A Song Dedication to Senator Chris Dodd
One of my favorite songs by Ani Difranco is one of her less popular works, Tamburitza Lingua. The final lyric goes like this:
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
you're done for.
you're done for good.
so tell me
did you do?
did you do all you could?
I want to dedicate this song to Senator Christopher Dodd, because he is going through that reflective process now. He has decided not to run for a sixth term in Congress, but he wants to make sure that he doesn’t leave unfinished business. In an effort to reassert the importance of this type of child-centered policy making, Dodd will hold four congressional hearings on “The State of the American Child.”
Dodd has been a champion for children for almost 20 years in congress. In 1983, as a freshman senator he launched the Senate's Children Caucus. At the time, leading a subcommittee devoted to a non-voting constituency was not exactly a home run. But, despite the odds, the children’s caucus went on to champion quality child care, early childhood education, and bring about the law that supports worker’s unpaid time off to care for newborns and sick family members. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 made the United States a little more caring place to live.
In a climate where most congressional hearings are held to figure out what went wrong, Dodd is attempting to help America figure out what we can do right, for children. The first hearing took place on Tuesday, June 8th, and the final will be held before the end of the senator’s term in January, 2011. The goal of the hearings is to consider the issues families and children face in modern society so that congress can address these issues proactively.
Dodd said recently of his legacy of work for children:
"That's where I've enjoyed my work the most — working on the children's issues, child care, family leave ... after-school [programs], Head Start. Those issues have given me the greatest sense of satisfaction from a public policy standpoint."
I’d have to say, he might tell Ani, “Yes, I did all I could.”
Thanks to Daniela Altimari for covering this story for the Chicago Tribune.