Posted by Brett Kincaid on June 15th 2012
Politics can be frustrating. I think most of us agree that the tone of our political discourse sinks lower every year. This is a Presidential election year, which means we are all going to be subject to vile, harmful attacks on the trail and in the media. We all view the world through a different lense. Two caring, socially aware people can read the same report or hear the same news story and come away with wildly different opinions on the necessary steps to correct the problem. Just because someone may see things differently than me doesn't make them a bad person. It simply means we disagree and should actively work together to find a palatable solution if our goal is to solve a problem.
Lately,though, there seems to be a decided lack of interest in solving problems. Two of our friends from First Focus, a non-partisan child advocacy organization much like AACF, noted some clear problems developing in Washington. While there are more problems than there are solutions, it's galling when we see adults intentionally propose policies that will unquestionably have a negative impact on children. In a recent First Focus essay, Bruce Lesley and Wendy Cervantes note how some policy suggestions would do just that:
At the federal level, proposals by Senator Vitter and Senator Rubio seek to prevent immigrant parents who file their taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from claiming the Child Tax Credit, a policy change that would directly harm up to 5.5 million children, more than 80 percent of whom are U.S. citizens. And just last week, Senator Sessions introduced a proposal that would deny the very same population of children access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
While these lawmakers may be working to "solve" the immigration "crisis" (politicians, as you know, tend to overstate things), their "solutions" hurt kids. As advocates it is our duty to let our lawmakers know how policy proposals will affect our kids, especially the most vulnerable, and our communities. Please take time to do just that. When you hear of a new proposal, ask yourself how that would impact the children in your community. If you aren't sure, ask us. We'll do our best to help.
In the meantime, let's all promise to be civil toward those with whom we disagree. Perhaps if we all start behaving like civilized adults our lawmakers will too. As my colleague Paul Kelly is fond of saying, if the people will lead, the leaders will follow.