By Ken Lizotte
President Thoreau Farm Trust
As we all know, Henry loved children and they loved him. Though he never sired any of his own, a natural mutual attraction could not be missed that lasted his entire lifetime. Even on his deathbed, he asked that neighboring children be let into his room.
Which raises the obvious question that today echoes the title of Thoreau Farm’s current book of essays What Would Henry Do? That question is: if Henry were alive today, what would he think, what would he say, what would he do about what’s happening to our children?
What would Henry think for example about the hundreds of children literally kidnapped by our Federal government, separated from their natural parents just because they crossed our southern borders to escape tyranny in their home countries that threatened their children’s very lives?
And what would Henry think (and say) about the thousands upon thousands of children abused over so many, many decades by the Catholic Church? Only now coming to light are countless crimes covered up by Church authorities who could have, and should have, done something to stop them yet did nothing.
What would Henry think, say and do about the horrors of human trafficking, preying upon teenagers worldwide? Or gun violence that has slaughtered school children of all ages? Or parental abuse, drug epidemics, teenage suicide rates?
It is all so unthinkable that this goes on and on without the slightest hint of help from those who have sworn an oath to protect our children from such atrocities. Instead government authorities (Congress mostly) pay us only lip service.
Using this question in our book’s title as a guide — what would Henry do? — we must ask ourselves now what will we do? Please think of Henry when you respond, as in:
- Speak out against war, slavery and discrimination
- Engage when all else fails in civil disobedience
- Participate in a modern-day underground railroad
- Write a blog or letter or article or book
- Campaign for candidates who seem likely to actually do something, not just call for a “moment of silence” and then forget and ignore the issue
- Contribute to social and political organizations actively fighting for our children’s rights and lives, such as the ACLU and other human rights advocacy groups
If you agree, please join me in taking one step, however small, today, then another tomorrow. By banding together, we can end these horrors. Adhering to Henry’s notion of a life of principle, and imagining what Henry himself might think, say and do if he were with us today, we can surely overcome.