During the pandemic, a road in Golden Gate Park that was closed to cars on Sunday was closed every day, much to the delight of the people who love to walk, jog, skate, bicycle in the park. Now that things are opening up, there was move to re-open it to cars. There was an open meeting of the Board of Supervisors and people were invited to express their ideas and concerns both live and by phone. Good, listening, responsive democracy in action.
My wife chose the phone option and listened for three hours to people’s one-minute points of view before she had her turn. One of them was an 8-year old child, who testified how much she loved to walk on the road and notice the animals and how without the cars, there seemed to be more of them. How refreshing was that? To hear a child’s voice amongst the adults saying something so heartfelt and simple and true.
Having listened to kids at my school both speak and write about their concerns around the daily news, I already knew that children’s voices are important, insightful, honest and often much more to the point than the adults who are already ensconced in party positions or thinking with their head only or speaking from the brainwashed part of their mind.
And then the obvious thought struck. Why not include children’s voices in Congress? Let them weigh in on every decision before it’s to be made? After all, the decision is likely to impact them more than the old Congress-people who will be gone before the effects of bad decisions show up in the future. Might we actually listen to the children and hear what they have to say? I’m not just talking about the Greta Thurnbergs and David Hoggs and Emma Gonzales’s (latter two from the Parkland Shooting in Florida), but include 5th graders and 1st graders and even pre-schoolers.
For the younger ones, the adults would have to explain the issue at their level, which already would be a great exercise. Without the gobblygook of Foxnewsspeak, how would people explain things like “We want the gun industry to keep making lots of money and let anyone who wants get an assault rifle” to a first grader who had just heard about the latest school shooting?
Then they’d have to sit back and really listen to the kids. Also listen to their comments like “Why is that man yelling at the others? Why won’t he answer the question? He sounds like he’s lying.” And all those other fresh perceptions of the young ones.
In short, inviting children’s voices into Congress to at least be heard, if not eventually granted some votes. Listening to children, before they are brainwashed and taught to obey instead of think and kept away from the books that help them hear other perspectives, would change everything. It would teach them to be active citizens in the future by being active citizens in the present. The idea that they’re too young to think clearly is blown out of the water by adult Congress people talking about Jewish space lazers and convincing other adults that Democrats are pedophiles who also eat their young. When well-prepared by adults who share ideas without imposing them, children, in my experience, turn out to be remarkably intelligent. (The quotes I gave a few posts back about the power of music is a case in point.)
So alongside the Orff workshops before each session of Congress, inviting children who are concerned about specific issues to have their say is another game-changer that no one considers.