By Carol Meyer
Theodore Seuss Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss, has written and illustrated a collection of fun, fanciful and outrageously entertaining stories that have become a staple in the libraries, classrooms and homes where children of all ages gather to enjoy the adventures of animals who take on human traits of speech and a wide range of emotions and conflicts against backdrops of zoos, jungles circuses, castles and even around a fishing hole.
A favorite tale from the Dr. Seuss collection for many a reader/listener is “Horton Hears a Who,” featuring the lovable, ultimately heroic character, Horton, an elephant who has an exceptional capacity to hear the tiniest of sounds and a huge capacity for courage and compassion. Horton spends much of the tale defending the source of tiny cries, little people of a town called Whoville, from a cynical and menacing cabal of jungle residents who cannot hear the cries and seem intent on destroying both Horton and his tiny charges.
Horton rallies the Whos to make all the noise they can so that they can save themselves, and when a “shirker,” the smallest Who, adds his voice to the clamor, the jungle cabal stops their attacks. Throughout his persistent defense of his little friends, Horton reminds himself, his jungle companions and ultimately the readers that “A person is a person no matter how small.”
During the past week there have been some children’s voices raised loud enough to be heard by the national media covering the political speeches of candidates for the 2020 presidential elections and the campaign rallies of the present occupant of that office, Donald Trump. The children’s voices expressed fears about the shootings that have occurred with increasing frequency in schools where they will be returning this fall.
An 8-year-old girl attending a town meeting with her family clearly identified the concerns of children today. She explained that she was a home-schooler because her mom felt the public schools weren’t safe. She asked a simple question: “What are you going to do to make schools safe?”
Just as Horton listened and heard a cry for help and then took action to protect the tiniest of people, every candidate must answer this question with action not promises, not campaign one-ups-man-ship.
It’s time for federal legislation to establish universal background checks, red flags, and a national ban on weapons of mass destruction designed for battlefield use in wars that have no place in the hands of civilians who want to hunt and protect their families. The time is now. Our children are asking for help.
We need some “Hortons” in the presidency, in the Congress and in the Senate.