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The Children’s Crusade

13 Sep
childrens crusade - Tom_Sander_Crusades

Once upon a time in America, if you were a politician, you could be assured of losing the voters confidence and/or your job just by refusing to acknowledge or by merely implying that America’s children weren’t the most important and precious resource that out country has.

And once upon a time in history over 800 years ago as the story goes, A young man began to preach in either France or Germany; claiming that he had been visited by Jesus, who instructed him to lead a crusade in order to peacefully convert Muslims to Christianity.

Through a series of portents and miracles, he gained a following of up to 30,000 children and led his followers south towards the Mediterranean Sea, in the belief that the sea would part on their arrival, which would allow him and his followers to walk to Jerusalem.

Unfortunately That did not happen and the children wound up being sold to two merchants who gave them free passage by boat to Tunisia where they were then sold into slavery… or in another version of the story, died in a shipwreck.

Although much of that story may be part myth, part legend  and part history many historians came to believe that they were not all children, but multiple bands of “wandering poor” in Germany and France who were part of a social upheaval: the downtrodden and disenfranchised in search of a “cause” so to speak…

The Children’s Crusade occurred in 1212 and at that time the words used to describe the travellers or crusaders were “parvuli” or “infantes” which were words that scholars have come to interpret as being words that The Church at that time used to describe “wage workers or labourers” who were young and had no inheritance and who were also “powerless”… and as a consequence, expendable.

However, today in modern times it is early September of 2020, or 808 years later, and once again we are about to embark on another children’s crusade as we send our youngest and most powerless children back to school during the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

And they are being sent on a mission to save America from itself…asked to bravely go out into the world together in large groups to basically…send America back to work and to lead Americans back indoors and to return the economy to a sense of normalcy in an effort to…see what happens.

Are our children, as some say, immune to this terrible disease? Or will they catch it in large numbers like grown ups do and fall ill? Perhaps they will contract the virus but feel no effects and be no worse for the wear? Maybe they will bring it home to others in their family and spread the disease to loved ones who will too get sick but suffer a worse degree of illness than they, the carriers, do?

We just don’t know because while we suspended school and large social gatherings last March to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 virus, we have done nothing to hinder the virus from lying in wait for our, and our children’s return.

And thus, their “crusade”, if you will, begins. And why must we send them to schools and colleges en masse? Because who is to watch the children if they stay home? For our 2020 modern society is now based on work and capitalism where mothers and fathers alike go out into the working world to earn money to keep the economy growing… and one cannot grow the economy with children in tow.

And so, they go…to school…to learn…but mostly to be watched by teachers who are also child care-takers, an extra job also necessitated by the rise and popularity of capitalism. Alas, no one is home anymore, at least among the “wage workers” who are young and without capital.

But sadly teachers are wage workers also and many cannot go to work and watch the children of others when they have to leave their children at home.

And even though more than 97,000 children in the U.S. tested positive for the coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, findings, compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, included data from 49 states, meaning the number of infections could be even higher.

Health Officials have long warned that the true coronavirus toll may be much higher than reported due to insufficient testing and the lack of symptoms in many people who are infected. And with over 6 million confirmed cases in the U.S. with more than 500,000 of those cases being children there is no way of knowing what will happen next.

Yet still we plan to send our “les infantes” out on this crusade… except this time we are actually sending real children out into the fray! (along with teachers and support staff and other wage workers) Some actually want to go, some are choosing to stay at home and still others are being forced against their will and better judgement… But Will their sacrifice breathe life back into our economy or will our hopes and dreams be dashed on the rocks of poor judgement and greed? 

I can’t believe I’m saying this but…we shall see? To paraphrase an ancient Greek philosopher’s maxim:  We are sending our hearts out into the world…unguarded.

Good luck and Godspeed to the crusaders… and us all!

mvschulze

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