To the editor:

The world is full of stupid ideas and yet without them what would we have to talk about? Evidence the current notion on the fragility of children. Yes, in one sense they are fragile in that they will not develop their full potential without being loved by somebody, but be short-changed without intimate knowledge of human frailty and cowardice. Kids can take the truth if it’s delivered in the context of our obvious advances in the past 400 years.

As a teenager years ago, I first heard of the burning and lynching of Black people in our country. I agonized over the terrible possibility that humans were capable of such unthinkable behavior. And yet, in my religious training we learned that the Hebrews were instructed by God to slay Canaanites men, women and children, and all their faultless animals as well. Leave nothing standing. A war of extermination. Suddenly, the strange fruit hanging from the poplar tree in Billie Holiday’s mournful song made sense as a mode of domestic terrorism.

Would I have suffered less and learned more if I’d heard these truths about our history from a wise teacher who would have situated them in the context of human frailty and tribalism, who would have helped me to understand that the roots of unthinkable behavior could be found in our history of slavery, yes, and also in the human tendency to blame the other?

Savvy political observers can easily spot how the notion of fragile children, learning of our bloody history, would suffer lasting emotional turmoil and damage to their self-image is just the latest self-serving misinformation promulgated by the unseen hands of power seekers funding “think tanks” like The Center for the American Experiment. Child protection? Not at all.

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Jeanne Johnson

Alexandria, MN