Jewish World Review April 19, 2000 / 14 Nissan, 5760
Teaching children responsibility
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- PRESIDENT CLINTON can hold as many feel-good White House conferences as he wants but until he at least attempts to practice what he preaches, these ballyhooed confabs will hardly be worth the hot air they generate.
Clinton announced that he and Hillary will host a White House Conference on Teen-agers on May 2 to "talk through the challenges of raising responsible children." It seems that they were moved by an astonishing piece of research indicating that the preteen years set patterns for behavior in adulthood. Wow! You mean to tell me that a child's early influences may affect what he becomes as an adult? This is almost as shocking as that infamous Time Magazine story that revealed that men and women were actually born different.
It never ceases to amaze me how liberals commission studies to confirm what man has known since before the time he didn't descend from the Neanderthal. But far be it from me to discourage such studies, especially if they finally supply liberals with data the rest of us acquired by common sense.
Conservatives have always known that a child's upbringing will greatly influence the type of person he will grow up to be. Critically important are the example the parents set, the values they impart and the outside influences to which they expose the child.
As parents, you teach a child the importance of honesty and integrity by punishing him for lying. You teach responsibility by making him accountable for his actions. But all your preaching and discipline will be for naught unless you live your own lives in accordance with those principles. And even if you discharge your parental duties impeccably your child is still at risk of being corrupted by things beyond your control.
Though liberals may not realize this either without an expensive study, the president of the United States, through his words and actions, sets a moral example for our children. While parents don't expect to get much help from Hollywood in this department, they do have a right to count on their Chief Executive to reinforce the values they are instilling at home.
Bill Clinton can talk until he's blue in the face about teaching children to be responsible but he will continue to do more harm than good as long as his actions undermine his empty words. Even without benefit of a federal study, I'm prepared to tell you that his actions do belie his words.
While his presidential fate was in the hands of his Senate impeachment jurors, Clinton was issuing an apology a week and meeting incessantly with his spiritual advisers. His subsequent pronouncements on the subject demonstrate his lack of contrition.
"I'm not ashamed of the fact that they impeached me. That was their decision, not mine, and it was wrong. As a matter of law, Constitution, and history, it was wrong. I'm glad I didn't quit, and I'm glad we fought it. ... I am proud of what we did here because I think we saved the Constitution of the United States."
Listen up, America's youth. It was Congress' and Ken Starr's fault that the president committed these crimes and other despicable acts. It was the Independent Counsel and Congress that subverted the Constitution for trying to make the president accountable for engaging in high crimes and misdemeanors.
The message: No matter what you do, if you deny it and blame your accusers, you'll get away with it. When possible, always pass the buck. If you repeat a lie often enough it will be accepted as truth. And, pretend to be sorry as long it serves your interests, but not a second longer.
The president could do a lot more for our children by
accepting responsibility and accountability for his
actions than by holding bogus conferences that pretend to
search in earnest for answers that are right in front of our
04/17/00: Elian, Marx and parental rights