Save the Kids
Many Americans remember those old, tear-inducing commercials on television at 1 AM, urging everyone to “save the children.” These children were usually Africans with distended bellies and skinny limbs. Today this same line may be needed in reference to American children who are more now than ever at risk for sexual molestation, racism, bullying, and other abuses that unabatedly threaten them.
Sometimes the abuse can start before birth. In places like Washington State, during the past 20 years, there has been a 631% increase in children born with drug withdrawal symptoms.The physical and psychological impacts of that opioid exposure are now showing up in school performance. Meanwhile, the renewed push to limit choice, particularly of poor women, can contribute to more kids in homes which cannot afford to care for them.
After birth, children may be under-vaccinated (with consequences like the 2019 quarantine of 300 California university students and staff due to a measles outbreak) or over-medicated (e.g., 75% of toddlers being diagnosed with ADHD are being treated with Adderall or Ritalin).
The stories of child sexual exploitation whether Former Priest Stephen Dougherty or Ariel Castro or Jeffrey Epstein are scarier than any horror movie. The Internet has made child pornography one of the fastest growing online industries the past decade.
In 2019, Black parents still have to have “the talk” with their children and pray they do not walk too slow or too fast or ever have a broken taillight or get lost in the “wrong” neighborhood, or become one of the Black teens a 2014 study showed are 21% more likely to be killed by police as their white friends.
Small children are taught to hate those who do not look or talk like them or to shun those who have disabilities or are not attractive or sometimes are “too smart.” Other children are stripped from parents, put in cages, and used as “deterrents” for political gain.
Even “our best” children are exploited, instead of being protected, by those who are supposed to be mentoring and nurturing them. Top female Olympic gymnasts and college football players have been sexually assaulted for years.
Sixty years ago, children were taught to “duck and cover” at school to hide from Russian bombs, but no one was killed. Today, they are also taught to hide; but 20 were killed by Americans at Sandy Hook in 2012 and over 200 school shootings have occurred since.
There are many wonderful Americans working daily as teachers, social workers, foster parents, pediatricians, first responders, and others to protect children. But they are overworked, underpaid and underappreciated. So maybe it takes a commercial, maybe it takes a national announcement, but one thing is certain: we need to save the kids.