by Mary Grabar
Clinton's dream of sending federal agents into American homes.
A campaign ad that Hillary Clinton used against Barack Obama in 2008 featured images of sleeping children, with a voice asking who would answer the phone ringing in the White House at 3 a.m., “someone who already knows the world leaders . . . the military,” someone “tested and ready to lead”—or (by implication) a first-term U.S. Senator/community organizer?
Hillary Clinton is running for president again, and of course is ignoring her failure as secretary of state to answer the late-night phone call coming from Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Instead, she is advertising how she wants to send federal emissaries into the homes of parents with newborn infants to teach them how to handle 3 a.m. feedings and baby talk. It’s an extension of her agenda as first lady in the Arkansas governor’s mansion and in the White House. Her political career, after graduating and having written a thesis on friend Saul Alinsky, was launched with the Children’s Defense Fund under the direction of Marian Wright Edelman, agitator for increased welfare “for the children,” including federally funded childcare workers.
As president, Hillary Clinton would implement the Edelman/Alinsky domestic vision she put forward, in more palatable terms, in her 1996 book, It Takes a Village to Raise a Child. Of course, it takes someone like Clinton to see the federal government as a “village.”
In that book Clinton wrote, “government is not something outside us—something irrelevant or even alien to us—but is us. To acknowledge this is to acknowledge that government has a responsibility not only to provide essential services but to bring individuals and communities together.” This is the backwards notion of the community organizer.
Recently, in a May 21, 2016, Washington Post op-ed, Clinton revealed her totalizing domestic plans by reiterating her commitment to paid family leave legislation and to the “big idea” of “increasing federal investments and incentivizing states so that no family ever has to pay more than 10 percent of its income for child care.”
She also proposed doubling the investment in programs that she helped develop as first lady: Early Head Start and the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership program. Parroting bureaucrats, Clinton claimed, “These programs bring an evidenced-based curriculum to child care and make sure kids get the best possible start in life. . . . .”
She, however, ignores the studies, including one by the agency administering the program, that show that when Head Start does have a positive impact, it is slight and disappears by third grade.
Even so, Clinton wants to expand federal daycare, and also to send government agents into homes, following her efforts as first lady of Arkansas when she introduced the “Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters,” or “HIPPY.” Her campaign website boasts of a more recent feat, “As a leader at the Clinton Foundation,” when she “started a national public awareness campaign called ‘Too Small to Fail’ or ‘Pequeños y Valiosos’ aimed at closing the ‘word gap.’”
The Clinton Foundation, a purported charity (in reality a campaign slush fund with contributions helping friends’ business pursuits), is using the latest “gap” as the basis for the programs she hopes to enact as president. The campaign site explains: “This gap refers to the 30 million fewer words heard by lower-income children by the time they are 4 years old, which leads to disparities in language development and school readiness.” Low-income students already receive free breakfasts and lunches, even in the summer. Under the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act they can look forward to attending “community schools,” where they will receive homework help, family dinners, and health and dental services.
Under Clinton’s plan, the federal government would provide childcare subsidies to families, raise the wages of childcare workers, and provide “home visiting services”—the latter to teach parents to talk to their children. In It Takes a Village, Clinton celebrated England’s tradition of providing home visits through its national health service. (She also bragged about her work on Goals 2000, the precursor to Common Core.)
Initiatives, like the one to end the “word gap” may sound head-scratching-ly bizarre to people who have been around babies, and made idiots of themselves by cooing and lapsing into inane talk.
But the studies that show that many low-income (i.e., single and government-dependent) parents do not speak to their young children are borne out by observation.
It is an uncomfortable subject for many leftists. Anyone who has taken public transportation in cities like Atlanta, where it is mostly used by those who cannot afford cars, knows this--including one of my leftist friends. In traffic-choked Atlanta it made sense for her to commute to her job downtown via the rail line, a straight shot from her apartment. She would save on time, car wear-and-tear, gas, and parking—not to mention “The Environment.”
But she stopped, explaining in an agonized voice that she couldn’t bear to watch how young mothers treated their children, with slaps and pulls, screaming abuses at them, at the train station.
Of course, no one would dare reprimand such parents.
So my friend retreated. Leftist parents retreat by sending their children to private schools, while arguing for more funding for public schools.
The reaction is to retreat, to one’s car, and to vote for and advocate more government social programs so that “experts” can deal with such parents. Leftists refuse to acknowledge that government programs that incentivize family breakdown and interfere with natural communities are the problem.
Conservatives, frustrated by the inability of political representatives to cut back on detrimental government programs and despairing at the takeover of education by radicals, retreat to far-flung suburbs, where they undertake the dual tasks of parenting and teaching. No one can or should blame them. In fact, they are to be commended. When I taught college I could count on homeschooled students to be better educated and more motivated than students from public schools.
But with the retreat of such parents, public schools suffer. It’s a vicious cycle, but the progressive’s solution (or opportunity) is to use the deterioration as an entrée to more government meddling.
Now, especially in Obama’s final year, we are witnessing the Washington overlords hounding the middle-class citizens into their retreats. They are forcing “individuals and communities together” under Obama’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation of 2015. The suburbs are being forced to build housing for the poor, who will bring their dysfunction to everything from the playground to the shopping mall. As the feds impose their diktats on public spaces and private businesses, the homeschooling family will find fewer and fewer places where they are comfortable. Under Obama’s Department of Education, they have found themselves forced to adhere to crazy Common Core standards if they want to pass GED tests, college entrance exams, and AP exams. They find that many colleges now use Common Core test scores for placement in classes. This overreach inspired many conservatives into activism and made Common Core part of the presidential campaign.
But as the presidential election approaches, many of the same conservatives are retreating--from the voting booth. Morally repulsed by the profligate past, rhetoric, and impure ideology of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, they vow to back a third-party candidate, write in a name, or just stay home and pray. They are impervious to arguments that their retreat makes a Hillary Clinton (Obama.2) presidency likely.
Surprisingly, the anti-Trump super PAC, Our Principles, as part of their attacks on Trump’s sexism, has been using statements about fatherhood that he made on the Howard Stern show in 2005. Like the leftists, these Republicans take umbrage at Trump’s comments about husbands who relent to pressures and “act like the wife.”
Trump expressed traditional sentiments and said he believed in supplying “funds,” but not changing diapers or pushing a stroller through Central Park. In contrast, I am reminded of one of many absurd helpful hints about fatherhood coming from the Obama administration. Early on, a Father’s Day campaign that encouraged fathers’ involvement showed a picture of a burly father with his young daughter. They were both painting their fingernails.
Voters should be asking themselves if they want the Big-Nanny-in-Chief sending government agents into homes. Or do they want to become breadwinners again?
Mary Grabar, Ph.D., a resident fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, taught college English for 20 years. She founded the Dissident Prof Education Project, Inc., a 501(c)(3) education reform initiative. The motto, “Resisting the Re-Education of America,” arose in part from her perspective as a very young immigrant from the former Communist Yugoslavia (Slovenia specifically). Her writing can be found at www.marygrabar.com.
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