Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to take my daughter to her bus stop & wait with her. The mornings before school are a slightly crazy time. Getting the child up, washed, fed, dressed & out the door while simultaneously packing her lunch, and getting the dogs together for their morning walk can be intense. Luckily, I have Erika on most days, and vice versa.

Every morning there is a parade of other parents, mostly moms, taking their kids to school or waiting with them at the various bus stops. There is also shorter, not smaller, parade of children taking other children to school. This morning I saw a boy, maybe 8 years old, walking an even younger girl to what I assume was school, pre-school or day care. I had one thought: “And Mitt Romney thinks poor people (read Black people) don’t take “responsibility” for their lives. And yes, I think he was thinking about Black people when he made that 47% statement. I don’t think he was thinking about seniors or soldiers or disabled folks. Too many things in that statement are exactly the things that the GOP has been accusing Black people of being for decades. This was just the latest coded way of saying them.

I thought of my niece who at 13, with all the pressures of trying to get into a good high school, has been helping her parents more & more with her younger brothers. Fuck you, don’t tell me she’s not taking responsibility for her life. She’s not only taking responsibility for her life, but two others. I looked at my daughter, and prayed that she would never have to juggle so many responsibilities. That we will have the good fortune, and good decision making to give all she needs, and more. We’ll expect her help with other kids when we have them, but, God willing, that will be dictated by us, and not by circumstance.

I thought of the parents whose children are helping them shoulder the burden of bad circumstances, choices, and often just bad luck. How scared are they when they send their kids out that door alone? They probably worry about bad drivers, and bad influences. They maybe say a small prayer, and hope that neither child’s impulsiveness rears its head during their, hopefully, short walk.

Being a parent is hard, being a poor one is even harder. 21.6% of the people in my Congressional district live in poverty. The overwhelming majority of them are taking responsibility for their lives. And whatever ones aren’t, I guarantee it’s not because they’re “dependent” on the govt. As if $30.88 a week in food stamps is making people dependent. Fuck you. It’s far more likely that people who can’t, won’t or are having a hard time taking responsibility for themselves have been failed by their government, and by extension, their country.

Either way, we are striving to raise to help our child grow into a good adult. One who won’t ever have to worry about being dependent on anything, but her own skills, charm & know-how. She will not be beholden to a big corporation, or a “big” government. The only thing she’ll have to answer to are her big dreams. I pray the same for all children.

 

 

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