Glenn Beck’s Problem With Melissa Harris-Perry’s ‘Kids Belong To Whole Communities’

Glenn Beck has a problem with a recent “Lean Forward” ad on MSNBC. In the ad, Melissa Harris-Perry says, “kids belong to whole communities.” Of course, Glenn Beck also has a problem with reality, so that should be taken into consideration.

In the advertisement, Harris-Perry says:

MSNBC / “Lean Forward” ad — We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. – Melissa Harris-Perry

I’ve seen the commercial before, and I guess it’s my liberal bias, but I don’t have a problem with it. The same cannot be said for one-time Fox News host, full-time conspiracy theory nutcase, Glenn Beck.

I think that there’s a good 20 to 30% of America, maybe even higher now, I’m not sure, [that] will gladly have the State take that over so they don’t have to worry about it. Yet another one of your responsibilities taken from you — I’m sorry. Another one of your responsibilities that you will gladly hand over because you don’t know what to do. And so they will do it for you: Don’t worry! We’ll raise your kids. We’ll train your kids. We’ll educate your kids because it’s working out so well. – Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck - photo by Kevin Trotman

This is a textbook example of conservatives missing the point, and then proceeding to turn something positive into a slippery slope to a dystopian future.

The first problem is the “us” against “them” mentality so prominent on the Right. Beck’s argument that there are “20 to 30%” who will “gladly have the State take that over” is no different then Mitt Romney’s “47%” or Paul Ryan’s “takers” vs. “makers.” If there is something other than taxes in which the right is pathological, it’s the idea that a large subsection of society are lowlifes and moochers. Conservatives like Beck have not awaken from an outmoded human mindset that takes us back to the days of the noble class and the peasant class.

The second problem is that Beck has completely missed the point. Melissa Harris-Perry is putting her own spin on Hillary Clinton’s “it takes a village.” Children do not live in a vacuum, unaffected by the world around them. Parents can believe their children belong to them, but that should not be mistaken for having complete control over their children. In addition, the health and educational outcomes of students will determine the health of the nation. We should all care that America is falling behind. This is what Harris-Perry is talking about. She is advocating for a society that has a vested interest in the educational outcomes of not just privileged children, but all children.

Conservatives like Beck have an issue with nuance. They like to assign a very direct and literal meaning to everything that suits their “us” against” them” mentality. But those of us not looking to pick fights, and instead solve problems, have no problem parsing words and understanding greater meaning.

photo by Kevin Trotman

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