WHEN A VILLAGE STANDS BEHIND OUR CHILDREN
It’s just a word to a young couple thinking about maybe having kids. Then, it happens. The kids, I mean. Everything getting real, fast. The jitters hit us—a ton of bricks in a diaper. Some check out parenting gurus. Some wing it. Some are red. Some are blue. All are green. All soldier on.
And finally, we become expert, after the fact, with that first one. Our first-timer false starts and miscues aside, we’ve got the next one covered. There’s a swagger in our step. We’ve got this. Except, of course, that our next child isn’t anything like the first!
As they get bigger, so do the problems. I don’t need to tell you this. You can take over this narrative from me any time you want. I mean, tell me about it. Sleepless nights. Indecision. Conflict. Sweat. Worry. If you can name it, you can own it, and it can own you. And all of this relentless cycle of caring, of putting it all out there, all on the line—for what?
We all know the answer to this. Moms and dads know. Grandma sharks and grandpa sharks know. Aunts and uncles do too. So do the kids, now young men and women. The answer is that we are all a village dedicated to bringing along the children we care about, coaxing and prodding them toward a time when, we hope, each will be accomplished, experienced, productive, and above all honest and decent—a time when, bolstered by truth, they will stand up for their principles, for family, friends, and colleagues.
And when enough of us care that much about a single child, that caring crisscrosses over to others, radiating outward to neighbors and the community at large. To what has always made America more than a name—the sum total of red, blue, and everyone in between.
But what if someone steps in and, through a chain of calculated lies, strips those who are accomplished, experienced, productive, and above all honest, and decent—our children—of what they have earned through hard work and diligence? The preening vacuous man in the White House, the model for this sort of reprehensible behavior, daily eggs on receptive admirers to do just that. Exactly That.
Veterans’ Day was a poignant reminder that even the finest among us, our veterans, have not been safe from Trump’s disparagement. Here are a few. A hero shot out of the sky, lying broken at the Hanoi Hilton, who was given a chance to come home early and avoid further torture if he’d just invoke the privilege of being an admiral’s son, but said no for the sake of his comrades.
Parents of a son they’d raised to have the sort of dedication and fortitude that led to his ultimate sacrifice for all of us, red and blue, on foreign soil. Non-partisan foreign service professionals, including Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipients, who have kept us secure for decades under both Republican and Democratic presidents.
In an age when the truth is getting harder to discern, the truth jumps out at us from the Impeachment Hearings. Patriots from the foreign service and military fearlessly standing up. Republican lawmakers shamelessly smearing those patriots.
Two truths. Patriots. Sellouts.
At this moment of truth, it surprisingly doesn’t matter if we’re Republican or Democrat. We’ve relied on each other before. It’ll happen again. But as we watch the public testimony of the Impeachment Hearings, the truth speaks to us. What we do with that truth will speak volumes in the lives of our children.