Thursday, May 3, 2012

The American Village

I love that quote from Hillary Clinton, “It takes a village to raise a child” and although it took some hits from conservatives, it deserves another look. So let’s take a look at the raising of children in today’s American village.  Nowadays we’ve got some children being raised by village folks who are good at it (Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers and Sisters come to mind), some children being raised by parents (this occurs rarely but does occur) and some children being raised by village idiots (you know who you are and are probably not reading this). Oh, quite right, the parent can double as a villager and also be the village idiot. As I see it, the problem is twofold, air conditioning and villagers who cannot catch the child in order to raise it. 
Let’s look at the air conditioning problem first. How can we expect the village to raise the child when he/she is inside trying to stay cool and cannot be found to raise? Years ago children to raise could be found almost anywhere, riding a bike, playing Kick the Can, baseball, hopscotch; Now one would have to go inside to find the child in need of raising. In fact I submit that that if the American village is to raise the child it must be done in the fall and spring when a villager can catch a glimpse of a child outside, catch it and begin the raising process.  A child found inside presents all sorts of problems for the villager. Video games depicting aliens annihilating each other on a Blue Ray and Jerry Springer (who may be an alien) are forces the villager must overcome in order to raise the child. Then there’s the other villager in the room. The one who is also watching Springer and making sure the child eats his/her ration of Twizzlers and Gummy Bears, and gets enough Kool-Aide to make it through the night.
This person may not be the one who actually birthed the child but may be older and simply presiding over its wasted afternoon. Seeking a child to raise inside also requires mounds of paperwork signed by whoever is paying the bills for the afternoon “entertainment”, AC and snacks. A villager sometimes referred to as “mother”.  After that the child may indeed be raised. But let us say there was, by some fluke, some cosmic storm, some phenomenon heretofore unexplained, a child who actually wandered outside. Perhaps it had seen enough carnage on the screen, enough screaming, vile language or who knows what.

We might even call this child “gifted” for it had indeed found the gift of fresh air and freedom. The bad news is our current American villager, now in hot pursuit of something to raise, would have a problem running down the child in order to raise it because, sad to say, most of our villagers are… obese. Unless the child can be cornered in a McDonalds or Burger King, it will eventually find its way back to Blue Rayville before you can say, “Debit”. Today’s American villager cannot be asked to catch, and raise that child. But, there may be one other time when the child can be contained and raised. Many are caught by the villagers in blue known as policemen (I know it sounds crazy but it happens) and detained at a facility considered to be safe for the child. This is where a lot of villagers can have access to the child. Here, captured children who dared to venture outside during daylight hours are gathered together and raised by the men in blue until the person who paid for the Twizzlers shows up. Yes, “It takes a village to raise a child” and how unfortunate they seem to do it better in Africa than we do here in America.