Monday, October 22, 2007

Pedophiles and Child Health Care, an interesting double standard

We've come to the point where child molestation is a national obsession, with an entire nationally broadcast television show ("To catch a predator") devoted to catching pedophiles. Shades of the Reagan years and the fear that every day care worker was secretly a pedophile, only the internet seems now to have replaced day care as the culprit. People want to do everything to pedophiles, from keeping them in prison indefinitely to restricting their options in terms of place of residence and employment to the point where they're basically completely excluded from society, something that psychologists say actually contributes to recidivism among sexual offenders. Everything is recommended short of shooting them in the back of the head (although the death penalty in general has been suggested repeatedly), and people who snap photos of their kids when they happen to be naked, as babies and toddlers are wont to be, have actually faced charges of pedophilia and of creating child pornography when they've taken their pictures to their local drug store to have them developed. People who tend to go to the extremes in their recommendations for punishment of sex offenders tend to be conservative. Let's take a look at what they think about doing for kids after the possibility of them being subject to the trauma of sexual assault is taken out of the picture.

Enter one Graeme Frost, a twelve year old who had brain cancer, whose parents didn't have health insurance because they didn't make enough money/didn't have stable employment. They applied to and got help through a federal funded and state administered program known as S-CHIP, the State Childrens Health Insurance Program. S-CHIP was on the chopping block last week and Frost testified to Congress about his experience and how S-CHIP helped him and his family. Enter the Republican noise machine. After his testimony Graeme Frost and his family came under fire from numerous conservative groups who attacked their character and their honesty, saying that it was their fault that they couldn't afford to pay for brain surgery for their twelve year old son, multiple brain surgeries, because they could theoretically have had an insurance plan if they hadn't been irresponsible. As Tom Tomorrow, the cartoonist, recently noted, reality is outpacing fantasy in the lengths that Republicans and conservatives will go to advance their agenda.

String up those pedophiles, it's time for some justice (even though experts say that sexual abuse within the family is much, much more prevalent than sexual abuse by strangers), yet if those kids who have now been protected from the life long wound of sexual assault get a debilitating, potentially fatal, disease, well there's just nothing we can do about it. Anything else would be an overstepping of the government's power in society.

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