Point

Point/CounterpointPolitics Sep 16, 1997

We Must Do Everything We Can For The Children

By Mary Unger, , President, What About The Children? Foundation

Do you realize that a recent UNICEF study showed that nine million U.S. children suffer from malnutrition? And that 2,699 infants are born into poverty every day in this country? And that families with children account for 39 percent of America's homeless population? This should not be!

And that's only the beginning. America's children suffer in a myriad of other ways. Child abuse occurs with frightening frequency. Child abandonment figures steadily climb as the average age of our nation's mothers continues to drop. The number of minors in prison has quadrupled over the last 25 years. How can we let this happen?

It is absolutely shameful that the United States, the richest nation on the face of the earth, has failed to meet even the most basic needs of its young.

And the rest of the world is failing too. Worldwide, over 21 million children under the age of five die each year as a result of malnutrition and other preventable diseases. According to a joint study by the World Bank and United Nations Youth Development Council, more than 1.3 billion people live on the equivalent of less than one dollar a day. We've got to do something!

We're nearing a crisis situation, and the time to act is now. The children are the planet's future: If we don't get our priorities straight and care for them now, the result will be truly tragic for future generations.

Counterpoint

Children, Schmildren

By By Duane Nystrom, , Citizens' Alliance Foundation

Yap, yap, yap. For as long as I can remember, people have been yapping about schools for the children, health-care for the children, food for the children, clothing for the children, shelter for the children. Fuck the children.

Day after day it's shoved down our throats: We have to love the children and prepare them for tomorrow. We're supposed to prevent them from falling down wells and out of cars, and we're supposed to keep toxic chemicals out of their reach. We're supposed to change the babies' diapers and call a doctor when they stop breathing. Christ almighty, when do we get a break? Do the children ever stop taking? For just once, let's let the children fend for themselves.

They were spouting off the same crap in the '60s, about how we have to take care of the children because they're our planet's future. And you know what happened when we didn't take care of them? Nothing! They grew up and became adults, and the planet didn't end!

I swear, if I hear one more word about the goddamn children, I'm going to choke somebody.

Babies are dying, children are starving, teenagers are turning to drugs and prostitution. Blah, blah, blah. How many times can you hear about kids living in cardboard boxes and young girls being sold into sexual slavery before you just have to scream, shut up about the goddamn children, already?

I propose we put the children last for a few years. Then we could finally pay attention to some of the issues that really matter, like my need for a brand-new fishing boat. The children can ram it.

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