05 May 2013

Thanks, but no thanks

Audrey asked for some help with spelling words after supper.  She was making signs for her bedroom door:
I love the heart.  It adds such a friendly touch to "dAngEr to Enemies", doesn't it?

Necessary signage completed, Benjamin (who apparently is either an honorary sister or simply a peon) then proceeded to stockpile weapons in her room.

Later while waiting for a clear spot at the bathroom sink for tooth brushing, Brynning asked me "Mama, how should I beat Audrey?"  Apparently, they're at war.  I offered my advice, gleaned from years of sibling interactions (and perhaps a few parenting books as well).  Doing my best to look wise I told him "I'm going to give you my very best advice, and it will sound boring and silly to you, but I promise if you try it, it will work.  The Bible says that we should love our enemies, and do good to those that persecute us.  So I think you should try really hard to find lots of ways to love Audrey and be nice to her."  Offering some inducement to actually follow this advice (because after all, I do know he's a medium-sized boy who really just wants to beat his sister at whatever this game is) I added "The Bible says that when we do nice things like that to our enemies, it's like heaping burning coal on their heads."  Smiling hopefully, I finished with "Doesn't that sound like fun?"

He shook his head at me for a moment.  "Good grief," he replied.  "I'm never making you a general in my army!"

01 May 2013

See, I'm not crazy

I am trying not to spend so much time reading news stories that raise my blood pressure - partly because I've decided it can't possibly be healthy, partly because I have better things to do with my life.  I have four young children at home, I homeschool, I cook, I clean, and I try to do it all with some degree of grace.  Some days are more successful than others, but that's the goal.

However, I believe it is also true that, in this country at least, citizens have a responsibility to be informed.  We have a government that answers to us (at least in theory), and that means that we are responsible to know what is going on, and to participate in the political process.  This seems like an obvious concept to me, and I'm bothered far more by apathy than by disagreement with my personal ideas and ideals. But it is also true that I hold the ideals, and adhere to the ideas that I do, because they seem obvious and logical to me.  When I wrote my guest post for Free-Range Kids, I thought that the concerns I was expressing over the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities were obvious and clear-cut.  When people labelled me a tin-foil hat-wearing, anti-UN not-smart person (Brynning is reading as I type this), I assumed that the fault was mine for not communicating clearly.

This treaty, if signed, becomes the supreme law of the land.  Those who say it won't affect US law are just plain wrong - either they are misinformed, or they are lying.  Our Constitution explicitly states that treaties supersede not only the laws of individual states, but also the Constitution itself.

This treaty, if signed, is not binding on anyone but us.  Our signing has no affect whatsoever on any other country.  We are obliged to follow it if we sign it.  They are not.  Those who say differently, again, are misinformed or lying.

This treaty explicitly states that the government, not parents, has the right to determine what constitutes the "best interests" of disabled children, and to act on that decision.

This treaty does not define the term "disabled".

If people cannot see the problem with this, I'm not sure what else to say.  I don't know how to connect the dots to make it any more obvious that this treaty is a bad idea.  Our laws regarding disabled people are the standard that other countries strive to match.  This treaty was based on the Americans With Disabilities Act.  We don't need this treaty for disabled Americans.  And it directly threatens - in fact, eliminates - the rights of American parents to direct the upbringing of their children.

When the government begins to act as though it has the right to determine what is best for children, rather than their parents, scenarios like this one (recently reported on Fox News) are what happen. That should scare us like crazy.

In this story you have two responsible, loving parents, striving to do what is best for their son.  Their son was born with a heart murmur, and at one doctor's visit the doctor (in a confrontational, disrespectful-toward-the-parents manner - inexcusable) informed the parents that their 5-month-old needed immediate heart surgery.  They decided to seek a second opinion.  They took their son, left, and immediately went to a second hospital to consult with a different doctor.  That doctor confirmed that their son needed the surgery, but said it was fine to take him home that day.  The next day the police and CPS showed up, broke into this couple's house, and took their son into custody.  The claim was that he was in immanent danger, that his parents were neglectful and abusive.  This was based on the fact that they had...what?  Nothing.  They had done nothing that any reasonable parent wouldn't have done.  They asked a second doctor to confirm what the first, rude one had said, before subjecting their infant son to major surgery.  And they had to go to court, and the court has upheld the behaviour of CPS and the police, and returned custody to the parents only on a conditional basis. The parents are now required to comply with all "reasonable" medical advice.  Who determines what is reasonable?  Apparently not the parents.

That makes me physically ill.  If these parents can lose control of medical decisions for their son over nothing more than seeking a second opinion (immediately, let's remember - it's not as though they waited several months), then no parent is safe.  And this is what the UN CRPD seeks to make the law of our land - government, not parents, has the right and authority to determine what is best for children.  If you disagree with that idea, you should care about this treaty.  You should call your representatives, and tell them so, and ask them to vote against it.  You should not sit back, and let other people worry about it, and think that this isn't your problem.

If you don't think this treaty is a problem, if you're one of those who feels it is reprehensible that we haven't passed it already, fine.  Leave me a comment, and help me see your point of view - but do it politely.  The other thing I can't stand (besides apathy) is rudeness, and I will not interact with anyone who can't maintain at least an appearance of respect for those with whom he (or she) disagrees.