited for the final results of Tuesday’s election, I felt nothing but sadness for our country. Living in a swing state has only magnified that feeling.
During every election I put the same campaign sign in my yard: “I’m voting for kids.” After voting this time, however, I was not sure what either presidential candidate was going to do for kids, at least not until the children are old enough to get jobs.
The economy and jobs are all the candidates seemed to focus on. I listened to the debates, hoping to hear about children’s issues; instead, what I heard were a few platitudes mentioning education and family. The TV ads, phone calls and emails didn’t talk about children, either.
When candidates were asked serious questions, they didn’t want to answer, so they spouted flowery statements charged with politically correct words devoid of substantive meaning. Or they didn’t respond at all.
It appears that our nation’s voters are so susceptible to manipulation by a media funded by the megarich that voters are treated as little more than chips in a grand national casino game, moving from one side of the table to the other based on whims and winds rather than intellect and intent.
If children could vote, they would probably make more rational decisions than their parents and grandparents because they know what they want and how to voice their desires, which ultimately are very basic. They want food, clothing, shelter, good health and loving care.
While we all want those basic needs covered, we did not hear the candidates say much about how we would get them – except through working. But what if we couldn’t work? What if we were children? Or too old? Or too sick?
If children could vote, they would also want schools where they could be safe and learn the skills they would need to get jobs. But do most candidates really know about what most American children want? They live in comfort and safety, and their children go to the best private schools. As elected officials become more elite, our children sink further into poverty.
For our children’s sake, I hope we all demand from our elected officials real answers and real action and less rhetoric designed to win the next election.
I dream of a world that reins in the excess, waste, bickering and posturing that elections in this country have become. I dream of an electorate that can see beyond the next election, face truths and work together.
Unless we are able to control our generation’s excesses, there will be little left of our once-great democracy to pass on to our children.
In the Masai tribe in Africa, people traditionally greet each other with this question: “How are the children?” The expected response is “All the children are well.” Because, simply stated, society is well when the children are well.
Mr. President, how do you answer the questions: “How are the children?” and “How will they be after four more years?”
Betty Wade Coyle is executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads. Email: email@example.com.