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Vicki Voldal Rosenau, Published November 10 2010

The ‘why?’ goes to collective failure to address the culture

‘WHY?” lamented the 1.3-inch headline at the very top of The Forum’s front page Nov. 6. Why are a growing number of American teens committing suicide?

Why? Because we (all of us collectively) are utterly failing to provide even the minimal level of human nurturance needed for young people’s healthy development.

Underlying the respective unique stressors affecting each young person who gives up on life at a tender age is an overpowering common reality: America’s obscenely commercialized “culture” provides the antithesis of what vulnerable children and adolescents require to mature into healthy human selves.

We perversely expect budding humans to thrive in a toxic soup of greed, antagonism and materialism that fosters narcissism, acquisitiveness and fear, rather than self-worth, empathy and a sense of belonging.

Youth culture is an intensified replication of adult culture, and teen bullying is the counterpart of the corporate bullying (unfettered “free enterprise”) that dictates nearly every fiber of American life.

Our teen suicide tragedy will not be alleviated by even the best-intended and best-enforced school reforms and laws. We need a full-blown movement to wrest life-death control from the mercenary hands of the corporate Goliath. A whole new kind of “pro-life movement” aiming to ensure that even the most sensitive young people can bear to continue living.

How, you ask, can mere individuals ever remove the corporatocracy’s chokehold? Well, it’ll have to be one bite at a time against the escalating power of corporate money over American life. And the first step might well be to support the emerging national movement for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood and unlimited corporate spending on elections.

This is a deep, horrific problem. Let’s not fool ourselves by only applying a “school bullying prevention” Band-Aid and then patting ourselves on the back for having tried. Our kids’ lives are at stake in the most unthinkable, literal way. We have to dig deeper and eradicate what is causing and promoting the bullying.