Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Parents as Political Powerhouse

Several groups are hoping to unite America's parents into one political organization. There are 65 million parents with children under the age of 18 and the hope is, as a united force, they can pressure the federal government to more adequately address a host of issues from Internet safety to childhood obesity.

This would be a potent political force indeed. But how many parents can really agree on a broad platform? There is certainly a faction that regularly uses "but think about the children" arguments to mean "take away the rights of adults." This is especially true in issues of censorship but crops up in all manner of public safety debates. How does one group accommodate parents who seek to impose societal restrictions "for the sake of the children" with parents who want the government to stay out of their and their children's lives? How about parents who think prayer in school would be the best thing for their children and parents who think an exposure to religion would be detrimental to their children? The list of potential stumbling blocks is very long.

In the end, I have to question if America's parents share enough in common to make an effective national political group. However, it is likely that local and even state groups could find much more common ground between parents and thus achieve much more effective change. A national group that was just a loose federation of local groups might work a lot better. As a parent myself, I would be much more interested in working on a local level than a national one.


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