The Senate, known for its conservative stance, yesterday, January 31, 2024, took center stage with a moral high ground during a hearing organized by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The event, titled “Senate Judiciary Committee to Press Big Tech CEOs on Failures to Protect Kids Online During Landmark Hearing,” portrayed a picture of seasoned politicians disciplining young tech leaders. However, a closer examination reveals a stark contrast in their priorities, raising questions about their sincerity and commitment to the well-being of the nation.

By David Andersson, Pressenza

The irony becomes evident when juxtaposed with the Senate’s reluctance to address crucial issues such as gun violence. On July 25, 2023, the American University in Washington D.C. published a groundbreaking study titled “U.S. Youth Attitudes on Guns.” The report, conducted in collaboration with Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and the Polarization & Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL), revealed that guns are the leading cause of death for young Americans. Astonishingly, despite this alarming statistic, the Senate has failed to pass legislation addressing the issue, exposing a glaring contradiction in their purported concern for the youth.

Closeup of the dome of the US Capitol by night

The discrepancy becomes even more pronounced when considering the Senate’s involvement in international conflicts. The same individuals expressing concern for the safety of American youth are responsible for providing weapons to nations like Israel and Ukraine. The toll on innocent lives, especially children, in conflict zones is staggering, with over 8,663 Palestinian children reported killed by Israeli forces in Gaza since October 7, 2023. This raises serious doubts about the Senate’s moral high ground when their actions contribute to the suffering and loss of life on a global scale.

Moreover, the Senate’s reluctance to support bills advocating for a minimum wage increase further exposes their skewed priorities. In Queens, NY, where 21% of the population faces food insecurity, the Senate’s failure to address this pressing issue has direct implications for the well-being of children. Nationally, as many as 13 million children live in “food insecure” homes, highlighting a critical problem that deserves urgent attention.

While acknowledging the need for Big Tech companies to enhance online child protection measures and be held accountable, it is hard to overlook the performative nature of the recent Senate hearing. Despite the headlines generated by the event, it appears more as a marketing stunt than a genuine effort to address the complex issues facing our society. The glaring contradictions in the Senate’s priorities underscore the urgent need for a reevaluation of political leadership and a shift towards policies that genuinely prioritize the well-being of the nation’s youth.

David Andersson, journalist, photograph, and publisher, started back in the 80s with the Humanist Movement by publishing a neighborhood newspaper in Paris. Today, David is the coordinator of the English bureau for Pressenza and the author of THE WHITE-WEST: A LOOK IN THE MIRROR