Several recent events of late have appalled me as I see politicians — especially those on the left — hiding behind children to further their political agenda.
A couple of them revolve around President Bush’s veto of the massive expansion of the S-CHIP program. Instead of trying to make their case for upping the kids potentially covered by 50% and raised the cost by $35 billion dollars in a rational manner, they trotted out the kiddies to mouth empty platitudes and make hollow gestures. They had a 12-year-old boy “rebut” Bush’s weekly radio address, and last week they had a bunch of kids pulling red wagons (presumably NOT “Made In China” with lead-based paint, but one can never be too sure these days) full of petitions signed by kids asking Bush to reconsider his veto.
I don’t like kids being used as props. I don’t like it no matter who does it, for whatever reason, but this one truly rankles me. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a flagrant move to bypass actual, intelligent debate on an issue and go straight for pure emotion and sentimentality. Those of us who point out that the expansion is covering a LOT of children who are already covered by health insurance, who note that basing the funding on a cigarette tax is not only regressive as hell but a very shaky foundation, and whether or not it should even be the role of government to provide health insurance for people making multiples of the official poverty line are accused of “not caring about children” and other such emotional folderol.
But simply using children as mouthpieces, while reprehensible, is nowhere near as bad as trying to turn them into spies on parents. And that’s apparently what’s going on in Massachusetts. According to one talk-show host, the state is now requiring pediatricians to grill their patients — without any reasonable grounds for suspicion — about their parents.
According to Graham (and I have absolutely no reason to doubt him — unlike certain other hosts that station has employed, he has no track record for just making stuff up), his 13-year-old daughter was asked — in private — about her parents’ possible drinking, smoking, drug use, gun ownership, and… well, I think I’ll let Mr. Graham’s own words speak for him:
“The doctor wanted to know how we get along,” my daughter continued. Then she paused. “And if, well, Daddy, if you made me feel uncomfortable.”
Great. I send my daughter to the pediatrician to find out if she’s fit to play lacrosse, and the doctor spends her time trying to find out if her mom and I are drunk, drug-addicted sex criminals.
Apparently, these sorts of questions are to be considered part of routine exams of children. The notion that the doctor should not bring up such subjects unless they have even the slightest suggestion that they might be relevant, that merely asking them can plant such horrific thoughts in otherwise-safe children, is not considered a form of abuse in and of itself. And that they are asked without the parents’ presence, consent, or even knowledge won’t do a damned thing to undermine an otherwise-healthy parent-child relationship… I guess I’m just being paranoid.
It seems that to people like the Democrats in Congress and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the most heinous form of child abuse is to simply let kids be kids. Why bother letting them alone to enjoy their childhood when you can use them as political pawns and informers?