If you see big government as evil, and the current shutdown as part of the battle to cut it down to size, perhaps you should look into the eyes of the littlest casualties of this glorious crusade.
Were talking about the 3- to 5-year-old children in Head Start programs in Allen, Noble and Whitley counties. There are about 800 of them, with hundreds more on a waiting list to get services.
Under the program, these children receive hot meals and medical and dental care as they are given the vital head start of preschool.
These children are from homes where it may be difficult or impossible for parents to provide these things. To qualify for Head Start, a family of four can earn no more than $23,050 a year.
If it makes you feel better, tell yourself that some of those parents are in such poverty because they are lazy or because they are struggling with problems that they brought on themselves.
But there is no such thing as a 5-year-old deadbeat. Whatever their parents did or didnt make of their lives, these children deserve a chance.
And consider that some of these parents need to have their children in Head Start because they are working and they need child care.
Yes, were talking about the working poor, people doing their best to earn a living and raise a family.
Its often said that people in this country need to get back to hard work and solid family values. Yet some of the people who say that seem to be OK with letting Head Start programs wither.
Two philanthropists recently stepped forward with a $10 million gift that may keep Head Start classes open in six states.
Maybe some charitable soul will pony up a few million for the early-education programs of Community Action of Northeast Indiana.
But if not, and if the government shutdown continues, federal funding for Head Start programs here will dry up Nov. 1.
In that case, said Mary Lee Freeze, director of CANIs Head Start program, it appears wed have to close our doors.
Tell yourself its about pride and fiscal responsibility and that darned health care law if you wish, but dont kid yourself. In this case, at least, the people who will directly pay the price will be the people who deserve it the least.