To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

New Observercast

Who’s Minding The Children?

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It is no accident that the politicians most maligned by the right are those who seek to take care of all the people, including children.

In the 1990s, Hillary Clinton was the push behind the Children’s Health Insurance Program [CHIP] that expanded healthcare coverage for low-income children. In Oklahoma, Hilary’s name is often uttered as a curse.

The Affordable Care Act was dubbed ObamaCare, another dirty word. Even here, where we still haven’t accepted the nine federal dollars for every one Oklahoma dollar to expand Medicaid, people with pre-existing conditions can’t be denied coverage. That includes children with cancer. Ask yourself why the Trump administration, with the assistance of red states’ attorneys general, want to see the ACA struck down.

Until 2019, Soonercare, the program that covers the majority of Oklahoma children with autism, did not cover medically necessary care for autistic children. That battle lasted more than one legislative session. Who didn’t want autistic children to get the care they needed?

Oh, the irony! The party in power which lures evangelical voters with the promise to overturn Roe v. Wade comes up with new ways to harm children and their futures on an almost weekly basis.

This week’s who-cares-about-the-children campaign confronts Michelle Obama’s healthier school lunches initiative. Who in their right mind thinks healthy foods for children is a bad idea?

If you are under the influence of the propaganda machine, you aren’t in your right mind.

You might be under the influence if you think universal healthcare will cost you more than a nation full of sickly kids. You might be under the influence if you think a warming climate won’t impact the lives of children and their choices for a prosperous and healthy future. You might be under the influence if you think kids won’t eat whole grains or drink unflavored 2% milk.

The last four years I spent in the classroom, my extra duty was in an elementary lunchroom. Kids loved the salad bar. Sure, some of them wanted a plate full of dill pickle slices, and several thought that croutons and ranch dressing were a complete meal, but the Romaine lettuce bin was frequently refilled, because the students ate lettuce. Tomatoes and black olives were in demand. Kids looked forward to pizza day, undeterred by whole grain crust.

Edward Bernays, the advertising man who convinced women to smoke in the 1920s, described propaganda as “conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses.”

It’s time we turn off the propaganda machine. Talk to the kids and the lunch ladies. Don’t take the word of a processed food conglomerate spokesperson or of the legislators who do their bidding.

If we really care about the kids, it’s time we did some critical thinking.

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Sharon Martin
Sharon Martin
Longtime Oklahoma educator Sharon Martin's latest book, Not A Prodigal, is available in paperback through Barnes and Noble. Her recent children’s book, Froggy Bottom Blues, can be purchased in hardcover from Doodle And Peck or in hardcover or paperback from Amazon.

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