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Sat May 24, 2014, 05:21 PM

It Takes a Child to Raise a Village

Intro: Neil Gaiman's short and sweet piece about war from the point of view of children ( http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=4993504 ) got me thinking today. Yes, I know that's a dangerous thing to do. And not very American. Plus, last night, I was reading a thread in which several people complained that there were fewer "long" OPs at DU and fewer OP's with links. So, I thought What the hell! I'll pretend this is 2007, the "Good old days" when we still had attention spans and people still read OPs that were longer than two paragraphs and contained complete sentences.

Warning! Extremely long thread ahead. No, not as long as some of the Moby Dick-esque threads I used to write, that often had to be broken down into three or four parts, because they were so monstrously, hideously long. But if you have places to go and things to do, I would skip this one, because I don't sum it up in the opening and closing paragraphs, the way that journalists are taught to do, so if you don't read what comes in the middle, you'll probably miss something. Also, extreme Corsi Warning! because I link something I wrote myself, way back when I was still doing Gone With the Wind length threads. And, if you don't know what a "Corsi" is, that is what Google is for.

Ok, now that I've completely alienated everyone, here is the actual OP. Why would I want to alienate my readers? To put you in the driver's seat. To remind you that "You are the OP you read, and the OP becomes the OP you read" to paraphrase Wallace Stevens "Idea of Order in Key West". You know what a Readerly Text is, don't you? If you need to refresh you memory, here is a link to "The Death of the Author" by Roland Barthes.


Thus is revealed the total existence of writing: a text is made of multiple writings, drawn from many cultures and entering into mutual relations of dialogue, parody, contestation, but there is one place where this multiplicity is focused and that place is the reader, not, as was hitherto said, the author. The reader is the space on which all the quotations that make up a writing are inscribed without any of them being lost; a text’s unity lies not in its origin but in its destination. Yet this destination cannot any longer be personal: the reader is without history, biography, psychology; he is simply that someone who holds together in a single field all the traces by which the written text is constituted. Which is why it is derisory to condemn the new writing in the name of a humanism hypocritically turned champion of the reader’s rights. Classic criticism has never paid any attention to the reader; for it, the writer is the only person in literature. We are now beginning to let ourselves be fooled no longer by the arrogant antiphrastical recriminations of good society in favour of the very thing it sets aside, ignores, smothers, or destroys; we know that to give writing its future, it is necessary to overthrow the myth: the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.

Now that this OP has been thoroughly McCamy-fied, here it is, the actual topic du jour:

It Takes a Child to Raise a Village

Personal liberty or group safety----a conflict as old as civilization. Which is more important? My right to own a handgun or society’s right not to be shot to hell when someone gets into the 12 Item Only Express checkout line with 13 items in his cart? Society’s right, obviously. Which is more important, my right to own a handgun or my potential rapist’s right not to get his balls shot off when I pull out my piece and aim it between his legs? My right, of course. We could play this game forever.

If you want to find answers, sometimes you have to ask the right questions. How many children are killed or injured each year with guns in this country? 10,000.


The thought of 10000 children, some of them toddlers, injured or dead is not enough to make you cry? Ok, how about a visual to go along with the cold, hard numbers.


A 3-year-old boy from Arizona is exceeding doctors’ expectations after he shot himself in the head with a gun he found under a couch in his great-grandmother's house.
As a result of the incident, Landon Smith can’t move the left side of his body and surgeons had to remove half of his skull, which is now being preserved inside the toddler’s abdomen, MyFoxPhoenix.com reported.
Landon was visiting his great-grandmother in Cave Creek, Ariz., last month when he found a loaded gun underneath a couch. The gun went off, sending a bullet into his head, above his right eye before it exited out of the back.

No one, not even the NRA would argue that the deaths and serious injuries of these children are desirable. They are evidence that something is very wrong in our country. We have a serious gun safety problem. So, the real question is not whether we should own guns. We need to ask ourselves How do we make the guns we own more safe? The NRA will hem and haw and claim that this is a back door way to limit their Second Amendment Rights. I suggest that this is the Child's Way to Raise a Safer, Saner Village.

National security or other nation’s right to self- determination. Which is more important? Do I have a right to lob a missile into your backyard if you blockade my country? Certainly not! Do I have a right to invade your country if you hijack a plane and crash it into a tower full of my citizens? You betcha! If you examine these two scenarios closely, you will realize that when it comes to conflict between countries, the smaller countries are screwed. Anything they do---and they have very few options---will be the “wrong” choice. Anything the powerful country does will be “right” because the word rhymes with “might.” So, why are there any weak countries left in the world? Because, whenever violence erupts and the powerful nations proclaim that they can do whatever the fuck they want to do, some inconvenient person reminds everyone about the effects of war on children. Way back when, during one of those conflicts that give Democrats the moral willies, because we are supposed to support one side, but we cannot help but feel sorry for the other, too, I wrote a generic piece about Children and War. I called it “’To Kill the Big Rats You Have to Kill the Little Rats: Children and War’”. It’s still online in my old DU Journal Archive. It's very long and depressing, so I suggest bookmarking it to read later and then forgetting it. http://journals.democraticunderground.com/McCamy%20Taylor/357 .

War is easy. We all know that war is bad. What about wealth disparity? What about poverty? What about health disparity? Those of us who were raised Baptist were taught that God elects the chosen before birth and that He rewards them with material wealth in this lifetime to show that they have been chosen. Therefore, anyone who is poor and hungry and sick, deserves to be poor and hungry and sick. We are taught in school that America is the land of opportunity and that everyone has a chance to get an education and a career and become a millionaire. We are told that the poor are poor because they are too lazy to work---

But what about poor children? What about hungry children? What about a child whose mother gets breast cancer, and because their state opted out of the Medicaid expansion, Mom cannot get timely treatment and she dies, leaving him in foster care, where no one thrives? What about a child whose father suffers from mental illness which he cannot afford to treat and therefore, he is sent to prison, leaving the family homeless, hungry, destitute? Sick and poor are two words that go together, because illness is the number one cause of bankruptcy in this country. When the breadwinner gets sick, he or she can no longer work. There goes the health insurance. Meanwhile, the medical bills keep piling up. And, without health insurance, health care options become limited. There is no chance for a “cure” that might get the bread winner back to work. The best the family can hope for is an occasional “patch up” in the Emergency Room---and twenty or thirty thousand dollars more in debt---that keeps Mom or Dad just barely alive---and the kids hungry, cold and homeless.

Individual responsibility versus the “nanny state”, which is more important? Do we coddle those who allow themselves to get sick with cancer or lupus or who happen to be standing in the wrong place when a building collapses? If I told you that every forty year old dying needlessly of preventable heart disease comes with a ten year old son who knows that his father is dying and every thirty year old woman dying needlessly of breast cancer that could have been cured with a simple surgery has a six year old daughter who does not know that Mom won't be here next year, but she knows that they had to give up the dog because they lost the house and she knows Mom cries herself to sleep each night because of the pain...

Would that make you see things differently? Could those children teach us how we ought to raise our village?

Personal health versus the "Health" of the Economy. What about the child that is born with birth defects, because of pollution in our water that ended up in the fish its mother ate while pregnant? What about the boy who loses his father to lung cancer, because we had to make sure that tobacco farmers got a good price for their crop? If we could see through their eyes, would we run our village differently?


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