To The Wall Street Journal

                             The Canary In The Coal Mine

A country that has lost and abandoned its children, has lost it all.’

There is a malignancy in America that we have no chemotherapy or surgery to cure.  It is the malignancy of neglect and abandonment that we foster onto our children.

Like the Canary In The Coal Mine, this loss of America’s youth to idleness, screen violence, and lack of interpersonal skills, is beginning to signal the end to our greatness. We’ve subsidized with our inattention a new era of violent adolescent rebellion unlike anything we have seen before.

America was never perfect—but we strove for perfection.

People came to America for a chance to buy into that promise.

Today, America has become more about economic opportunity and less about the personal freedoms and spirit of community on which we were founded.  We’ve chased the almighty dollar, paying for that chase with the spiritual currency of our children.

We’ve turned our country into a zero-sum, win or lose proposition with no middle ground, pitting winners against losers with an often violent outcome. The blame for this in America is both individual and collective.  By surrendering our children to the downsides of technology, we have abdicated our most basic and fundamental responsibility as parents.

The loss of shared values is a primary driver behind all of this.

How can we expect our children to get along without shooting at each other, as recent events have so tragically demonstrated, without a value system that is inclusive and one in which everyone takes ownership of.  Instead on being the worlds ‘melting pot,’ the spirit of that concept has boiled over into chaos, disorder, and tragic bedlam.

In addition to the benefits of freedom, comes responsibility.  To remain free, we must underwrite a system in America that values and provides room for all to grow and flourish.  Without shared values, we become a nation of special interest kiosks and enclaves, sacrificing the good of all for personal gain.

There was a time in America, not long ago, where shared values started by being taught at home and in primary schools.  Parents supported teachers and vice versa.  Today, if a teacher tries to instruct children, in what for hundreds of years was referred to as the Golden Rule, parents often storm the school demanding the teacher be disciplined and/or fired.

Safety and freedom, like paper currency, are only as strong as the people who believe and support those concepts.  If you want to walk down a city street in safety, you have to believe and support others who want the same thing.  This is not a Democrat or Republican set of ideals and principals, its inherently American.

Studies in animals have shown that if you confuse an animal long enough to where it loses its sense of security, it begins to grow isolated and eventually loses all control and lashes out against all that it encounters.  Many of our children are starting to act in the same way.

Our institutions, both religious and secular, serve more to divide us than bring us together.  Gated communities and fortified compounds are not the answer to surviving as a nation.  We have all seen how that has worked out in other countries and it is another cancer that is growing here.

We now have several generations that are tasked with teaching things that they never learned themselves. The easy answer to child rearing is to turn that responsibility over to technology, I-pads, video games, I-pads, and TV, which all isolate the child from being with others.  Like my grandmother used to say: “Son, what goes in is what comes out.” It’s unfortunate that what goes in, and what doesn’t go in, is exacerbating the problem.

Unless we declare war, because that’s what it will be, in the fight to take back our children and rebuild the foundations of America from the ground up—we are lost.  We have to come together, with politics aside, and agree upon (Shared Values) what makes us special and strong as Americans and then pass those values down to our children.

I’ll leave you with the line from the great Elvis Presley song ‘In The Ghetto,’ where he sings: ”Do We Simply Turn Our Heads And Look The Other Way.”  America has become a cultural and spiritual ghetto and is crying for our attention.

Please give it yours before it’s too late.

Kurt Philip Behm:  May, 28, 2022

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