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The Defining Debate On Morals -- Who Is Responsible?  The Parent Or The State?

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It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

The Preamble to the Constitution commits the federal government and the country to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity .

Thanks to Hillary Clinton, the African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child," has become a focal point for the debate over the role of the role of government and communities in supporting families and children. Republican Presidential nominee Robert Dole has challenged Ms. Clinton's view, arguing that all a child really needs is a strong family. Here, we give you an opportunity to explore this debate and come to your own conclusions as to how much support we need to provide as a nation to insure that every family can properly support our children.

Families, Children and Education: The Dole-Hillary Clinton Debate

 

Senator Dole's Position (from acceptance speech)

After decades of assault upon what made America great, upon supposedly obsolete values, what have we reaped, what have we created, what do we have? What we have, in the opinion of millions of Americans, is crime, drugs, illegitimacy, abortion, the abdication of duty, and the abandonment of children.

And after the virtual devastation of the American family, the rock upon which this country was founded, we are told that it takes a village -- that is, the collective, and thus, the state -- to raise a child.

The state is now more involved than it has ever been in the raising of children, and children are now more neglected, abused, and mistreated than they have been in our time.

This is not a coincidence, and, with all due respect, I am here to tell you: it does not take a village to raise a child.

It takes a family.

If I could by magic restore to every child who lacks a father or a mother, that father or that mother, I would.

And though I cannot, I would never turn my back on them, and I shall, as president, promote measures that keep families whole.

I am here to tell you that permissive and destructive behavior must be opposed, that honor and liberty must be restored, and that individual accountability must replace collective excuse. I am here to say to America, do not abandon the great traditions that stretch to the dawn of our history, do not topple the pillars of those below.

 

Hillary Clinton's Position (from Democratic Convention Speech)

I want to talk about what matters most in our lives and in our nation—children and families. I wish — I wish we could be sitting around a kitchen table, just us, talking about our hopes and fears, about our children’s futures. For Bill and me, family has been the center of our lives.

But we also know that our family, like your family, is part of a larger community that can help or hurt our best efforts to raise our child.

Right now, in our biggest cities and our smallest towns, there are boys and girls being tucked gently into bed, and there are boys and girls who have no one to call mom or dad, and no place to call home.

Right now there are mothers and fathers just finishing a long day’s work. And there are mothers and fathers just going to work, some to their second or third jobs of the day.

Right now there are parents worrying: “What if the baby sitter is sick tomorrow?” Or: “How can we pay for college this fall?” And right now there are parents despairing about gang members and drug pushers on the corners in their neighborhoods.

Right now there are parents questioning a popular culture that glamorizes sex and violence, smoking and drinking, and teaches children that the logos on their clothes are more valued than the generosity in their hearts.

But also right now there are dedicated teachers preparing their lessons for the new school year. There are volunteers tutoring and coaching children. There are doctors and nurses caring for sick children, police officers working to help kids stay out of trouble and off drugs.

Of course, parents, first and foremost, are responsible for their children.

But we are all responsible for ensuring that children are raised in a nation that doesn’t just talk about family values, but acts in ways that values families. Just think — as Christopher Reeve so eloquently reminded us last night, we are all part of one family — the American family. And each one of us has value. Each child who comes into this world should feel special — every boy and every girl.

 

Full Text of Hillary Clinton's Speech

 


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