One of the primary functions of adults in any society should be to protect and support children and leave them a world in which they can thrive.
The devaluing of the lives of our children by the all too powerful minority party—yes, the Republican Party—is shocking. In the words of history scholar, Heather Cox Richardson, the minority G.O.P. “. . . is illustrating its willingness to sacrifice our children on the altar of ideology; stopping those extremists from manipulating the machinery of elections to seize control of the country has become imperative.”
Sadly, for generations, this country, both culturally and especially politically, has put the protection and welfare of our children at a very low priority. But what has happened recently, and at increasing speed, is unimaginably cruel and counter to our national moral values.
For example, according to the Children Defense Fund, an estimated 16,644 children and teens were injured with guns in 2018—one every 32 minutes. Since 1963, nearly 193,000 children and teens have been killed with guns on American soil—more than four times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq wars. In 2020 there were 611 mass shootings, in which many children died. Gun sales are going up.
Many thought that the tipping point of children’s lives being abdicated to guns was the mass murder at Sandy Hook. But that horrific tragedy did not shock our leaders into action.
And next, the climate crisis. The absurd denial of climate change is the justification for the continued support of fossil fuel and other damaging environmental pollutants and behaviors. Greed as well as a lust for power will deprive the children of today a safe, healthy and flourishing earth. . . one that so many of us have been lucky to have had and enjoyed.
Finally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, these Republican leaders and their followers are glaringly, for a reason that I can’t understand, opposing requirements to be vaccinated and to wear masks—even in schools! How can they, in the name of freedom, put children’s lives at risk?
These actions are not only sacrificing our children. They are criminal.