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That is the opening sentence of The Kids Are (Not) All Right, the column in today's New York Times by Charles M. Blow.

He looks at comparative statistics from UNICEF, and US specific statistics from The Children's Defense Fund

Considering just some of the former -  among the countries examined America's children have the highest rate of children overweight - not necessarily something about which we want to brag "we're #1!"  

From the UNICEF report, titled "Child Well-Being in Rich Countries" Blow notes

the United States once again ranked among the worst wealthy countries for children, coming in 26th place of 29 countries included. Only Lithuania, Latvia and Romania placed lower, and those were among the poorest countries assessed in the study.
Some of the statistics from CDF, which are presented on a daily basis, include:

2 mothers die in childbirth.
4 children are killed by abuse or neglect.
5 children or teens commit suicide.
7 children or teens are killed by firearms.

I will come back to the last of those in moment.

As a teacher by profession, I also noted the last statistic:
16,244 public school students are suspended.  (that is based on a 180 day school year).

There is much more.

It is clear that for all our rhetoric about the importance of our children, our public policy does not reflect that, not when we consider ALL of our children, including those children of "those people" - the poor, the minorities.

Blow notes

We have the highest teen fertility rate, and among the highest infant mortality rates. We have one of the lowest child immunization rates and lowest average birth weights.
 Our children as compared to those of other nations do not feel as positively about their own lives.

There are so many statistics one can cite, either from UNICEF or from CDF.

Blow writes

We have the third highest homicide rate among developed countries, according to Unicef. And according to a December Gallup poll, a third of parents fear for their children’s physical safety at school, and most believe it’s likely that a shooting like the one in Newtown, Conn., could happen in their communities.
And yet, despite Newtown, we saw the abominable vote today in the United States Senate.  

Blow does comment on that.

We do not truly care for all our children.

We might note the upset at Newtown, even as we ignore the ongoing slaughter of young people who live in our inner cities or those who are in environments that might be white and middle class in the suburbs but where firearms are not properly secured.

Consider this:  Virginia Tech is now 6 years past.  Since then more than 187,000 Americans have died from guns.

Consider this:  corporate profits are at an all-time high, but childhood poverty and malnourishment are both increasing despite the wealth that is being accumulated - by some, who are somehow able to do so at the expense of the wellbeing of other, including many of our children.

Read the Blow piece.

Pass it on.

Then remember these words from Hubert Humphrey which once again I will offer:

It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.
We need look no further than the dawn of life, the children.  The statistics do not lie, by that standard we fail the moral test.

Yesterday the United States Senate compounded that failure when the lost lives of the 2o children of Newtown, the ongoing loss of 7 children/teens per day to guns violence, were insufficient to move a sufficient number of Senators to take the most minimal of actions to curb that violence.

Blow reminds us that the failure is of our politicians and also of our parents.

He writes

We need smart and courageous parenting, as well as policies that invest time and money, love and understanding in our children.
That is true.

He then concludes with this warning:  

Failures sown one season will surely bloom the next.
Yesterday the United States Senate failed.

That is notable.

As a result more children will die unnecessarily.  So will adults.

It is not the only way we fail our children.

Consider that, as I repeat those words:

It is not the only way we fail our children.

To fail our children is to condemn our society as immoral, for it is our responsibility to nurture and protect them.

Charles M. Blow has written words that should remind us of our ongoing failures.

Failures.  Plural.

The problem is identified.  The problem is named.

Now will we as a society demand that we do something about it?

I wonder.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you, Teacherken. (11+ / 0-)

    Until we take concerted mass action such as was seen in Egypt, Argentina, and so many other countries, I fear that there is no hope for positive change.

    The people of the USA are still too comfortable, and don't even realize that in other countries, people are living better lives, lives that we could have here.

    Focus on the love! The Republicans can keep the disco.

    by Mr Horrible on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 10:11:07 PM PDT

  •  I hope this speaks to people (6+ / 0-)

    by that I mean not only the Blow column, but in this case also what I have to add.

    I hope that.

    I will be satisfied if people go read the Blow, then share it with others.

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 10:11:48 PM PDT

  •  We have failed our children because of... (17+ / 0-)

    LAWYERS, GUNS and MONEY. It's NOT just GUNS. Dr. Henry Giroux writes about this stuff all the time. So do many others. We lost the GUN fight for the same reasons Democrats are losing so many other issues that advocate on behalf of Main Street. Across the Board, it's the MONEY (that pays the lawyers and buys the guns, etc., etc.) that runs BOTH parties. It's the CORRUPTION. It's very much a bipartisan problem. What's the solution? Firing Harry Reid and putting Wall Street's top Senator in his place? (No names are needed here. And, putting "the other guy" in charge of the Senate Banking Committee, instead of Sherrod Brown, is only going to exacerbate our problems, as well.)

    Climate change? The problem: It's the MONEY.

    Rising healthcare costs? The problem: It's the MONEY.

    Jobs? The problem: It's the MONEY.

    Income Inequality? The problem: It's the MONEY.

    ...and, so on, and so forth...

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 10:18:17 PM PDT

    •  Control laws aren't enough. Resources are needed. (5+ / 0-)

      We won't fix teen fertility rates, infant mortality rates, child immunization rates and low infant birth weights with gun control laws.  

      At some point, we have to put our money where our mouth is.

      •  And, we're not going to fix rising student debt... (9+ / 0-)

        ...which leads to little more than debt servitude, still-increasing income inequality, global climate change, totally unacceptably high unemployment for youth and young adults and a vast array of other converging emergencies which all paint an EXTREMELY BLEAK picture for our kids unless we address the roots of the problem...and incremental change would be too slow to address that now, quite frankly. And, I hate to say it, but it would be too dishonest (guilt by omission as it were) not to bring it up, but it's this: The Citizen's United matter relating to our overpowering corporatocracy is about to get a hell of a lot worse in coming months (making the Citizens United matter look like child's play), because the leaders of our own Party have totally embraced all efforts to steamroll THIS STEALTHY ISSUE right through our government (and it's happening as we blog). At that point, there'll be no turning back...

        TransPacific Partnership Will Undermine Democracy, Empower Transnational Corporations
        By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese,
        Truthout | News Analysis
        Wednesday, 27 March 2013 09:12

        On critical issues, the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated in secret by the Obama administration will undermine democracy in the United States and around the world and further empower transnational corporations. It will circumvent protections for health care, wages, labor rights, consumers' rights and the environment, and decrease regulation of big finance and risky investment practices.

        The only way this treaty, which will be very unpopular with the American people once they are aware of it, can be approved is if the Obama administration avoids the democratic process by using an authority known as "Fast Track," which limits the constitutional checks and balances of Congress.

        If the TPP is approved, the sovereignty of the United States and other member nations will be dissipated by trade tribunals that favor corporate power and force national laws to be subservient to corporate interests.

        Circumventing the Checks and Balances of US Democracy
        President Nixon first developed the idea of "Fast Track" in 1973 as a way to secure Congressional approval of trade agreements, and it has been a key to passing many unpopular agreements such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and NAFTA. As people have caught on to the offshoring of jobs and other detrimental consequences of these agreements, civil society now understands how important it is to not allow a president to circumvent the democratic role of Congress. Fast Track expired in 2007, so President Obama must have it re-instated in order to pass the TPP. His administration is moving to have Fast Track approved and hopes it will happen by this summer...

        Dragging Secretive Trade Talks Into the Light: Activists Expose Slow-Motion Corporate Coup
        Lori Wallach
        December 5, 2012

        …Most of the TPP’s proposed provisions instead comprise a  corporate power grab. The TPP would include extreme protections for foreign investors, which would help corporations offshore American jobs to low-wage countries. These terms would require governments to provide foreign investors a guaranteed “minimum standard of treatment” when they relocate, including special privileges and rights that domestic firms and investors do not enjoy. Foreign firms—or foreign subsidiaries of U.S. firms—could extract unlimited amounts of taxpayer money as compensation when investors claim that U.S. government actions undermine a corporation’s expected future profits.  Seriously.

        Equal Status for Corporations and Country

        The investor rules would elevate individual foreign firms and investors to the same status as the sovereign nations that would be party to the TPP. Corporations and investors would be empowered to privately enforce the agreement by suing a signatory government before the World Bank and other foreign tribunals. In this “investor-state dispute resolution,” three private-sector lawyers, who rotate between suing governments and acting as “judges,” could order governments to pay large amounts of our tax dollars to investors who do not want to follow the same laws as domestic firms…

        Just this past weekend, Japan agreed to sign-on to the TPP…so much for the resurgence of the U.S. auto industry…in America!
        How will U.S. Automakers React to Obama’s Invitation to Japan?
        By Mont Cessna
        Wall Street Cheat Sheet
        April 14, 2013

        The Obama administration said on Friday that Japan is allowed to join 11-nation free-trade talks called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The partnership’s goal is creating a free-trade zone that would would include 40 percent of the world’s economy. U.S. automakers and the United Auto Workers union are both strongly opposed to Japan’s entry to the talks, according to Detroit News.

        Japan is the third-largest economy in the world. According to U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, Michigan, Japanese automakers sold 5.3 million vehicles in the US in 2012–almost 40 percent of total U.S. auto sales . U.S. automakers only sold 13,367 vehicles in Japan during the same year. Only six percent of auto sales in Japan are imports.

        The reaction of the U.S. automotive industry since Japan was invited to join free-trade talks has been swift. The president of the American Automotive Policy Council–a trade  association that represents Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers (NYSE:GM)(NYSE:F)(NYSE:TM)–said, “It is stunning that the U.S. government would endorse a trade policy that puts the industry at a competitive disadvantage and comes at the cost of American auto job.” The United Automotive Workers union said, “There absolutely should be no phase-out of any passenger car, light truck and auto parts tariffs until there is concrete, measurable progress on these critical economic issues.”

        Also from earlier this month (and see the video at the top of this comment)…the TPP will make pharmaceuticals much more expensive for the rest of the world…Big Pharma’s price gouging won’t just be for Americans anymore!
        Nile Bowie—Counterpunch--Neoliberal Overload (TPP)
        by NILE BOWIE
        April 3rd, 2013

        One of the least discussed and least reported issues is the Obama administration’s effort to bring the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to the forefront, an oppressive plurilateral US-led free trade agreement currently being negotiated with several Pacific Rim countries. Six hundred US corporate advisors have negotiated and had input into the TPP, and the proposed draft text has not been made available to the public, the press or policymakers. The level of secrecy surrounding the agreements is unparalleled – paramilitary teams scatter outside the premise of each round of discussions while helicopters loom overhead – media outlets impose a near-total blackout of reportage on the subject and US Senator Ron Wyden, the Chair of the Congressional Committee with jurisdiction over TPP, was denied access to the negotiation texts. “The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations — like Halliburton, Chevron, PhaRMA, Comcast and the Motion Picture Association of America — are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement,” said Wyden, in a floor statement to Congress.

        In addition to the United States, the countries participating in the negotiations include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Japan has expressed its desire to become a negotiating partner, but not yet joined negotiation, partly due to public pressure to steer-clear. The TPP would impose punishing regulations that give multinational corporations unprecedented rights to demand taxpayer compensation for policies they think will undermine their expected future profits straight from the treasuries of participating nations – it would push the agenda of Big PhaRMA in the developing world to impose longer monopoly controls on drugs, drastically limiting access to affordable generic medications that people depend on. The TPP would undermine food safety by limiting labeling and forcing countries like the United States to import food that fails to meet its national safety standards, in addition to banning Buy America or Buy Local preferences…

        And, we’re just scratching the surface….you really should read the links above to learn more about how the TPP will fast-track the destruction of our planet…and the list of the one percent’s devastation of our world—handed to it by none other than our government—apparently, goes on…

        …again, this will make the Citizens United SCOTUS decision look like child’s play!

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 10:41:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Really sad, this information. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, blueoasis

    So much for the American Exceptionalism we've always
    been steeped in, eh?

  •  Another common denominator seems to be... (7+ / 0-)

    ...the inability of most people in America to learn from other countries.

    To the degree that people believe that "We are #1" and we have nothing to learn from ANY of the other 200+ countries we will keep falling behind.

    The Democracy Index published every year by The Economist shows us dropping our score and becoming a borderline "flawed democracy".

    My pet peeve is our healthcare system. All we would have to do is look at Canada, but we wont even do that.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 11:23:56 PM PDT

    •  Flawed Democracy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, shypuffadder, Shockwave

      When democrats can get 1.5 million more votes in congress elections and still have some 30 seats less  than the republicans, and a state like Wyoming with a population of 570,000 sends the same number of senators as California with a population of thirty million, then yes, your democracy is severely flawed.

      A system that might have been appropriate 200 odd years ago, when California was just a wasteland needs some serious upgrading to face the changes. Unfortunately, it's the politicians that would need to take action, and they and their 1% supporters would be the losers, so don't expect any action on this front.

    •  In The Economist's rankings (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gulfgal98, Shockwave

      ..after "full democracy," and "flawed democracy" should be "breaking democracy" and "broken democracy."

      Thanks for the link, PDF and all.

      We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both - Louis D. Brandeis

      by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 04:28:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Despite facts, people refuse to believe Canada (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      has it better. Their own docotrs feed them horror stories ( i've had Drs do this to me many times ) and they always say well have you lived there? "Cause my third unlce twice removed died from prostate cancer cause they wouldn't treat him for it." response nowadays is how do you know the moon isn't made of blue cheese since you've never been there?

      •  something that struck me (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, leftangler

        my wife is in part descended from someone who went North as a Tory to get away from the American Revolution (which is of course offset by the ancestor who was a Revolutionary War general).   She has twice been to extended family reunions on Prince Edward Island.

        Some of her Canadian relatives are quite politically conservative.  Yes ALL of them spoke highly of their health system.  

        It is an anecdote, or if you will, multiple anecdotes, and I am aware the plural of anecdote is not data.   Still, take it for what it is worth.

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 05:01:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  As an older liberal I'm used to seeing articles (7+ / 0-)

    like this -- so it seems that articles like this haven't shaken "us" up in a long time.

    It starts with the fact that we spend more on weapons and war than the whole rest of the world combined.

    The Harper's index said that in the last few decades while spending on California's public universities had fallen, spending on prisons had quadrupled.

    And on and on it goes... what America is best at is having fucked up priorities.

  •  As with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, eightlivesleft

    steroids in sports, we let the whole thing get way out of hand over the past twenty years. Unlike steroids, I don't think there's any way to put the genie back in the bottle.

    The guns (or other methods, such as ricin or anthrax) will be used against us before they are truly controlled, it seems. And there are enough assault weapons out there to terrorize us indefinitely...

    We're committed to waging our wars non-violently, but that's not true of the radicals on the Right.

    Frankly, I'd rather take down Exxon or Goldman Sachs, the way we're taking down RushBeckistan, than elect another "better" Democrat who's going to wind up singing for the bankster choir.

    by Words In Action on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 04:33:52 AM PDT

  •  Love the fetus (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    hate the child.

    being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 05:43:29 AM PDT

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