Daddy Knows Best: The slow but steady move to raise our children
Karen England, Executive Director
Capitol Resource Institute & Capitol Resource Family Alliance
California is often seen as the rebel teen by more conservative states, acting out and embarrassing the rest of the states with their radical legislation. I think we would all like to believe California’s big government problems are isolated. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Working on pro-parent legislation in two states, California and Nevada, has shown me that the problem of nanny government is far bigger than one state. Legislators all across the country feel they are entitled to figuratively, and possibly literally, walk in your front door and riffle through your closets and refrigerators, inspecting your belongings and quizzing your children on your parenting habits, all without cause.
In California the government has not fallen short in their attempts to remove parents from life-altering decisions affecting their children. Many school districts across the golden state hold a policy that allows students to be released without parental notification or consent for “confidential medical services.” These services can include mental health appointments, counseling sessions, and even medical abortions. How are school districts helping children by enabling them to hide major life issues from their parents? They’re not.
The most recent assault on parental rights in California is SB 18, a bill by Senator Richard Pan (D - SD 6). Dictating “rights” that the bill states belong to children and youth, a portion of this bill reads, “The right to parents, guardians, or caregivers who act in their best interest.” Another portion, “The right to live in a safe and healthy environment.” And among others, “The right to social and emotional well-being.”
The problem is that these are subjective ideas. Who gets to decide whether or not a parent is acting in the best interest of their child? Does this bill grant that authority to the government? Who decides what a safe environment is? Could a home where parents own firearms be considered unsafe?
The author of this bill voted YES on SB 203, a bill that required warnings on sugar-sweetened beverages, no doubt an attempt to decrease sugary beverage consumption. Would Senator Pan consider your home an unhealthy environment if you allow your children to have a soda on family movie night? Would your parenting choices inside your home now be opened up to even more government oversight without any cause?
While California is on the cutting edge of rights-grabbing, other states are not far behind. Nevada has its own set of woes as it’s been a prime example of the blatant hypocrisy that is nanny government. Nevada law prohibits minors from using tanning beds, getting a tattoo, or “vaping” without parental permission. In blatant contradiction, just like California, the law allows minors to obtain an abortion, a complex medical procedure, without any parental notification or consent. Legislators seem bent on creating the society they think should exist by imposing their will upon our children and families. If legislators want to govern children, they should have their own. If they do, then why are they occupying their time with trying to raise ours?
Something I often think to myself when thinking about legislators usurping parental rights is “Do these legislators know my child’s name?” The answer is simply “no.” And if you don’t know what my child’s name is, you shouldn’t have the authority to make laws that allow them to undergo something as impactful as an abortion. Ronald Reagan once said, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.” He was right. What if we don’t want their help in raising our children, can we decline? To “help” someone is not to force your will upon them. But this is the exact mindset of many occupying elected positions today, “I know best.”
Most of us have heard the saying “it takes a village.” Is the government attempting to embody the “it takes a government” mindset? Often times parents feel powerless when the government is on the prowl looking for ways to “help” them better parent their children. While standing up to nanny government isn’t easy, it is possible. I am a very practical person. I want a list of things I can do to make an impact. So I want to give you a quick list of things that you can do to equip yourself to stand for parental rights.
1. Find an organization that you can trust who will keep you updated on assaults on your parental rights.
2. Meet your legislators. With new legislators across the country, now is the time to call and make an appointment with your legislator or a member of their staff. Introduce yourself, and if possible, find some common ground. This will lay a foundation for when you later want to contact them to advocate for or against legislation.
3. Surround yourself with like-minded people. The fight for parental rights can be a draining one. It’s important to link arms with people who are also invested in the battle to preserve parental rights. We gain ideas, encouragement, and increased impact by working together.
4. Just do something. One of my favorite quotes is by Edmund Burke “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” When we can’t do everything, sometimes we do nothing. Realize that it’s ok if you can’t do everything. Do what you can. Some ways to take action are: email your legislators, call your legislators, post on social media, go to the capitol to lobby, and share important information with friends. These are tools in your hands, use them to make an impact!
Karen England is the Executive Director of the California pro-family public policy group, Capitol Resource Institute. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Nevada pro-family public policy group, Capitol Resource Family Alliance. Karen is passionate about educating and equipping citizens so they have the necessary tools to make an impact for their values in the political realm. She has represented family values in outlets including FOX News, The O’Reilly Factor, Anderson Cooper 360, The Laura Ingram Show, the San Francisco Chronicle, WorldNetDaily, and others. Her writing has appeared on the FlashReport, California’s version of the Drudge Report, and elsewhere.