Today’s post was written by our new friend from the North, Maggie’s Bear.
*Mr. Bear and I met the way people and animals usually meet. He followed me home on Twitter, then I fell in love with his blog. (And he was kind enough to contribute a profile to The Parent du Jour.)
MB is a rare find, and not just because he’s a talking ursus arctos horriblis. Flip through the pages of his blog; you’ll find informed commentary on everything from politics to parenting.
That’s right, informed commentary. It’s not extinct.
Here, he talks about how we put entertainment, politics, commerce — just about everything else — ahead of our children’s safety and well being.
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THERE ARE MANY ways to gauge the health of a society. The condition of its economy, the effectiveness of its political leadership, how united or divided the people are on the issues they face and so on. How a society treats its most vulnerable is probably the most accurate form of measure because it speaks to the heart of that society’s
There is no more vulnerable group in our global society than children and we aren’t measuring up.
I wrote yesterday about children in Greece being abandoned by their parents because of the tough economic conditions that country is facing. In Saudi Arabia, a man was arrested and charged for trying to sell his son on the Internet for $20 million and in Canada, a father and his wife and son are on trial, charged with the murder of the father’s three daughters and their aunt.
This isn’t something to be found only in developing countries, this lack of concern for the welfare of children is becoming endemic across all societies.
Yesterday, it was reported that an Occupy protester was arrested for leaving his baby in a tent in sub zero weather. Penn State is in the grip of a huge child sex abuse scandal and so many children go missing in North America, we’ve created a unique system called the Amber Alert just to try and recover them.
Pedophile porn rings abound on the Internet and children all over the world, some still infants, are routinely victimized and terribly abused so that some can make money feeding the sick perversions of others.
In 2005, the last year for which there are accurate statistics, there were 66,500 children reported missing in Canada alone, a country of only 35 million people. In the United States, the number is almost 800,000. Globally, the number is in the millions although nobody really knows for sure just exactly what the true number is because some countries don’t track the statistics.
Four children die every day in the United States from abuse and there are proportionate numbers in other developed countries around the world.
These are children and they are at risk but what are we focused on? Based on what is being talked about online, and somewhat passionately and even stridently, we seem to be focused on everything but our children.
There are those who send out tweets every day to save baby seals, dolphins or (insert mammal of choice). Others are intent on proving that the Republicans /Conservatives or the Democrats/Liberals are the agents of Satan and must be defeated or else we are on the Freeway to Hell.
Quite a few are committed to making fools of themselves with inane comments about their hair, their sex lives or the sex life they would like to have with another tweep while others are burning with the light of Jesus to save the world from an oil pipeline, greenhouse gas emissions and melting polar ice.
There are thousands of messages advertising how to make money online, how to increase your social network presence and about this new high tech toy or that.
The economy consumes many people while showing others how to profit and make money in this current economy is the mission of more than a few. Football, hockey, the UFC or (insert sport of choice) are the passion of those taking a break from whatever else they usually comment on.
Anonymous brags on the Internet about how it shut down a child porn ring and then moves on to its next grandstanding moment.
In between are countless quotes from famous dead people and the bible and while all this chatter goes on an average of more that 2000 children in North America alone will go missing that same day.
Yes, there are people who are concerned. Some devote their lives and their careers to doing something about it but most of our societies have other, more important priorities. A few people fire off a quick tweet donation to some mysterious website in support of abused children but then it’s back to the chatter.
I understand and appreciate that we can’t be talking about only this topic every day, all day. We live our lives to the best of our ability and we have many things that interest us, that we consider important and that we want to discuss and share with others.
But what I don’t understand is why the safety and care of our children isn’t a priority. In fact, I question why it isn’t even on the political agenda.
There isn’t one political candidate talking about this, not one PAC, lobby or community group, newspaper, television or radio station or political party putting pressure on government to address this problem. We’re more outraged and defensive about SOPA and the possibility of government imposing restrictions on the Internet than we are about what is happening to children…our children in our communities.
You can tell much about a society by its priorities and it’s clear that our society is more concerned with saving animals and the Internet than it is with saving our children. We’ve become more focused on proving our point, whatever it is, than we are with protecting the most vulnerable in our society. I’m not surprised, this is the same society that steps around the homeless while donating to protesters living in tents. Yesterday a baby was endangered thanks to the negligence of one of those protesters whose priorities were focused on something other than the welfare of his child.
Sadly that seems to say pretty much all you need to know about our values. It makes me wonder how we can ever hope to build a successful society on them.
© 2011 Maggie’s Bear
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