WASHINGTON, April 10, 2013 ― Who is Melissa Harris-Perry? Where did this “progressive political commentator” come from? Was she raised in a family or was she the property of the community? Does she understand what families are and what they do?
Her comments on raising kids say “no.” First and foremost, kids are not property; they are members of families. Whether you were planned or unplanned, whether you had loving, caring parents or just one parent, you understand this. It is the responsibility of parents to care, nurture, and provide for their children and bring them into adulthood.
You don’t get this if you didn’t grow up with it; having no loving parent leaves you to believe it is the community’s responsibility because you didn’t have a parent do it for you. Harris-Perry doesn’t have that excuse. Her parents were loving and involved. Her father was dean of Afro-American studies at the University of Virginia, and her mother was a college teacher who worked for non-profits to help poor families. Young Melissa Harris grew up with the educational and emotional advantages that come from being raised in a family.
Do children need friends and schools and teachers and communities? Sure. But the responsibility for raising them falls squarely on their parents. If people fall for this collective claptrap and abandon child-rearing responsibilities to “the community,” we are done as a nation. The public school system has our kids from kindergarten through high schools. As we’ve turned over more and more responsibility for our children to the schools, we’ve sown and reaped a disaster.
Some socialist governments have actually experimented with raising children in creches. They were inculcated with loyalty and respect for the state, not their parents. The Soviet ideal was young Pavlik Morozov, who as a young boy supposedly informed on his father to the secret police, with the result that the father was executed and Pavlik was killed by his family, made the subject of an opera, and memorialized by statues, a symphonic poem, and six official biographies. Of course the left doesn’t want that, though if you have gradeschoolers, there’s a decent chance you’ve been informed on for wasting water and throwing away plastic.
Nothing Harris-Perry said was surprising. The only thing surprising was the casual honesty with which she made her comments in an ad for MSNBC. She seemed supremely confident that her comments would go unnoticed in the temper of the times and be taken as perfectly self-evident. If the left has the hubris to keep up that level of honesty, people may wake up to the danger their social-engineering agenda poses. Maybe when the state takes over legal authority of our children, people will wake up. Kids are not the property of the collective ― yet.
Harris-Perry may say that she was misinterpreted. She wrote on her blog, “Of course, parents can and should raise their children with their own values in a community that provides safe places for children to play. No individual household can do that alone. We have to build that together.” Her MSNBC colleague Chris Hayes called her response “amazing” and the “third-awesomist thing on the internet” today.
Harris-Perry has never been bashful about her social views, and has been open about them in numerous interviews. She only did the same thing here. And remember, this was an ad, not off-the-cuff. It was scripted ― written, re-written, reviewed and polished for broadcast.
“The community” was not present at the birth of any of my girls; it was only my wife, the doctors and I. The community doesn’t feed or clothe my kids, it doesn’t put them to bed or hug them when they’re hurt. It doesn’t support them and it never will. That’s my job, and I don’t want Harris-Perry’s community to intrude.
The community’s values aren’t always mine. Harris-Perry’s community may not approve of my values, but it’s my prerogative as a parent to choose the values my children will be raised with. The community that Harris-Perry wants to insert into the mix has yet to be cleansed of pedophiles, drug pushers, bullies and others. Let liberals concentrate on making the community a fit companion for my children before it talks about giving the community a bigger role in raising them.
Harris-Perry may be confused; there is a segment of the community that certainly knows how to make the kids, then passes on the feeding, clothing and caring for of the next generation of dependent Americans on to everyone else. Do those kids need a community? Yes, it’s all they’ve got. But what they really need are families — families like young Melissa Harris had. Focus on building families, and the communities that will provide a safe place for kids to play and grow will be there. They won’t have to intrude; families will embrace them.
Harris-Perry has it backwards; she thinks that communities are what we need to build to make up for missing family life. What we really need is to build families so that we can fix our failed communities. The basis of the community is the family.
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