“Mr. President, how are the children?”

Brain Dropping #95

        African Greeting.  Excerpt from a speech by Reverend Dr. Patrick Neil, First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Framingham, Mass.
        “Among the most accomplished and fabled tribes of Africa, no tribe was considered to have more warriors more fearsome or more intelligent than the mighty Masai.  It is perhaps surprising then to learn the traditional greeting that passed between Masai warriors “Kasserian ingers?” means, “And how are the children?”  Even warriors with no children of their own would always give the traditional answer. “All the children are well!”  Meaning, of course, that peace and safety prevail, that the priorities of protecting the young and the powerless are in place.”
         Wouldn’t it be remarkable if at President Obama’s next press conference, a reporter among the usually sycophantic, careerist press corps would have the nerve to ask: “Mr. President, how are the children?”  And when the President does his usual thing of rhetorical evasion, the reporter would persist and present the following statistics:
              – In a United Nations UNICEF survey among the 41 wealthiest countries, the USA placed 27th in 
                     the well-being of children.                                                                                                         
              – Since the 2008 economic downturn poverty among children has increased 2%, that’s one million
                     point seven children, to a new total of 31% of all children living in poverty.
              – According to the American Institute for Research (Homeless Children America.org) there are two
                     million, four hundred and eighty three thousand homeless children in the USA.  That’s an 8%
                     increase – and 10% or more in thirteen states including Washington D.C.
              – Every country in Europe has subsidized child care, paid maternity leave and direct cash 
                     payments to help with the raising of children.  The USA, the richest country in the world,
                     has none of these benefits.
             –  Pakistan, definitely not one of the wealthiest countries , has a statutory 12 weeks maternity leave  
                     with pay.
             –  Brazil, considered a developing country has direct monthly payments to parents for child raising.
             –  For older children – Germany just eliminated ALL tuition for a university education.
       The good, old U.S. of A has none of these benefits for the sake of the children. I think we’re  risking the waste of generations of talent and potential ability – which bodes ill for the future.  Even with all the supposedly philanthropic billionaires, with all their self-aggrandizing, narcissistic, charitable contributions, and all their bought and paid for men in high places, we still need an answer : the children are not well, Mr. President – what will you do?

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