Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Appropriating Identity

April 3, 2017

Freud convinced us all that our identity is primarily sexual in nature.  Today we’re being programmed to believe our identity is also a matter of citizenship.

A man drowned in our city last week.  He was trying to rescue a young girl who was caught in a rip tide – a powerful current that can prevent people from making it back to shore.  The girl survived but the man in his 30’s did not.  Initial reports said the girl was his daughter.  Later reports claimed that it wasn’t.  It was a tragic situation no matter how you look at it.

But the local paper decided to look at it as a matter of citizenship, proclaiming in the headline that an ‘immigrant’ died trying to save the girl.

The article went on to talk about how the man had come to the US looking for a better life but now was dead.  Really?  This is going to be an immigration issue?

What is this supposed to make me feel?  Am I supposed to feel worse because this was an immigrant or better?  Is this supposed to make me more pro-immigration because this man accidentally died trying to save someone else, or more anti-immigration?  What is the point in turning the story this way at all?  We all know that our nation has plenty of immigrants past and present here.  That is part of our identity as a nation, part of our strength.  The issue isn’t whether or not we have immigrants or continue to have immigrants, but rather how those people arrive here and how they assimilate.  None of which has anything with a man trying to save a life and ending up dead in the process, and it’s a disgusting attempt to politicize a loss of life.

It’s further topped by my state’s ‘glorious’ march towards taking on the Federal government on immigration issues.  Our Senate passed a bill prohibiting local authorities from cooperating with Federal authorities on matters of immigration involving detained individuals.  Since the House is controlled by the same party, it will likely pass there as well before going on to the governor (of the same political party) for signature.

Ultimately, this isn’t going to help legal or illegal immigrants in our state.  It certainly isn’t going to help immigrants gain citizenship.  It’s going to hurt pretty much everyone – even our illustrious leaders.  I hope that the Federal government makes good on threats to cut Federal funding to cities and states that openly flaunt Federal law.  I hope that the cut-off of funding is painful and teaches some important lessons and not simply the idea that you should do what the Federal government tells you.

First of all, I hope it demonstrates the futility and stupidity of simply refusing to obey the law – or demand that the law not be enforced – rather than changing the laws.  The Civil Rights movement was powerful because it challenged the law and sought to change it.  People suffered the consequences of civil disobedience in order to show that the law was wrong and needed to be changed.  But to simply ignore the law and insist that nobody enforce the law?  What does that accomplish?  What victory does that gain?

Secondly, I hope it is a wake up call to people that we rely for a lot of things on the Federal government.  I may not personally think that’s a good idea but it’s a reality.  And states either need to insist on greater autonomy and figure out ways to fund it, or quit whining and complaining and fighting against the Federal government on one hand while putting their other hand out all the time for subsidies, loans, and other forms of support.  The idea that we should get the things we want without having to play by the rules is dangerously endemic in our society at the moment – at least in certain quarters.  It is equally dangerous for our political leaders to have this mindset, for the average citizen to, and for those who come here intent on living illegally.

But before any of this happens, a lot of people are going to suffer.  People who rely on programs funded in part by the Federal government.  We’re going to be told by our political leadership that this is because Trump is a mean President who is intent on causing harm.  But that’s a lie.  The truth is that it’s happening because our political leadership isn’t willing to actually do their jobs to come up with an immigration policy that works for those who wish to abide by it, and politely but firmly tells those who refuse to abide by it to leave.  Like every other country in the world does at some level or another.

Coming up with laws that work is a good situation.  Passing resolutions defying the law of the land is ultimately a cowardly cop-out for the harder work of actually sorting through and solving problems.

 

 

Tax Dollars at Work

March 21, 2017

I’m a proponent of small government and allowing people to govern themselves as much as possible at the local level.  I’m continually amazed at what our Federal government does.  I’m not saying whether this is good or bad – I’m sure that there are defensible reasons for it as well as arguments against it.  But it is surprising.

City Liberals

February 21, 2017

My high school best buddy shared this article on Facebook recently.  When we were growing up, he was very conservative.  However these days, while he is probably fiscally still a conservative his other views have grown a lot more liberal than mine.  I’ll talk about the article in a moment, but I’ll give a couple of my own thoughts first to explain our divergence.  What are some other factors – other than where you live – that might contribute to a shift in ideological perspectives over time, particularly from conservative to liberal?

Church or no church?  Granted, there are plenty of very liberal Christian denominations and congregations out there.  But it would be interesting to see a study of how many people who begin at least nominally religious (parents only make them go to church occasionally as a child or more particularly as an adolescent) vs. those who are deeply embedded in church every week (even a congregation with a dysfunctional youth group, as mine had, at least to a certain extent).  Being part of regular Christian worship (and eventually believing it) certainly can and should make us more open to our neighbors, but also should instill some basic concerns about our human capacity to deal with the issues they (and we) face.  My high school buddy rarely went to church from junior high school on.  He claimed he believed in God, but I’m not sure if he would make that same statement today or not.

Who you marry.  My buddy married a very liberal woman.  Her views on almost every issue would, I imagine, be seen as very liberal and progressive.  Now, I don’t really know her at all.  I haven’t spent much time around her in the last 25 years or so.  I would imagine some of that perspective may have been softened by my buddy’s conservatism.  But when they were dating, she was a fire-brand atheist liberal with a very strong personality.  Regardless of the issue under consideration, marrying someone with an opposite perspective from you on it is likely to draw you at least somewhat towards their point of view.

Now, about the article.  I think it’s an interesting article in several regards, despite being one of those fluffy, popcorn-level articles with very little meat to it.  But the observations it makes are worth looking at.  I disagree once again with the automatic division of every issue into liberal or conservative viewpoints.  None of these issues are in and of themselves a liberal or conservative issue.  They are human issues,  citizenship issues, and ought to be addressed as such.   Until we realize that our political system capitalizes not on solving problems but on aligning people into supportive camps, we’re going to keep banging our collective heads against the wall.  Or more accurately others are going to keep banging our heads into the wall so they can blame it on the other party and galvanize us to keep voting a certain way which keeps a particular group of people in power.

The important thing to realize is a multitude of perspectives.  City folk see certain things a certain way because of exposure to things like crime and public transportation.  People who live in rural areas see certain things a certain other way.  The problem is the polarization of our society, so that each side thinks that it’s view is the only correct one.  As I’ve argued before, if we focused less on working towards problem-solving rather than working to keep a certain political party in or out of power, this would be  a lot healthier.

I don’t think liberals are stupid.  Many of them have a particular ideological bent that I don’t personally agree with even though I may appreciate their stance or approach to particular things.  Likewise, I don’t think conservatives are stupid.  I may err more towards their side of the fence than not, but they have an ideological perspective that has valid points as well.

 

Practical Immigration

February 8, 2017

Much has been said about hypothetical immigration and immigrants.  I prefer to wonder what my role can be in this complex issue.  Certainly leading a Christian institution, I would consider it our duty and honor to be a blessing if there were immigrants in our midst to minister to.  Particularly if those immigrants were actively seeking us out not just for material assistance but spiritual sustenance.  But how complicated the matter would become were politics also part of the picture – as it almost inevitably would be.

So I found this letter from the Lutheran pastor of a church in Germany who is dealing with this issue firsthand eye-opening and more than a little terrifying.  In Germany, those seeking asylum are evaluated as to their suitability for integration with German culture and society.  One of the evaluation points centers on their faith.  Christians are at least in theory given points in that they share a faith with the historic faith of German culture.

This creates a complicated situation.  How do you tell if someone is simply calling themselves a Christian in the hopes of improving their odds for acceptance permanently in Germany, as opposed to someone who genuinely has converted to the Christian faith?  It’s a question that the Church has had to deal with for two thousand years.

But in Germany, it is politicians and bureaucrats that are deciding who is and who isn’t Christian, and by some accounts, without an ability for themselves to understand what the basic tenets of Christianity even are for themselves.  The result, according to the letter, is that those who have converted to Christianity and received baptism in the Church are being declared non-Christian by the State and slated for deportation.  Despite the fact that some of them are enduring persecution for their conversion from militant Muslim refugees, and despite the reality that they will face greater persecution in their homelands for converting.

How do you sort out a Gordian Knot of this scope and scale?  As a pastor, my emphasis and priority would be on preaching and teaching the Word so that people might come to faith regardless of the repercussions in their lives.  But what a terrible thing to be blessed to proclaim Good News to a people who have been oppressed and persecuted for so long – by their prior fellow-adherents! – and then watch those children of God ordered for deportation.  How awful to be privileged to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, only to have these converts deemed non-Christian, oftentimes by people who are not even Christian themselves but have inherited the blessings of being born in a traditionally Christian culture!

What a terribly important ministry evolves then, the ministry of preparing these people for whatever may come down the road because of their conversion.  The ministry of distinguishing between the Good News of Jesus Christ, and the bad news that inheritors of Christian benefits won’t recognize these converts.

Is it a good idea to make Christianity a determination point for asylum seekers?  It’s a logical one I suppose.  Certainly there will be some percentage of people who claim to have converted but haven’t really, and who will take up their Muslim faith again as soon as they are safely settled for good.  But Christianity has always dealt with those who seek the status of the faith when it mingles with cultural and societal status and ambition.  The Church must be discerning to the best of our ability, but our discernment is necessarily imperfect and limited by sin.

How do I determine whether a person is Christian or not?  I begin by acknowledging this ultimately is not my job but Christ’s.  For the purposes of my work, I look for signs of the faith in a person’s life.  Have they been baptized?  Are they regularly in worship and hopefully also communal Bible study?  Have they been instructed in the basics of Christian doctrine as outlined in the Ecumenical Creeds?  I would not resort to some sort of Christian or Bible trivia game, asking for obscure details from the Bible or complex explanations of Christian doctrine.   If someone comes to me seeking Christian instruction, and after receiving it indicates that they believe this and wish to become a Christian and want baptism, I will baptize them.  If they continue coming to church (or I know they are attending elsewhere regularly), and if they are taking seriously the teaching of the Bible in terms of how they live their lives and make their decisions, then I acknowledge them as a brother or sister in the faith.  My evaluation of that may be off the mark, but it is an evaluation with some solid criteria to recommend it which relies on something beyond an overly simplistic mastery of basic data.

The Church’s long history of discernment on this issue might be of use to the State in seeking to determine who is authentic and who is not.  Again, the results will not be perfect, but they are likely to be better than having the State arbitrarily determine what makes a person Christian or not.

Funding the Wrong Fight

February 1, 2017

Our country is anecdotally being torn apart at the moment over the issue of immigration and refugees.  It’s not as though anybody is doing much on the issue other than screaming at the other side, however.  I don’t see people running out to offer refugees and immigrants a place to live in their own home.  Nor do I see much in terms of actions against immigrants and refugees other than headlines and social media storms.  There’s much room for discussion on this issue, but little substantive discussion seems to be occurring.   And I’ve yet to hear anyone honestly try to grapple with coming up with a solution that would be satisfactory (if not delightful) to both sides.

The issue of sanctuary is one way this fight is playing out on the ground.  Cities have been fond of insisting that they are places of sanctuary – where Federal immigration laws will not be enforced and nobody will be deported from their precincts.  While this issue has gotten attention because of a couple of illegal immigrants who perpetrated violent crimes in the past couple of years, I think that’s ultimately a red herring.  There are dangerous and violent immigrants and refugees just like there are dangerous and violent citizens and people born legally in this country.  Violence is always lamentable but it is a distraction from dealing with the issue at hand – how do we control who comes into our country?  Arguing that we must enforce immigration law because of the possibility of violent people entering our borders, or arguing that such cases are very rare and therefore we should not enforce our immigration laws is a sideshow.  The main issue is our immigration laws.  Either they work or they don’t.  Either they reflect what we as a nation want or they don’t.  If they don’t, we should work to amend or replace them.  If they do, we need to enforce them regardless of whether the people involved are violent or not.

Sanctuary cities are coming under fire from the Federal government, which under President Trump has indicated that it won’t hesitate to cut Federal funding and subsidies to cities that openly violate or refuse to enforce Federal law.  This makes sense to me.  We don’t get to pick and choose which laws we obey or we don’t obey.  Private citizens can’t do this so I don’t see why cities should be able to.  Some cities have reversed their sanctuary stance pretty quickly.  Understandably so.  Talk is a lot less expensive than losing money you need to fund your projects for your citizens.

However, in my progressive state, this attempt to draw cities into line with Federal law is being met with increased resistance, to the point that now the entire state of California could become a ‘sanctuary state’, funded by tax-payer dollars.  SB 6 as I understand it would allow the use of county and city tax monies to provide legal representation to people illegally in our country and state, to prevent them from being deported as per Federal immigration laws.  While this has always been an option through non-profit organizations (which I have no problem with and hope they do their jobs well), the change is that now public tax dollars would be made available for such legal defenses.  I have a huge problem with this.

We’re constantly being told that there isn’t enough money to fund infrastructure projects or education or health care or any number of other important matters.  We’re constantly being subjected to new taxes and bonds in order to pay for these things.  Yet now cities and counties can take the money I pay them in taxes in order to defend people who are breaking the law?

I understand that immigration is complicated.  I understand that people sometimes get caught up in unfortunate situations.  I understand that families are threatened by deportation. I do not like any of these realities.

But if that is what we are concerned about, then we need to spend our money to come up with an immigration policy that works.  Simply throwing taxpayer money down a literally bottomless hole of legislation and legal proceedings on behalf of illegal immigrants will not change policy.  It will not protect the people it alleges to protect, because they will still be at risk of needing such legal representation because the immigration laws don’t change.  At best, this is a delay tactic, a waiting game in hopes that the next president won’t enforce immigration laws.  At worst, it’s a flagrant misuse of taxpayer money that enriches nobody other than the lawyers taking the cases.  Nothing changes, nothing improves, and the problems simply grow and grow and grow.

This is not a new problem.  We’ve been dealing with it for decades.  We still don’t have a good solution.  I should not have to pay more taxes in order to support sanctuary policies that don’t change or improve the situation at all.  This is irresponsible partisan grandstanding.  Both sides are guilty of it, because both sides claim to be unhappy in our current immigration system but are opposed to working in a bi-partisan manner to come up with a solution.  Neither the solution of let everybody/anybody in or keep everybody/anybody out is tenable, nor is it actually desirable by either side, regardless of the polemical headlines.  What we need is a sensible policy that deals with future immigrants while taking into account people who, because of our convoluted policy and enforcement issues, have built their lives in this country.

Close Calls

January 31, 2017

A good reminder of the difficulties Christians face in many parts of the world.  There, but for the grace of God, go I.

Respectful Disagreement

January 25, 2017

I’ve followed with curiosity the flurry of Executive Orders from President Trump in the early days of his presidency.  By and large, he is making good on some of his major campaign themes and promises.  I assume these promises are part of why people elected him president in the first place (and yes, despite Trump getting fewer votes than Hillary, he still counts as the elected president, just like four other presidents before him).

I’ve refrained from commenting on all of this until now, based on a post from a colleague with a Lutheran spin on all of this.  Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) issued a statement condemning Trump’s Executive Order to begin construction of a physical barrier along the US border with Mexico.  LIRS has worked for nearly a century to assist those in need in the midst of physical relocation.  While I applaud the scope of work that LIRS engages in, I vehemently disagree with their press release objection.

Building a physical barrier does not mean that there will be no way into the United States.  There are still plenty of legal entry points.  What it means is that entry will be controlled (at least in theory).  Refugees are different than illegal immigrants and drug smugglers, and I would expect that there are protocols for processing refugees at our borders, rather than simply inviting them to walk in wherever and whenever they like.  I am highly sympathetic to the notion that if we do not control our borders, what is the point of having them?  If we don’t have the right to determine who does and does not enter our country, are we really a country?

Yes, as a Christian I welcome my “new neighbors” and “embrace” them.  But I do so as they follow the laws of this country, and that begins with entering the country in a legal fashion.  The physical barrier is not an issue (or at least shouldn’t be) for refugees and immigrants.  It is intended to address illegal immigration and criminal activity (drug smuggling, human trafficking, etc.).  Yes, I am exhorted to love and care for my neighbors and I will gladly do so.  But there is nothing inherently unChristian about having rules and regulations that are actually followed regarding how someone becomes my neighbor.

If you’re concerned about appropriate help and assistance for immigrants and refugees (as I am), border control should not be your main concern.  Your main concern should be the policies that will be followed at the legal points of entry.  Talk with the people who live along the Mexican border and you’ll find that many of them are very disturbed and alarmed that the laws of our country that help protect them and their families and their businesses have been ignored, putting them directly in danger.  How are we loving and embracing these people as our neighbors?

I am saddened by LIRS’ statement.  I am glad that they are working to help people in need, but their press release is needlessly divisive and ultimately pointless.  Border control is not the issue – immigration reform and clearer refugee policies are the issue.

Realism as Policy

January 24, 2017

America has a long history of swinging back and forth between protectionist and more involved stances in the global community.  I imagine it would take a fair amount of work to come up with a comprehensive list of all the money that the United States currently (or in the last eight years) gives to various governments, groups and agencies in the international community.  As an average citizen, the net upshot of such massive government spending on overseas initiatives gives the impression that if we don’t do it, nobody will.

The reality is that there are other people out there, other nations even, who are willing and able to step up to the plate if they wish to see something happen internationally.  We don’t have to do it all on our own.  As proof of this, in light of Trump’s order to cut off Federal funding to any group that provides abortions or information on abortions the Dutch are stepping up to create an alternative fund for such operations.

Trump did not innovate this stop to funding for such organizations – it’s a conservative policy that routinely gets reinstated during conservative administrations and rescinded during liberal ones.  Considering the source of division that abortion is here in our own country, it strikes me as even more offensive that we are sponsoring it abroad through tax dollars.

I think that a critical examination of how our tax dollars are given away to other governments and international agencies and organizations is well-warranted.  Doubtless there are some programs that are necessary or even good to fund, but I also trust that there are plenty of others that really need to be scrapped as we seek to deal with issues here at home.  I’m not a hard-line isolationist, but if we’re truly facing the massive issues we are told we are in terms of infrastructure and health care, then we need to deal with these first before we spend our tax dollars elsewhere.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

December 23, 2016

I was interested to read the other day of a new fund the city and county of Los Angeles created a fund to provide legal representation to people facing deportation.  A $10 million dollar fund, of which $3 million will be provided by the county, $ 2million by the city, with the remaining $5 million to come from private philanthropies.

It’s interesting that the Tribune News Service article I read initially stated that the fund was for “people in the country illegally facing deportation”, while the National Public Radio (NPR) version of the story simply says “immigrants”.  Every article I can find online only says “immigrants” or “residents”.  Of course, this begs the question.  My understanding is that legal immigrants/residents would not face deportation because, by definition, they are here legally.  Only those who are not here legally would be at risk of deportation.

All of the articles highlight this move as a response to statements by President-Elect Trump that he might actually enforce immigration laws, something President Obama has made clear he isn’t interested in pursuing.  All of which glosses over the major points – there are laws which govern immigration to our country.  Those who do not follow these laws are subject to deportation.

I understand that the process for obtaining legal citizenship can be a very time consuming and costly one.  I wonder why a $10 million dollar fund isn’t being created to help streamline or update immigration laws to make it less time and money intensive?  Instead, taxpayer money is being used to defend people who are breaking the law.  I understand and am sympathetic to the plight of those who are actively seeking legal residence in our country and are forced to wait for years because of costs and scheduling.  I would hope that if immigration laws are enforced, these people will be the last to be affected.  I imagine a lot of other people would be similarly sympathetic, including lawmakers and perhaps even President-Elect Trump.

But I find it dishonest to fudge the reality.  If the city and county decided to set up a fund using your tax money to defend murderers so that they might avoid prison time, how would I feel?  Or if the city and county simply decided that vandalism or theft were no longer crimes to be prosecuted but rather defended using tax payer money, how would I feel?  I understand not agreeing with a law and wanting it changed.  I have difficulty with the idea of commandeering taxpayer money.  Particularly if there aren’t a lot of details about who is going to be defended and on what basis.  And particularly when, as some articles point out, the nature of deportation litigation is under a broad umbrella of civil actions wherein nobody – legal or illegal – is entitled to taxpayer funded defense.

We’re all free to disagree with the law, but we are all required to abide by it.  If millions of dollars can be allocated for this sort of effort, why can’t that money be allocated to working towards better laws?  Towards an immigration system that works, rather than simply thumbing noses at a President who recognizes that part of his job is to enforce laws that are on the books?

The approach that Los Angeles and other cities are taking with these defense funds is flawed.  It doesn’t change the existing laws, doesn’t even attempt to.  It simply seems intended to discourage enforcement of the laws by making it cost prohibitive to enforce them.  This is a bad solution to a large, complicated problem.

Loose Lips

December 13, 2016

Thank you to Becky for alerting me to a new piece of state legislation introduced a few days ago here in California.

Back in 2009, a resolution was passed by the California State Legislature expressing support for a Bill of Rights for the Children and Youth of California.  It seemed a fairly innocuous, vague resolution without any real teeth or meat to it.  It was endorsed by Planned Parenthood, among others.  Many such expressions of support are undoubtedly passed in our country every year, most of which coming to very little of substance.  The terms aren’t defined, and no specific actions or funding are allocated.  It’s essentially a warm-fuzzy sort of document.

But warm-fuzzy documents can give rise to more tangible realities later on.

So it is that this week Senator Richard Pan (D) introduced  Senate Bill 18.  Senator Pan represents Senate District 6 which encompasses the greater Sacramento area.  He is a pediatrician as well as a Senator.   SB18 aims to “expand and codify” the Bill of Rights for the Children and Youth of California, turning it from a warm and fuzzy idea into some form of law.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for improving the lot of children everywhere.  But when the government decides that it’s going to assure that this happens, I begin to ask questions.

The Bill proposes the establishment of a “comprehensive framework that governs the rights of all children and youth in California”.  I would argue that this already exists – it’s called the family.  The family is a comprehensive framework that protects the rights of the children within that family.  Certainly there are situations where the family fails in this duty, and it is necessary for an outside entity to get involved to assure the protection of children.  But to assume that the State needs to create a “comprehensive framework” of its own that extends beyond the many agencies and programs to assist children and families strikes me as a bit odd.

More specifically, the Bill prescribes that within five years – by the end of 2021 – this Bill of Rights is enforced “evenly, equitably, and appropriately to all children and youth across the state.”  Why do I need such a framework applied to my children?  My children have a solid family which is their framework.  Now I begin to worry.  How is my framework going to interact with the state framework?  Under what conditions and situations?  And if there is a conflict between the two frameworks, whose wins?  I’m going to make a wild guess here and say that if push comes to shove, the State is going to insist that their framework trumps mine.

The Bill’s premise is that all children are entitled to certain rights.  I would agree, and I would agree that our Declaration of Independence includes those in broad terms, just as it does for me:  life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  These are not intended as necessarily all-encompassing, but they go a long way towards a baseline we can all agree upon.  But this Bill intends to create a series of rights for children that is far more specific.

  1.  The right to parents, guardians, or caregivers who act in their best interest.  This sounds good, but who gets to decide what is in my child’s best interest?  I’m going to go out on a limb again and say that the State is going to reserve that right to itself.  What if I disagree?  Hmmmm.
  2. The right to form healthy attachments with adults responsible for their care and well-being.  What does this mean?  Who defines healthy attachment?  Who decides what adults they should be required to form such an attachment to?
  3. The right to live in a safe and healthy environment.  Sounds good, but again, who decides what constitutes safe and healthy?  Don’t we have building codes and other things that already determine this?  What does healthy mean, and how is it distinct from safe?  What does environment mean?  Is that physical?  Emotional?  What?
  4. The right to social and emotional well-being.  Who defines these things?  On what basis?
  5. The right to opportunities to attain optimal cognitive, physical and social development.  Again, who determines the best means for achieving these things?  It sounds as though there is only one way to reach these goals.  Is that true?  If the State decides that my kids will only reach optimal social development by going to school rather than us schooling them, what recourse do I have?  None, I’m going to guess.
  6. The right to appropriate, quality education and life skills leading to self-sufficiency in adulthood.  This seems like an even more pointed attack at my parental rights to determine how best to educate my children.  The current state-sponsored public education system seems to be producing many children who do not have a quality education, and are unable to cope with the outcome of a presidential election, and who can’t bear to hear anything that contradicts their ideas about the world, and who need safe spaces and other means of insulating them from opposing points of view.  Does this mean that the State is going to find public schools inappropriate?  Somehow, I doubt it.
  7. The right to appropriate, quality health care.  Again, who decides these definitions?  Given last year’s fear-based legislation mandating vaccines for as many children as possible in the state, what else is going to be determined to be appropriate and quality?

The Bill indicates that solutions will be “research-based”.  What level of concurrence in research will be necessary in order to use it as the basis for a specific solution to one of the areas above?  How will the State enforce this “comprehensive framework”, and what recourse will parents have – if any – in disagreement with this framework?  And as is typical, what recourse do parents have if the solutions imposed through this Bill turn out to actually be harmful, rather than helpful?  If you’re going to force me to do things to and with and for my children that I don’t want to do and don’t think are helpful to them at all, what recourse do I have if I turn out to be right?  If your research turns out to be faulty?  If special interests dictate questionable applications?

I don’t doubt that the intent of improving life for children is the actual intent here, but I dislike the idea that somebody outside of my family is going to make those decisions for me, particularly in the current ideological and intellectual climate.  How is the State going to make meaningful legislation that is broad enough to be applied to every family in the State?  I don’t think that’s possible, which means that the alternative is that some families are going to have their rights overridden by the State.

This seems like a really bad idea.  The State unfortunately may need to intervene in situations where children are at risk through neglect or abuse, and I am grateful for such services.  But to expand beyond this to create legislation that applies to all children and families is very overreaching.  I hope that this Bill does not pass!