Joseph Lieberman on Families & Children
Democratic Jr Senator (CT), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004
Parents are losing children to culture’s violence
Lieberman expressed dismay at “a culture of carnage” fostered by the industry. Parents feel “locked in a losing competition with the culture to raise our children.” The Columbine
High School shootings in Colorado illustrates that the media violence children see “has become part of a toxic mix that has actually now turned some of them into killers.”
Source: AP Story, NY Times
Sep 13, 2000
With Bill Bennett, “Silver Sewer Awards” for immoral videos
In his 12 years in the Senate, Lieberman has acquired a reputation for steady habits, family values and faithfulness to his beliefs -- a moderate who carefully deliberates options, and often seems to be striking a balance between conservative and liberal
instincts. While some of his colleagues have dubbed him the “conscience of the Senate,” he has also been criticized as something of a moralizer.
In 1998, Lieberman and the former secretary of education, William Bennett, began handing out “Silver Sewer
Awards“ to draw attention to the producers of sexually explicit and violent films, music, television programs and video games. Critics were quick to note that Lieberman had stock in some of the organizations he had criticized.
He also pushed for
electronic devices that permit the blocking of television programs that parents find offensive, has monitored a system of voluntary ratings to guide children’s television viewing and has denounced rap music with lyrics that celebrate violence & drug use.
Source: Robert McFadden, NY Times, p. A20
Aug 8, 2000
Asks retailers to limit violent video games to kids
[Lieberman was one of] 10 Senators who sent a letter yesterday to seven video-game retailers. “We are seriously concerned about the accumulated impact that media violence is having on our children,” the senators wrote. “We are
particularly concerned by what is happening in the video game marketplace. Most games contain little if any violence and are rated as perfectly appropriate for players of all ages. But there is a significant core of increasingly graphic,
gruesome, and perverse games that despite being rated for adults are commonly played by children.“
The Senators noted that a prime reason kids have such easy access to ultraviolent games is that few leading retailers have policies restricting the sale
of ”M“-rated games to minors. They praised Sears and Wards for deciding not to carry ”M“-rated games and asked the other companies to at least adopt standard policies to prevent children from buying potentially harmful games.
Source: Press Release, “Ultraviolent video games”
Jun 16, 2000
Outraged at paternal irresponsibility-enforce child support
[As Attorney General, one duty was] to collect child-support debts from delinquent fathers of children who were receiving state assistance. I became outraged at the paternal irresponsibility. I took my case to the
legislature, which gave my office stronger collection laws. Then I beefed up my child-support division. The result was that we collected a lot more support money for the moms and kids of the state.
Source: Excerpt from “In Praise of Public Life”, p. 71-2
May 2, 2000
Youth Violence Commission to investigate causes of violence
In light of the release of the video tapes made by the two teenage gunmen of the Columbine High School killings, Senators McCain and Lieberman resolved to pass a bill to create a commission to examine the causes of youth violence. “These tapes may be the
most powerful evidence yet of just how complicated this problem is, of how difficult it is to discern exactly what is in this toxic mix that is turning kids into killers,” Lieberman said. “And they should remind us of just how critical it is to get past
the politics and the safe assumptions and start a serious, thorough, and objective examination of these horrific massacres. The American people are desperate for answers, to understand what once seemed unthinkable.“
The Youth Violence Commission
would be composed of religious leaders, and experts in education, family psychology, law enforcement and parenting. Its mandate would be to produce a comprehensive understanding of what forces are turning our children into killers.
Source: Press release, “Youth Violence”
Dec 14, 1999
Encourage media responsibility to stop juvenile violence
The juvenile justice bill includes a package of amendments sponsored by Senator Lieberman to help reduce the threat of media violence to children. One provision would encourage greater responsibility in the entertainment industry by making it easier for
the different media to adopt and enforce comprehensive codes of conduct. Another would investigate the entertainment media’s marketing practices to determine to what extent they are targeting ultraviolent products to children.
Source: Press Release, “Omnibus juvenile justice bill”
May 20, 1999
Media: self-enforce ratings & no marketing violence to kids
Congress can subpoena marketing plans and internal memos to find out exactly which distributors are pushing violence to our kids. But the far more preferable option would be for each media industry to strengthen their existing codes of conduct to help
us better protect our children. The entertainment industry [should] ban the targeting of adult-rated products to children, and restore the integrity to the ratings they themselves have adopted and implemented. We should also ask theater owners to
uniformly enforce the R-rating prohibition for underage children, and ask video game retail and rental outlets to adopt a similar policy barring the sale or rental of adult-rated games to kids.
We are not seeking censorship but better citizenship.
We are appealing to the industry’s conscience, to recognize that you are part of the national community that is endangered by the virus of youth violence, and to work with us to do whatever we can to prevent another Littleton.
Source: Senate testimony, “Marketing of Violence to Children”
May 4, 1999
Lewinsky affair is part of anything-goes culture
The president apparently had extramarital relations with an employee half his age and did so in the workplace. Such behavior is not just inappropriate. It is immoral. And it is harmful, for it sends a message of what is acceptable behavior to
the larger American family -- particularly to our children -- which is as influential as the negative messages communicated by the entertainment culture.
If you doubt that, just ask America’s parents about the intimate and frequently unseemly
sexual questions their young children have been asking them and discussing since the president’s relationship with Ms. Lewinsky became public seven months ago. I cannot watch the news on television with my 10-year-old
This, unfortunately, is all-too-familiar territory for America’s families in today’s anything-goes culture, where sexual promiscuity is too often treated as just another lifestyle choice with little risk of adverse consequences.
Source: Statement on Senate floor
Sep 3, 1998
Voted NO on restricting violent videos to minors.
Vote to kill an amendment that would prohibit the distribution of violent video programming to the public during hours when children are reasonably likely to comprise a substantial portion of the audience.
; vote number 1999-114
on May 13, 1999
Give parents tools to balance work and family.
Lieberman signed the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":
Strengthen America’s Families
While the steady reduction in the number of two-parent families of the last 40 years has slowed, more than one-third of our children still live in one- or no-parent families. There is a high correlation between a childhood spent with inadequate parental support and an adulthood spent in poverty or in prison.
To strengthen families, we must redouble efforts to reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies, make work pay, eliminate tax policies that inadvertently penalize marriage, and require absent fathers to pay child support while offering them new opportunities to find work. Because every child needs the attention of at least one caring and competent adult, we should create an “extended family” of adult volunteer mentors.
Family breakdown is not the only challenge we face. As two-worker families have become the norm, harried parents have less time to spend on their most important job: raising their children. Moreover, parents and
schools often find themselves contending with sex- and violence-saturated messages coming from an all-pervasive mass entertainment media.
We should continue public efforts to give parents tools to balance work and family and shield their children from harmful outside influences. For example, we should encourage employers to adopt family-friendly policies and practices such as parental leave, flex-time, and telecommuting. Public officials should speak out about violence in our culture and should press the entertainment media to adopt self-policing codes aimed at protecting children.
Goals for 2010
Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC4 on Aug 1, 2000
- Cut the rate of out-of-wedlock births in half.
- Recruit a million mentors for disadvantaged children without two parents.
- Provide affordable after-school programs at every public school.
- Make every workplace “family-friendly.”
- Promote policies that help parents shield their children from violence and sex in entertainment products.
Small Business loans for child care businesses.
Lieberman sponsored the Child Care Lending Pilot Act
A bill to create a 3-year pilot program that makes small, non-profit child care businesses eligible for SBA 504 loans. Amends the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 to allow the proceeds of loans made through the Small Business Administration (SBA) to local development companies for plant acquisition, construction, or expansion to be used to assist small, nonprofit child care businesses, provided that: (1) the loan will be used for a sound business purpose approved by the SBA; and (2) each business receiving the assistance meets eligibility requirements applicable to for-profit businesses.
Source: Bill sponsored by 17 Senators 03-S822 on Apr 8, 2003
Rated 0% by the Christian Coalition: an anti-family voting record.
Lieberman scores 0% by the Christian Coalition on family issues
The Christian Coalition was founded in 1989 by Dr. Pat Robertson to give Christians a voice in government. We represent millions of people of faith and enable them to have a strong, unified voice in the conversation we call democracy.
Our Five-Fold Mission: Our ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: CC website 03n-CC on Dec 31, 2003
- Represent the pro-family point of view before local councils, school boards, state legislatures, and Congress
- Speak out in the public arena and in the media
- Train leaders for effective social and political action
- Inform pro-family voters about timely issues and legislation
- Protest anti-Christian bigotry and defend the rights of people of faith.