Common Dreams - July 21, 2019

... A lot of these stories involve mothers and the extremely difficult circumstances of raising children in the US while poor. CNN’s “feel good” story (8/24/18) about a teacher sitting in a car with her student’s baby so the new mom could attend a job fair raised far more questions than it asked (which was zero). Why is there so little public childcare in the US? Should a new mother really need to immediately find a job so badly? Is this good for infants’ development?

On a similar subject, Good Morning America (7/17/18) describes the “trendy” new baby-shower gift of donating your pregnant co-worker your days off to give her maternity leave. Every country in the world except the US and Papua New Guinea guarantees paid maternity leave, meaning the trend is unlikely to catch on abroad.

Many outlets (CBS, 5/20/16; Huffington Post, 8/6/16; People, 4/11/16) cheerfully reported on how one man did at least 15 years of backbreaking labor as a night shift janitor at Boston College so his children could attend for free. But none even mentioned that if he lived in nearly any country in Western Europe, this wouldn’t have been necessary, as university there is free or virtually free to attend.

In fact, rather than discussing ballooning tuition costs, Yahoo! (11/15/17) used the story to take jabs at disloyal millennials:

Millennials move from job to job in order to climb the ladder…. For baby boomers and other generations…loyalty and dedication to a single company or career drove, and still drives, much of their working lives.

Any of these stories could have been used to explore the pressing social and economic realities of being poor in the United States, and having to work for things considered fundamental rights in other countries. But instead they are presented as uplifting features, something only possible if we unquestionably accept the political and economic system.

Kids Do the Darndest Things

Many of what Think Progress (8/2/18) labels “feel-good feel-bad stories” involve children doing things they wouldn’t have to in any reasonable society. CBS invites us to enjoy an account of a boy selling his Xbox computer to help his (single) mom (4/2/19), and another repairing his town’s ravaged roads himself (4/12/19). TheHill (6/10/19), meanwhile, describes a nine-year-old saving his pocket money to pay off his school friends’ “lunch debts.” ...
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