Who Cares For The Children?


I have just learned a truly disturbing fact from the organization known as Comic Relief. You know which group I'm talking about. Fronted by Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal, this magnificent charity organizes the yearly event which, with celebrities donating their time and talent, collects donations which, as of the last couple of years, have been put to the best use I can imagine. Instead of just feeding the homeless for a day or a week, they have opened health clinics across America to provide the care that too many Americans refuse to provide for anyone else, let alone the most deserving.

This disturbing information, at least disturbing for any American still capable of caring for the most helpless segment of our world, is that the average age of the homeless coming to Comic Relief's clinics for assistance is now nine years old. That's right, gentle readers, children now make up the majority of the homeless population in America.

Do you feel the same shame that I feel at this revelation? Does it make it just a bit harder to go to bed in a warm, safe and comfortable room? When you sit down to your table filled with meat and yams and candy and breads this Christmas, will you be able to forget the fact that tens of thousands of children in America, possibly in the alley behind your home, are celebrating the holiday season by walking to the nearest food bank or Salvation Army location to stand in line for that most basic of necessities, a warm, healthful meal? Will you be able to ignore them as you glance out of your cheery little home with all of your Christmas decorations and the beautifully lit tree and all of your wonderful presents, barely noticing them as they make their way back to the cardboard box or the bushes that they call home? As you send your children off to school in the morning, will your heart ache just a little for those hungry, powerless children whose only school is the street and their lessons the hardest of all; pure daily survival in a world where far too many Americans would rather pretend that poverty and hopelessness does not exist while they spend another day in the unholy pursuit of greater wealth?

Is there any among you all, gentle readers, who can honestly state that the sight of a child in desperate need does not tear at your heart? Is there any among you that has such a stony soul that when faced with this terrible truth your government presents you with, that no politician speaks out for these defenseless little souls, then do you find no tears to shed?

If you believe yourself to be a Christian, how can you completely ignore the demand of your God to feed and protect the least powerful among you? How, in the name of all that is holy, can you pretend to love God when you allow His children to suffer each and every day in the most deplorable of conditions? Why, from so many Christian organizations on every television channel, is there such a hue and cry to feed the Haitians and the Africans and all of the other nations but there is no such sympathy for our own children?

We must force our nation's course away from the adoration and glorification of simple wealth and back towards the ideal that too many Americans now abhor; that we are completely responsible for the children in our midst. We are, at the moment, the most powerful country on the face of the earth but we appear to be helpless in the face of the misery and pain that is the daily fare for tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of our children.

It is time to change our nation's current motto of "The business of America is business". This is the most contemptible of beliefs. No, instead we must daily chant the true principle of America and that is "The business of America is to care for its youngest citizens".

When we can begin shining the light of decency upon our daily choices and demands, we will see that we are allowing ourselves to be led into a true hell on earth. Every decision that is made by our government must cease to be solely in the interest of business and must be, instead, in the best interest of our children. If each motion and bill which came before Congress was examined with only the question of its effect upon our children, the vast majority of the laws being passed would, instead, pass into the trash can of history.

As adults, we have the power to protect and defend ourselves. Children have absolutely no such power. Our nation, these last twenty years in particular, have constantly squandered the wealth of our world in pursuit only of instant gratification. We pass tax laws which allow the wealthy to become even wealthier by increasing the tax burden and the poorest. We allow the schools in the wealthiest of neighborhoods to offer a wonderful education to the children of the rich while allowing those schools which are all that is available to the poor to become armed encampments where living through the school day is more important than the classroom lessons offered by frightened and frustrated teachers. Instead of repairing those schools as we should, those slaves of the Religious Right in government pretend that giving "vouchers" to the poor and rich alike will somehow magically make the world better when anyone with the sense of a gnat knows that only the rich will benefit through far lower personal expenditures for their children to be allowed into the private schools where they would be sent in any event. All that the poor will benefit will be that they will send their child into corporately owned schools created solely to absorb the taxes we Americans pay for the education of all of our children. The downward spiral for the education of middle-class and poor children will become irreversible too quickly for America to back away from the abyss. In a truly short while, only the wealthiest children will be given a truly useful education which will enable them to hold the white collar positions which pay the most and offer real benefits like health insurance while the rest of America is taught the trades demanded of their "resources" by Corporate America.

I offer this challenge to everyone who reads this and still can feel the pain of the children who are allowed to be damaged by this nation's love of only Corporate America and the money that this cluster of greed offers our politicians. I have written a letter which I have sent to each and every politician who claims to represent my interests and desires. In it, I demand to know exactly what that person intends to do to protect the nation's children and to improve their lives and futures. I tell them that I refuse to accept any excuse regarding somehow assisting these small miracles by passing even more legislation to allow the wealthy to become wealthier at the expense of the rest of us. I do not want to know about any ridiculous Global Economy nor any treaties meant to make it easier to move decent paying jobs out of this nation. I want to know specifically the plan that each offers to insure that our children have every opportunity to live in comfort and happiness, never felling hunger, pain nor fear of what tomorrow may bring.

I will happily provide this letter to anyone who may need it. I encourage each of you to write your own letter as that will carry far more of an impact. Nevertheless, many of you are too busy or distracted to have the time or talent to create your own individual letter. To you I say happily, copy my letter and send it as soon as you can to as many politicians as you can. It doesn't matter if all of the letters are alike. Rather, it deeply matters that the people who have made such a tremendous effort to achieve public office be given instructions from us on the direction we demand our nation be steered. Once the destination is given, then we only lack the national debate to decide the specifics of the journey.

By the by, want to make a difference this holiday season? Want to actually reach out and help a child and their family while you're opening your many presents in your warm and comfortable home? Send a LARGE check to:

Comic Relief
PO BOX 96759
Washington, DC 20077-7194

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Copyright 12/18/98