Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio closes nearly every speech with the following quote from the civil rights movement: “Don’t tell me what you believe – Show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.” This admonition rings true in so many sectors of our lives.
Societies should be judged by they way they care for their children. The number of childen in the United States who do not have health care, the number of children globally that are infected by HIV/AIDS daily (1500) or the number of children victimized by the drug and alcohol abuse of adults is a sad commentary on our commitment to the next generation. We need to be more specific, it is a sad commentary on our commitment to Joshua Magagula. Joshua, a 9 year old orphan of parents who died with HIV/AIDS and Cindy Dunlevy, the 11 year old child of a methamphetamine addict need support and their parents, need or require intervention.
Nations and national leaders; communities and community leaders are long on resolutions and promises but short on action. We are half way through implementing the Millenium Challenge Goals, No Child Left Behind has become a part of our educational establishment’s lexicon and yet, we are making little or no progress on the health and safety of children. More of them are starving, dying without water and are infected by disease and random violence. We need policies that reflect our culture’s priorities, we need programs that will create systemic change and we need to say our young people that we are prepared to be judged by our actions and not our rhetoric.
Every administration starts off with lofty goals and uses the language of child protection and safety to capture the hearts and minds of the electorate. In the end – seldom the do the right coalitions get put together or the political will of individual leaders get tested in a way that drives change. That time must come to an end. We must push the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress to move beyond inspiration and rhetoric and drive toward concrete and real change. I know what Obama believes, I know what the Democrats say they believe, I want to know now what they will do.
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