Peggy Noonan is one of my favorite writers and she has an outstanding essay posted on OpinionJournal, the Wall Street Journal's opinion website (www.opinionjournal.com). Noonan's thesis is that we are very busy scaring our children to death these days and, by extension, that our penchant for doing so indicates that, despite all of our protestations about how we act "for the children," we're really more concerned about our politics and our own need for self-expression. I think she's absolutely right - here's the conclusion:
One is politics--our political views, our cultural views, so need to be expressed and are, God knows, so much more important than the peace of a child. Another is money--there's money in the sickness that is sold to us. Everyone who works at a TV network knew ratings would go up when the Cho tapes broke.
But another reason is that, for all our protestations about how sensitive we are, how interested in justice, how interested in the children, we are not. We are interested in politics. We are interested in money. We are interested in ourselves.
We are frightening our children to death, and I'll tell you what makes me angriest. I am not sure the makers of our culture fully notice what they are doing, what impact their work is having, because the makers of our culture are affluent. Affluence buys protection. You can afford to make your children safe. You can afford the constant vigilance needed to protect your children from the culture you produce, from the magazine and the TV and the CD and the radio. You can afford the doctors and tutors and nannies and mannies and therapists, the people who put off the TV and the Internet and offer conversation.
If you have money in America, you can hire people who compose the human chrysalis that protect the butterflies of the upper classes as they grow. The lacking, the poor, the working and middle class--they have no protection. Their kids are on their own. And they're scared.
Too bad no one cares in this big sensitive country of ours.
Read the whole thing, though - definitely worth your time.