Maybe I am as much at fault as anyone. My myopic fascination with political warfare has made me oblivious to nearly everything else. If something in the news has a political edge, I notice it. If not, it passes under my mental radar unseen.

What does get my attention, though, are the stories we have seen all too often lately about children dying in our cities because our social service systems — supposedly there to protect them — are broken. Last summer we read about the kids in the City of Brotherly Love who died — some murdered — because their social service files got misplaced.

This week it is Washington’s turn: four children dead. Mayor Fenty called it “egregious” and said that social workers had a “check off the box” mentality. I call it social worker abuse.

OK. Life sucks. Bad things happen. That’s just a byproduct of being human. But for poor and minority kids, when life sucks it doesn’t mean a parking ticket, a late fee on your checking account, a son or daughter who is getting a little too mouthy and you don’t know what to do about it.

For these kids in Philly and Washington, when life sucks it means death, physical abuse, neglect, starvation, broken spirits.

What is gnawing at me right now, though, is not just the tragedy of their unending pain, but the fact that we look away and ignore it. A Rake’s Progress is primarily a blog about political matters. So let’s get political: where are our presidential candidates, our would-be leaders, in expressing grief and outrage that these events continue to happen in our country? Where are their noble solutions, or even those little incremental changes that social scientists tell us can make a difference?

Why aren’t they speaking out about Philly and Washington?

There’s all this nonsense right now about “racism” being thrown back and forth between Obama and Clinton, when the real racism is that the child corpses being carried out of the tenements in body bags are African-American and Hispanic.

Why aren’t you — reader of tens of thousands of words written in blogs, on web sites, in your social networks — why aren’t you paying attention to this, demanding that our politicians act, demanding that we do a better job of protecting the vulnerable kids in our cities?

Why are searches that lead to this blog only about Hillary, Obama, Edwards, McCain, Romney, Thompson, Giuliani, Paul?

What about doing some blog searches for “children murdered in Philadelphia,” “four girls dead in Washington,” or “social service system corrupt and broken?”

Go ahead. Google “murdered children.” See what happens.

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