America’s hypocrisy about parents, children, and families.

For months now we’ve all been informed about the refugee crisis at our Mexican border…as our government has intercepted the refugee families…we’ve kidnapped the children and separated them…without rhyme or reason…and without telling the families what was going on. And then apparently forcing unwitting adults to sign paper work giving up their parental rights. Or deporting some 400+ adults to their native country without ever reuniting them with their children…children that we still have incarcerated within our country…and making the job of reuniting families far more complicated that it should ever be.

And our elected officials in Washington are perfectly fine with it. Most of the president’s supporters are perfectly fine with it. If it weren’t for the courts…we wouldn’t be making any serious effort to reunite families. We have harassed and victimized and brutalized innocent children…and their suffering and grieving parents…and the blood is on all of our hands…this is being done in our name.

So no big deal what happens to children, right? Well when the children aren’t refugees…when they aren’t children of color…the sanctity and protection of children in the US goes to the other extreme.

And we’ve all read examples of this over the last few years, kids left in cars, kids allowed to walk to school, kids allowed to use parks:

We now live in a country where it is seen as abnormal, or even criminal, to allow children to be away from direct adult supervision, even for a second.

And so now children do not walk to school or play in a park on their own. They do not wait in cars. They do not take long walks through the woods or ride bikes along paths or build secret forts while we are inside working or cooking or leading our lives.

As one mother put it to me, “I don’t know if I’m afraid for my kids, or if I’m afraid other people will be afraid and will judge me for my lack of fear.” In other words, risk assessment and moral judgment are intertwined.

American parents who have made rational child care decisions are arrested and charged with child abuse and child neglect for…well…parenting while letting kids be kids…and learn through youthful experience. For details scan through the article, there’s a lot there on how cranky crazy we’ve become. And there are lessons to be learned about social support and social harassment in child rearing.

But my main point here is: because refugees aren’t Americans…because they are primarily people of color…because our president has demeaned them as animals…whatever we do to their children…is well…ok. But heaven forbid that an American parent leave a child unattended for just a rational moment…they are neglectful and abusive parents. WTF is wrong with us?

Considering the freedom I had as a child in the 1950s and early 1960s, my mother would still be doing hard time!


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