Today, students all over the world have taken to the streets to raise awareness about climate change:
A movement that began with a single teenager distributing homemade fliers outside the Swedish parliament last summer became a global phenomenon on Friday, as students worldwide skipped school and took to the streets to urgently demand that adults combat the perils of climate change.
Starting in the South Pacific and moving west with the sun, the protests blanketed grand city centers and humble village squares. Organizers said they were expecting demonstrations in at least 112 countries, in more than 1,700 locations.
The coordinated demonstrations were planned as the largest manifestation to date of the Fridays for Future movement, in which students forgo classes each week in favor of something they have said is more important: pleading for action on an issue that will affect every person on the planet, but young people most of all.
Kamala Harris, for one, couldn’t be prouder:
I'm so proud of all the young people striking today to bring awareness to the fact that climate change is real, it's here & it poses an existential threat to our future. We must act now.
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) March 15, 2019
Isn’t that special?
— How Woke? Marvel Woke. (@JSpiederman) March 15, 2019
Encouraging truancy is irresponsible. Just wait until they think for themselves and realize you haven’t been truthful.
— Perry (@rpmelvin) March 15, 2019
And speaking of truancy …
— Drew McCoy (@_Drew_McCoy_) March 15, 2019
Flashback a decade or so:
Kamala Harris at an event hosted by the Commonwealth Club in 2010, explaining her decision as San Francisco DA to get tough on truancy.
Critics of truancy crackdowns say such efforts unfairly target poor parents and children without actually helping students. pic.twitter.com/GKkDpayxuv
— Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) January 28, 2019
Harris cheerfully recounts the story of sending an attorney from her office to intimidate a homeless single mother whose children were missing school. She smiles as she recalls how she instructed her subordinates to “look really mean” so that the mother would take the threat of jail seriously. In separate footage, Harris mocks those on the left who say things like “build schools, not jails” and “put more money into education, not prisons”, suggesting they are naive sloganeers who do not understand crime prevention.
Harris looked at the problem of perpetual truancy and believed she ought to start locking up parents. A humane progressive looks at the problem and asks: why do absences actually occur? Truancy occurs disproportionatelyamong children whose parents are poor and less-educated, and among children who don’t feel safe at school, who have to work or support their families, who have mental and physical health issues, and who are in unstable living situations.
Given the social reality, the idea of fining or jailing parents over student absences is both cruel and unwise. It targets the poorest and most desperate parents, and it doesn’t actually address the root causes. Even if it succeeds in reducing truancy rates, it inflicts yet more burdens on the most vulnerable people in society. But it’s not even clear that it succeeds even by its own standard, with research suggesting that “although truancy proceedings can increase a child’s school attendance in the short term, answering to a judge for school absence does not help students graduate from high school or avoid crime”.
What’s striking about Harris’s talk is that she doesn’t seem at all aware of the socioeconomic implications of her policy. She admits that when she proposed jailing parents, members of her staff thought it was a terrible idea. But she laughs about it. In a 2009 op-ed about her efforts, Harris brags about the reductions in truancy rates she achieved through harsher “accountability” practices, but she doesn’t discuss the potential downsides to a child’s development of putting their parents in jail for up to a year, nor does she think much about who the likely targets of her policy would be.
Something tells us Harris hasn’t so much realized the error of her ways as she’s been willing to say whatever she needs to in order to hold onto power and score political points. Just call her Kamala Kameleon.