My joy at the rescue of 12 young boys and their football coach in northern Thailand was mountain-high, valley-deep, and river ... that’s enough Tina Turner triumphalism, we get it, you and the planet were thrilled. It was an unadulterated good thing.
Meanwhile, the snatching of small children from their asylum-seeking parents at the U.S. border is a continuing crisis. Good people are working to reunite them, but the Trump administration failed to meet a court-mandated deadline.
Even eventual success would not be an unadulterated good because this fact remains: many Americans have been revealed as being fine with cruelty to Central American children. Trump himself detests these foreign toddlers. But he never liked his own children, and Ivanka only inappropriately.
What made U.S. Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen defend the border kidnappings, even to the point of lying? Was it ambition? Sadism?
I always thought little children were considered sacred, but events have proved me wrong. Many societies don’t like children. I have no doubt that Brits prefer the cats and dogs in Battersea Dogs Home to their children in boarding school.
Canadians don’t buy dogs, they adopt furbabies, style them, and push them in special strollers. “My, your child is hairy,” I always say. Great offence is taken.
As a species, we don’t like children as much as we pretend to. Why is this?
The Children’s Commissioner for England once warned of his nation’s “deep ambivalence” toward children. As journalist Libby Brooks explained in The Story of Childhood: adults invest hugely in their own children while remaining equivocal about other people’s, particularly if they’re poor, distant or foreign.
Indigenous children in Canada still suffer to a horrendous degree yet it does not grab public attention, even though many of them are as trapped in permanent misery as the Thai boys were for two weeks. Is this guilt? Racism?
The continuing scandal of religionist pedophilia is monstrous but has been largely shrugged off. It’s in the past, let it go, the victims are always told. Pedophiles always head to where the kids are — U.S. migrant jails are one destination — but the very subject makes adults itchy.