Focus on Children

Most of the problems that confront American society have their roots in childhood.  Poor lifestyle choices and their subsequent health issues, joblessness, financial insecurity and social dependence tend to develop in those who are denied the educational and cultural resources enjoyed by those of higher economic status.  As a consequence, gang membership, crime, teen pregnancy and imprisonment often follow.

While some individuals succeed despite this deprivation and others redirect their lives after incarceration or rehabilitation, intervention is far more effective and less expensive when it occurs early in life.  In my opinion, we should be directing a far larger proportion of our tax dollars to early childhood education, child nutrition services, community athletic programs and assistance to unwed mothers; of course, we should also commit more resources to preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Ideally, such programs would mix children of different races, ethnicities and social backgrounds, thereby instilling a natural acceptance of and comfort with diversity.  Unfortunately, the seeds of racism, discrimination and intolerance are also planted in childhood and we would be wise to dispel such ignorance before it bears its ugly fruit.