If you were a child, who would you vote for?
This blog was written by Volunteer SNAP Leader Carol Yeager of Fayetteville, NC
Voting has power in our country because it promises to give everyone an equal voice in the affairs of our government. Is it possible to give every demographic an equal voice by way of voting? Is there any one group that is not represented somewhere in our elections? I believe so.
What about the children? Why can’t they vote? Too young? Ageism. Too immature? Prejudiced. Can’t read? Education discrimination. Can’t drive to the polls? Don’t be a hater. Children are the most unrepresented segment of society, here in the US and all over the world. But you may say, “Children have parents or guardians or foster parents or family members or social services case workers who take care of them and thus speak for them on their behalf.” If that is true, then why are children under the age of 18 the victims of violent crimes by adults in increasing numbers every year?
What about the children who are abandoned, neglected and abused every day? Who is looking out for them? Homeless and kidnapped children who are sold for drugs or money for drugs or whatever addiction, you fill in the blank, are out-of-sight and out-of-mind. Human trafficking is so commonplace that it is a thriving commerce around the world within countries and between countries. It is a problem in every nation. Why? It is not a matter of supply and demand. It is a matter of the demands of lawless villains who are supplied by wicked predators who profit from the rape of children for pay. On a visit to the Dominican Republic, I was told that a child of any age could be purchased for $75.00. Just like buying a souvenir. A child is no longer a person at that point. He or she is an object. What would someone do with a child? Anything and everything. Everyone knows, but everyone looks the other way, up to and including harvesting organs, until the child no longer has life. Who is responsible for them? We have ignored them.
How about the children living in abusive homes? Those rich and poor alike who have the semblance of a healthy home life, but the reality is that they are living an unhealthy nightmare. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and in whatever way a person can be mistreated or neglected by those closest to them, yet under the guise called family. The double life of children expected to live one way at home while pretending to live another way outside of the home is part of the routine torment of children at the hands of so-called loved ones. Children learn to keep up appearances for those on the outside of their homes or they will suffer for betraying the family secrets by those on the inside. These homes become prisons for children because that is all some children have known. Who is responsible for them? We have failed them.
And how about the thousands upon untold thousands of children who are physically, sexually, and emotionally violated in religious settings, such as those who are also spiritually abused in churches, non-profit ministries, youth programs, and religious schools? These have become the most dangerous places for children because children have no rights whatsoever, especially in institutions that regulate themselves with their own doctrines and rules in the name of tradition and church leadership. And those who exploit children who are too young to vote are very aware of the voicelessness of children living in an adult world. It is a reality that crimes against children are grossly under-reported because of the shame and fear which a child is not equipped to deal with as a child. Who is responsible for them? We have denied them.
Why has law enforcement looked the other way? Why has legislation been so slow to recognize the need for child protective laws? Why must we have laws for adults who attack children as if they were mere animals? Why have judges given clergy lighter sentences because the sexual violation happened by someone connected to the church as if sodomy is somehow accidental or unintentional, or because the very sanctuary where the faithful congregate has become a biohazard crime scene because it is where bodily fluids escaped on the other six days of the week? It might appear that the more laws we have, the more sophisticated criminals become at using flimsy laws as concrete loopholes to continue to satisfy grotesque violent sexual lusts by choosing the weakest and most vulnerable in our society to prey upon. All institutions, especially Christian institutions, where access to children and children’s inability to protect themselves from those who are bigger, stronger, smarter, more devious, and more perverted create the perfect storm for the most gruesome attacks on children who are too young to vote.
It is a conspiracy against children by those who are supposed to be instruments of God, but who are really ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing. And the resulting cover up of such abuse is nauseating because systematic abuse of children must always be covered up at every level, all the way to the top of the leadership ladder. To think that a child who is too young to vote can quickly and efficiently process the vile actions of highly educated men of God in an arbitrarily set amount of time is ridiculous. Why have a statute of limitation on violence against children? Think of how many cases of violence against children that had to be thrown out, not because the rapist was innocent, but because a predetermined amount of time passed before formal proceedings began. Is that what we call justice? Children are dependent on an adult legal system that has not represented children in a responsible way or child pornography would simply not exist. Watching sexual violence and torture of children reinforces that behavior in real time.
Children have no voice because they have no vote. Plain and simple. If children could vote, they wouldn’t have voted for those who abandoned, neglected and abused them through feeble laws, and then protected their abusers by having an enigmatic statute of limitation law that protected the criminals’ rights at the expense of the rights of victims, who happen to be too young to vote. Why have we accepted that adults can terrorize children as if children don’t ever grow up to be adults themselves? This is where the real heroes have emerged. Adult survivors of childhood sexual assault have come of age in recent years and have gained political ground since 2002 when the Boston Globe shattered the holy mirage of the Catholic church by investigating and reporting the truth about the systematic cover up of rape and abuse of Catholic children who are under its care. In the same way, Protestant denominations have finally been held accountable publicly for the same crimes against children when the Houston Chronicles published its own investigation in February, 2019 of Southern Baptist Churches in the state of Texas, resulting in at least 200 SBC pastors listed as credible abusers of at least 700 children in SBC churches in Texas. More SBC victims continue to come forward with credible accusations since that report. More remarkably, adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse are more than just survivors. They are veteran warriors in the most insidious kind of war: the terrorism of innocent children by adult men, and sometimes adult women, who choose to engage in sexual violence against children in the most unholy ways and to deliberately cover up those crimes. The shame is on every accomplice of crime against children, not on the children whom they shamed.
If children could vote, would they vote for you?