Author: Samuel D.G. Heath, Ph.D.
"No nation that fails to cherish its young has any future as a nation. Nor does it deserve one!"
Dedicated to Zero Tolerance of child molesters!
IT SHOULDN'T HURT TO BE A CHILD!
Proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution, three basic principles
1. An adult convicted of the molestation of a child shall be sentenced to prison for a term of not less than ten years.
2.If the child dies as a result of the molest, the death penalty shall be applied.
3.A child, as defined by this amendment, shall be a boy or girl who has not attained his or her sixteenth birthday.
This amendment clearly defines the felony and punishment, but the powers of enforcement, prosecution and penalty are reserved to the states respectively or to the people.
This amendment will reduce prison and welfare populations by breaking the chain of molestation. In the shorter term, it is well substantiated that children having babies is an enormous burden on taxpayers. These babies of girls as young as eleven years old are invariably doomed to substandard care which increases medical costs. As such children grow, they are far more likely to be anti-social, under-educated and begin early criminal activities loading our juvenile justice systems, and, eventually, our courts, jails and prisons.
A national minimum sentence of ten years as specified by the proposed amendment would have a significant impact on this problem which is contributing to so much heartache and fiscal difficulty in our nation. In the longer term, there will be fewer children resulting from attendant pregnancies growing up to a life of crime, thereby reducing prison populations. Fewer such children being born will have a dramatic effect on our economy by reducing the problems they create for the schools, medical care and other financial burdens to the taxpayer.
A major factor is what this amendment will do for a lower divorce rate and the strengthening of family in this nation. Men and women will have to seriously consider the dramatically increased risk of molestation of children due to divorce.
Fully one-half of our little girls are molested in one way or another and the trauma carries into their adult relationships, especially marriage. By radically reducing such molestations, we have taken a huge step toward establishing healthy marriages, and, by extension, a healthier society.
Consider the boys that are molested and the enormous cost, mentally, socially and fiscally to America. Such boys are far more likely than others to become molesters and involved in crime and sociopathic, anti-social behavior.
This amendment will virtually eliminate the inhumanity and national disgrace of child prostitution and the tragedy of children infected by AIDS. By force of law, it will encourage sexual restraint, self discipline and responsibility and will, obviously, greatly reduce the number of child pregnancies thus reducing abortions.
It will also dramatically impact Child Protective Services, forcing that agency to act in a far more humane, responsible and professional manner. There is no doubt in my mind, having worked in this agency myself, that with the power of such law as this amendment, CPS will have to do a better job of identifying, establishing factual case evidence and removing the predators of children from society.
Why should children any longer be denied the Constitutional rights adults take for granted? Yet nothing in the Constitution is specifically addressed to the needs of children. It thus leaves vulnerable the most helpless of America's citizens and denies them the most basic and fundamental of all human rights, the right to a lawfully protected and innocent childhood.
Knowing how critically related employment is to stable homes, the amendment will force the political leadership to address the issue of jobs realistically. Virtually no one argues the fact that a vital component of responsibility and minimizing child abuse in general is employment!
This amendment is clearly one of empowering We The People to take action against an evil on which we all agree, action we can take for the sake of the future of our nation: Our Children!
Understandably, this is one of the most frequent questions I am asked. To begin, there is nothing in our Constitution specifically addressed to the needs and rights of children. It was taken for granted by the framers of the Constitution that family and society were all the protection children needed. And for its time, this was true. But virtually everyone would agree that the times have changed in this regard. And had the Founding Fathers known how things would change, I have no doubt whatsoever that the proposed amendment would have been included in the Bill of Rights.
Fortunately, those Founding Fathers made provision for additions to our Constitution to meet future needs by the amendment process. So it was that slavery was ended and women were given the right of the franchise. As a society, as Americans, we face a most critical question concerning our future, and that future is our children. In far too many ways, we have become a society that actually seems to hate children, rather than cherishing them. This must change. The great majority of people agree that the most basic and fundamental of all human rights is the right of a child to be raised in lawfully, protected innocence. For this reason an addition, if you will, to the Bill of Rights is in order and morally needed.
No nation has ever done such a thing by its foundational charter of government. But at no time in history has such a thing cried out to be done!
And it is America, as the leader of nations, that all other nations look to for moral leadership. As the freest nation in history with a noble tradition of individual freedom and personal responsibility, the world has a right to look to America for such leadership.
And it is for this reason that the amendment is a call to We The People, as individual citizens and not the elected leadership, to act on behalf of our children, the future of our nation.
I believe We The People are better qualified than the elected leadership to recognize what is best for our children. We The People are the responsible parties for our children and our Constitution gives us the chance to act for ourselves in spite of an often corrupt leadership that acts as though it was not answerable to the will of the people.
For this reason and many others, I do not want such a leadership to pass another law. I want Americans, by the right given us as American Citizens, to do what is right for our children by making a statement to this leadership and the world that We The People, Americans and not Congress, are able to stand and do what is right for our children. Certainly it would be far easier to ask the federal leadership to make a law rather than to go through the arduous process of an amendment. But I contend Americans are better than we give ourselves credit, that Americans will recognize the absolute necessity of giving children their rightful place in our Constitution.
This is the path of nobility for a noble people, this is the chance to show the world that we, as Americans, do indeed cherish our young and recognize our place as the true leaders of responsible freedom and liberty.
In this respect, as it was in the founding of this nation, it is our duty as Americans to make our voices heard over the political glittering generalities and the mouthing of meaningless platitudes which promise much and deliver nothing on behalf of children and families.
We hear the leadership crying: Children are our most precious resource, they must be given a national priority. But where do we see this actually happening? We don't!
The amendment is the first step for American citizens, themselves, taking personal responsibility and action before the entire world for our young.
If America is to lead in the fight for human rights, if America is to lead in a workable doctrine of morality for the future of the world and world peace, nothing can give us better credentials and credibility as a people than the passage of this amendment.
The fact that this is an act of individual American citizens coming together in common cause for the sake of our children will speak volumes of our sincerity as a society to the other nations of the world. A nation that has been so richly blessed and has long been a beacon of hope to the world has a duty, an obligation, to set such a precedent for all other nations to follow.
We have a reputation for sticking up for the underdog, for hatred of the coward and bully. And there is no more cowardly bully than the monster that preys on the most defenseless of victims: Children!
If we work together as Americans, we can take this step to guarantee our children their emancipation from slavery to the molester and his ilk. And in so doing, we have taken the necessary step to prove to our children and the world that we do love and cherish our children.
It is painfully, and often tragically, obvious that our children have come to question this, that they have been losing hope of a future, that they are too often growing up in a callous and uncaring society where there is no protection for them, no absolutes of morality. This amendment will prove we cherish our children. And prove to the world the real love and concern we have for them. As Americans, we can do no less. We owe our children and the children of the world no less.
A major obstacle to the proposed amendment is the fact that men do not, and never have, accepted women as of equal value.
The philosophical works of men throughout history have provided the foundation of all societies and their governments. It was the works of men like Hume, Locke, Montesquieu and Rousseau that provided the Founding Fathers of America the ideas that culminated in Alexis de Tocqueville calling our nation the greatest experiment in Democracy in all of history. The Founding Fathers themselves, in turn, left an unsurpassed legacy of philosophical writings to future generations of Americans. But if one turns to the earliest origins of philosophy, there is an entire half of humanity missing and ignored in what is called The Great Conversation.
This Great Conversation is well represented by a set of books entitled The Great Books of the Western World. This set of books, 54 volumes, is supposed to set forth the best of philosophical thought and writings throughout history. But one searches in vain to find a single woman represented!
One is reasonably led to ask: Weren't there wise women, women of a philosophical bent of mind, as well as men during these past thousands of years? There must have been. Then why were they ignored?
There are many reasons for this. Some quite legitimate given the facts of our earliest beginnings as a species.
But few people consider that it wasn't until this century that women even began to have a legitimate voice of any kind in philosophy. Still, in spite of all the efforts on the part of women to be heard, that voice is a very small one and remains virtually ignored by men.
Yet it should have been evident in the far, distant past that humanity could never solve the intransigent problems confronting all societies while excluding the voice of an entire half of humanity from the decision-making processes of societies and governments.
Unbelievably, this has been the case throughout history! I say unbelievably because such a thing is insane on the face of it! And as a result of men excluding women in the decision-making processes, by men denying women an equal voice, the history of the world has been one of unremitting hatreds, prejudices, war, and violence of every description.
This exclusion of women can best be stated in terms of men having never accepted women as of equal value to themselves. The result has been a history of resentment on the part of women, of competition and combativeness rather than fostering and encouraging what should be the compatibility of differences.
The hardness of men and the softness of women should be melded in order to produce an alloy of toughness which is neither too hard nor too soft. But this can only be accomplished once the compatibility of differences, rather than competition and combativeness, is the norm, and the equal value of women to men is accomplished fact.
Women must direct their efforts to the goal of educating men to the need of accepting and welcoming women as of equal value to men. But this begins with educating women to the facts of the history of their exclusion as of equal value to men, as well as the facts of our contemporary world in this respect.
Once women truly understand these things, their efforts can be directed toward a solution of the problem, for it is well said that defining the problem is half of the solution.
Throughout all of history, men have depended on women being their own worst enemies. And this has proven to be the case. The failure of women to recognize and act on the problem has enabled unscrupulous men to continue in their exclusive dominance to the continuing conditions of war and violence.
But if women are to find their own voice in national and world affairs, if they are to represent themselves as equal in value to the wisdom of men, they must begin with a well-reasoned, comprehensive, cogent and intelligible philosophy of their own.
Then the melding of the two halves of humanity in a full partnership, that of both men and women, can be accomplished and world peace can become a reasonable goal.
It would seem obviously insane that we can expect peace in the world when men have always excluded women, half of the human race, from attempts at world peace. But this is, in fact, the case.
It will take women of exceptional intelligence and sensitivity, women of determination and perseverance together with a willingness to commit themselves, to change things and develop their own philosophy. Men, of course, are counting on this never happening.
But it must be recognized that men have a vested interest in not allowing women an equal voice in decision-making. They see this as a threat to their dominance over women, a dominance which has kept the world in conflict throughout all of history and is still on-going with no end in sight.
Granted, a situation that has existed throughout history, and still exists, is not going to be easy to change. But if the world is ever to know peace and be a safe place for children, such a change is absolutely essential.
Given that correct knowledge consists of facts as opposed to beliefs and that wisdom consists of love and compassion together with a love of truth and an instinctive hatred of evil, I present Heath's Equation in this form for your consideration: KNOWLEDGE + WISDOM = PEACE
If this equation is correct, it logically follows that the world has never attained to wisdom since the world has never known peace. It is my contention that the world can never attain wisdom as long as a full half of humanity, women, is excluded from having an equal voice with men in the decision-making processes guiding national and world affairs.
It is my further contention that men and women are of equal value on the basis of the compatibility of differences. It logically follows that until children become the priority of nations and until women are accepted and included by men as of equal value that wisdom, and by extension peace, will continue to be unattainable. If it can be agreed that parents, regardless of differences of circumstances and political or religious ideologies, essentially want the same things for their children, the same hope of a future for their children, the emphasis should be on the best way of attaining such a future.
Quite obviously it has been the exclusion of women from the philosophies of men, the exclusion of women as of equal value to men, the lack of proper emphasis placed on the future of our species, our children, the insistence on emphasizing political and religious differences rather than what is best for all children, that has kept the world in conflict these past thousands of years.
This must change. And the only way it can change for the better is for people to agree on a course of action which will lead to such a change on the basis of wisdom. I submit that the proposed amendment is a logical and wise first step in such a change for the better.
We have reached a point of decision where the world has become far too dangerous and violent to any longer ignore the fact that until the proper emphasis is placed on the future of the human race, our children, Armageddon looms ominously.
The question that confronts all of humanity is whether the differences of religion and politics will continue to predominate and be a source of continuing conflict or whether people of the world will come together and agree on a course of action which will insure a future for all children regardless of the historic hatreds and prejudices based on religion and politics.
The proposed amendment to the Constitution is a logical first step toward solving the historic problems of religious and political hatreds. The amendment addresses a problem about which all good people agree and proposes a solution completely devoid of any religious or political ideologies. It is simply the right and wise thing to do for the sake of our posterity.
No nation in history has ever made children a priority by virtue of its foundational charter of government. America, I strongly believe, has the obligation to be the first nation in history to do so. And, I further believe, with America leading the way, other nations will follow.
On the behalf of children, I have written a critique of Harper Lee's masterful novel To Kill A Mockingbird to be used in the public schools. Recent events involving the violence of children in the schools lead me to append the following in justification of the proposed amendment:
At one point in the novel little Dill has run away from home. Scout thinks his folks must have mistreated him and this was the reason he ran away.
But Dill tries to explain it wasn't this at all. As he says to Scout: That wasn't it - they just wasn't interested in me. Scout thought this the oddest reason for running away from home that she had ever heard.
But Scout had people who cared about her. Atticus had made her feel important to him, had made her feel loved and needed. She couldn't possibly understand Dill's point.
But I understand it all too well. It is the thing that after many years of working with teenagers in the schools, after working in Child Protective Services, led me to say to parents in respect to children: Things aren't as bad as you think, they are far worse!
I came to realize first hand that when it came to the schools, we couldn't have better designed a system for failure if we had done so intentionally.
I began to realize that we have evolved a society that actually behaves as though it hates children. And children know this. What little Dill was trying to explain to Scout is what has led to things like the recent massacre in Littleton, Colorado. And just what is this thing? I can sum it up in one word: Indifference!
American society has taught children that no one cares for them, that society is indifferent to them. Dill's folks didn't beat or mistreat him. What they did was tell him: All right, we bought you all the toys. Now, go play with them and leave us alone!
Folks, this is America! We have bought our children all the toys and then told them: Now, go away and leave us alone!
A normal child will do anything for attention, including inappropriate, even anti-social, behavior in order to get the needed attention.
From the ghetto of Watts to the barrio of East San Jose and upscale places like Castro Valley, through my experience in the schools, CPS and other activities, I have seen the best and the worst of circumstances for children in America. I have heard a beaten child say: Will they love me if I die?
Indifference, as ignorance, is a real killer as we have witnessed in Colorado. When a child is made to feel he or she is of no consequence, is not loved, is not even wanted, that child has all the potential for becoming a monster, a curse rather than a blessing.
Don't expect a child to understand what is adult responsibility. America has failed miserably, as a nation, to cherish its young, and to quote Atticus Finch, the bill is coming due!
When any society condones, and even encourages, violence, particularly violence against children, that society will pay the price. When a society teaches children that there are no moral absolutes, that if it feels good, do it, when a society teaches babies are things to be murdered at will through abortion and have no value, that homosexuals are acceptable role models in classrooms, that pornography is acceptable and approved by society, that all manner of violence is approved and called entertainment, children know such a society has no real concern for them, that such a society is really INDIFFERENT! to them.
I have lived long enough to know you cannot make someone care. Because of the events in Colorado, all the usual experts are called upon to try to make sense of such insanity. I've seen it all before and have even, in the past, been a part of such expert activity.
But now I know better. It does indeed take a village, an entire society, to raise a child. And when that society engages in the madness so well represented by its refusing to make children the real priority while continuing to pay lip-service only to concern for them - which they easily recognize as hypocrisy, when that society through its indifference to children teaches them there are no moral boundaries or absolutes, that society, that nation, has no future.
No, you cannot make people care. But you can act. You can do your part as a good citizen in confronting the evil that is destroying our children and our nation. But one of the major points I contiually try to make is the fact that there are far too many people who may be good people, but they are not good citizens. If you are too busy to be politically active, you may be a good person but you are not a good citizen. As a result, the children pay the price for apathy and indifference on the part of adults who have the sole responsibility for the future of children. And America as a nation will eventually have to pay the price for this. As we are subjected to all the experts coming forth with their solutions to the problem exemplified by the killings in Colorado, one thing will be conspicuous by its absence: Wisdom.
I can say this unequivocally because the world has yet to attain wisdom. The proof of this being the equation Knowledge plus Wisdom equals Peace (k+w=p). And the history of the world has been a history of hatreds, war and violence thereby proving we have yet to attain wisdom. But we had better attain wisdom because the alternative is the Armageddon of #92 of the periodic table as physicist Michio Kaku so well points out in his book Visions.
Understanding that wisdom derives from love and compassion with an instinctive hatred of evil, it follows that there can be no solution of the problem evidenced by the tragic events in Colorado unless it is a solution born of wisdom. Only wisdom will lead us away from our present indifference and put us on the right path to making children the priority they must become before it is too late.
Not all the social engineering, not all the laws or tinkering with the multifarious aspects of the problem will avail unless people come to genuinely care for children and their future, unless Americans overcome their indifference toward children.
I fervently pray, that Americans will pay heed to the wisdom of Harper Lee's novel which I believe with all my heart we need to apply in our lives before it is, indeed, too late.
Samuel D. G. Heath, Ph.D.
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