These past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about our kids. It would seem we currently exist in a world where actions are taken, words are spoken, and deeds performed all without care or concern for the youngest members of our communities. We've seen mass shootings that resulted in the deaths of people while they attended church and the movies. Children have been killed in school. When the President recently spoke specifically of Newtown, CT he shed tears of sorrow and disgust. His tears were not viewed in the context of a father and husband, but as someone who was "weak". Some even suggested he was faking them.
The fate of the environment is being discussed, young black men continue to be the target of police; and one of the leading candidates for president says horrifically racist and xenophobic things - yet receives applause and rises in the polls.
I would love it if reporters, as well as regular folks, would ask presidential candidates about our children. Are any of their decisions or statements made with them in mind? The same goes for the world leaders and people who lobby for more guns. The two sided question What kind of world do you see for our children and how are we going to get there needs to be asked ad nauseam. I think it should be hammered at politicians. I also think it should be asked of pundits. I'd be curious to hear their answers.
Has anyone given any thought to the tone of our discourse and what our children think of it? As I wrote earlier, some pundits stated the President faked his tears when speaking of the tragedies in Newtown. A few weeks ago a retired US military officer went on national TV and referred to his Commander and Chief as a "pus*y" live on the air. I have seen friends and family pick that up and post it on social media with pride and endorsement. If you tune into talk radio all you hear is hate, anger, and vitriol.
The great writer Marilynne Robinson talks about how we need to find the aesthetics in our discourse. She called it "the beautiful argument". I love that. I think it's time we begin to speak with more aesthetic value instead of this disgraceful tone we've seemed to embrace. We are the country that gave the world Hemingway, Whitman, Emerson, Hughes, Thoreau, Plath, and Dickinson. Former political leaders like Jefferson, Franklin, and Lincoln expressed and wrote their thoughts more like poetry and prose. It's time to bring that back. Maybe beautiful arguments will lead to beautiful answers and a better world for the people who truly matter most: Our children.