Thursday, August 11, 2005

Kids Today, part 2

In part one of this self-important series of posts - my magnum opus or ode to what I believe- I pontificated on the crimes of youth today - needy, entitled, seemingly immune to violence and obsessed by consumerism. In the interests of preserving peace in my own family and possibly bubba's as well, let me state for the record that not all kids today are completely spoiled brats, nor are most of them beyond redemption. Changes in how we view youth, raise children and encourage government to act in our kids behalf could alter and possibly reverse the trend, but only if we have serious national dialog about important issues and how to reach meaningful goals. Hahaha, like that is really going to happen under this administration!

Today's post concerns accountability. Taking personal responsibility when things go wrong is a key component in correcting the situation. It is a failing of this administration that no one ever admits a mistake, no one ever takes responsibility for poor decisions. They slap a smiley face and pretend nothing is wrong, or point fingers and blame anyone else for problems they can't cover up. Bush has been called a dry alcoholic because he never learned to own up to his past problems and has been enabled by his family, the religious right and the neocons to continue to act with the same kind of reckless abandon of his youth, power now taking the place of alcohol and America as a passenger in the car racing 90 to nothing towards the inevitable crash.

Bush is not to blame for all the problems of today's youth, but he exemplifies what is wrong. Born into privledge and entitlement, he has no real empathy for those who were not. Having never been asked to take responsibility for his actions or atone for his mistakes, he refuses to admit ever being wrong or learn how to correct misdeeds. He believes that his so called personal relationship with Christ gives him immunity from consequences and consequently behaves soullessly. His belief in the greatness of the American way of life is based not on the constitution and bill of rights but on the inerrancy of the free market system. Because he has never really had to work, he values consumerism over labor; because he has never had to fear being without money, he values spending over saving.

How do these attitudes affect our country? Just look around: Tax cuts for the wealthy cause a strain on programs for the underprivileged; the healthcare crisis is ignored, while the administration pushes for useless adjustments to social security; education and scientific discovery are burdened unnecessarily; a war is fought for no reason; supply-side economics reinforce the importance of spending with abandon, without thought to the consequences.

Are our children effected by these choices? Of course: the wealthy ignore the problem, mimicking the actions of their parents; the middle class buy into the enticements of advertising and try to buy their way into the world they see in magazines and movies; the poor grieve for what they feel they can never achieve and act out in anger and resentment. They all dream in terms of cell phones, pimped cars and flash cribs, while our government touts a growing economy and endless possibility. The terrible consequences of an endless war, housing bubble, rising gas prices and a jobless future are no where to be seen.

Where are parents in this equation? Trying too hard for the wrong reasons and ignoring the real problems. As I said in part one, children's needs are few. What they really want is time and attention. Even in the face of mass marketing appeal, a child will choose parental love and support every time. It is only when parents choose (or are forced by need) to abdicate their parental role that children find a surrogate. The corollary to this is when parents try so hard to relive their own childhood through their kids, that they loose the needs of the child in the process. Churches and other nonprofit organizations can help to fill the gap, but only when they put children over and above their political agendas.

I realize this has been a real downer of a post, it depresses me just to edit it. But to paint a realistic picture, we must put all our cards on the table. Part 3 will cover my pathetic attempts to address all these issues and hopefully start a plan for the future. Stay tuned.