Another Guardian ad-Litem Speaks (thank you David Strand)

April 22, 2016 in CASA, Child Death, David Strand, Health and Mental Health, International Child Abuse, Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Wonderful People by Mike Tikkanen

cardinal best everDavid is a KARA board member, former CASA guardian ad Litem and was a public policy maker on children’s issues in Europe for ten years.  He is now living and writing in Aitkin MN.  I found his recent response to a reader in the Aitkin newspaper very enlightening.  I hope you do too;

If we just had the average infant mortality in Western Europe, about a 1000 infants a month would avoid death.

In last week’s Age, Mary MacArthur objected to my column “Science Phobia Ravages Our Children.”

I thank Mary and appreciate the opportunity to comment further about America’s shameful neglect and abuse of our children.

I will respond to three of Mary’s objections. One was her rejection of my “solution” to horrible infant mortality, another to government sex education and last to my labeling America a superstitious nation.

Mary’s answer is to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and use it for prenatal care. Planned Parenthood provides health care to millions of poverty-stricken women. To suggest that the richest nation on earth can’t pay for prenatal care without robbing some other vital fund is ridiculous on its face.   If we just had the average infant mortality in Western Europe, about a 1000 infants a month would avoid death.

Mary’s advice of abstinence to prevent the epidemic of STDs (sexual transmitted disease) is not a practical solution in today’s world. Besides STDs, we also lead all peer nations in teen pregnancies, births and abortions. American kids don’t know how babies are made. Abstinence simply doesn’t work, and comprehensive education does. The real world provides this truth.

Here is how civilized, non-superstitious nations fight problems afflicting their children. The citizens of these enlightened societies use government resources. Their governments are actually controlled by them. Doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers and counselors are employees of the public, via government. They don’t have for-profit hospitals, for-profit schools or for-profit prisons.

They also emphasize prevention instead of cure. Consequently, they spend far less than we do for health care, education, and corrective justice. That’s why their health care and education systems are far less expensive while producing better outcomes.  It’s more bang for the buck, what Americans are supposed to prefer.

Could we do the same? Yes, but we the public would have to take our government away from the control of corporations and billionaires.

What is my insight into this? Approaching my ninth decade of life, I am fortunate to be married to the same person for 57 years who has been willing to follow me around the world. We lived in Europe for 10 years where I managed companies that had governments as customers for health care products. I also served in Europe on a board for Fulbright Scholarships where the majority members were PhD academics.

After retiring 20 years ago, I worked as a Guardian ad Litem for the Juvenile Court of Hennepin County. Following that, we lived in Denmark for half a year while conducting research on the Danish Child Protection System, under its Director Hanne Moos. An interesting fact is that the Danes have elected both liberal and conservative governments. Nevertheless, their commitment to children never waivers. The welfare of their children trumps politics, money and everything. Truly they put an America to shame that ranks dead last in infant mortality, gun deaths, poverty, homelessness, STD epidemic, teen pregnancy and youth incarceration.

I thank Mary for the chance to comment further. I believe she has a bright future in journalism, if that’s her choice. I would recommend exposure to the larger world and its great diversity in people and cultures. If she is interested in a wider perspective, I can suggest three books. The first is Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, which chronicles how the human race has become a cancer on the earth. Next, Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen which reveals America’s true history. Finally, the little book about human diversity, Just Birds by my late grandson, Henry Mackaman, written when he was 16.

Lastly, Mary objected to calling America a “superstitious nation.” My dictionary defines superstition as “any belief or attitude, based on fear or ignorance, that is inconsistent with the known laws of science.” Yes, America is a superstitious nation with a majority belief in Satan and hell. It is also one I cannot forgive for what it is doing to its children.

David Strand reads and ages near Aitkin.