Little kids as camera-drawing props at rallies = exploitation

Nothing makes me want to puke more than when I see little kids all dolled up in pro-/anti- war (or whatever) regalia at rallies. In my opinion it is never cute and never appropriate*. These kids are being used as props. Dare I say, they are being exploited by their parents for their camera-appeal.

You want to bring the kids along because you can’t get a sitter or because you consider this an educational experience? Fine, no problem. But don’t dress them up in cutesy-wootsy tempra-painted signs that they can’t even read.

And don’t feed them stupid scripts to express YOUR political beliefs, like this exchange I saw on the news tonight (not word-for-word, but close):


Reporter (at rally): And who are you?

Kid: Julie.

Reporter: How old are you?

Kid: Six and a half.

Mom: And you want the bombing in Iraq to stop, don’tcha honey?

Kid: Yes.


Parents who do this should be ashamed of themselves. (And yes, the reporters should be ashamed too. But YOU start that thread. This one’s mine. [Grinny])

  • Kids with signs like “I’ll miss you daddy” at a troop departure are okay by me. These express sincere emotions that a toddler can feel and appreciate. Ones that read “Saddam is a tyrant” make me want to slap the parrents silly.

Concur. But what are you going to do? Just because the kids couldn’t possibly understand the concepts involved now, the parents are doing their damndest to make sure they know in the future. Who knows, maybe the kids will get sick of it in their teenage years and rebel.


Beatnik Parents: Billy, go get your rainbow shirt, we’re going out to protest the war.

Billy: Awww, come on! I HATE my rainbow shirt, it makes me look like a dork. I don’t want to go!

Beatnik Parents: But you have to, Billy! It’s to fight global imperia–hey! Turn around. gasp WHAT DID YOU DO TO YOUR PONYTAIL!?!?!

Billy: I had it cut off, none of my friends have pony tails.

Beatnik Parents: If your friends all joined the army, would you?

Billy: Yeah, I’ve been considering that, I think it would be cool to protect freedom and liberate oppressed people around the world. After that I was considering getting into the stock analysis business, there’ll be a big boom there when the economy comes up.

Beatnik Parents: YOU ARE NO SON OF MINE!!! If you join the army, I swear we’ll take away your college fund.

Billy: Hey, problem solved: the Army will take care of that, awesome!

Just so you don’t think I’m biased (my asinine attempt at humor might construe it so) I concur with your statement when applied towards the pro-war crowd, as well. Those kids don’t have a clue what any of this means, their parents just can’t resist getting their precious little hippie/war hawk on camera.

What did you think of that little girl they smattered all over the cover of Newsweek after 9-11? Newspapers and magazines galore loved to take pictures of the little kids during the demonstrations then, too.

-C

Let’s not forget all the little charmers at the anti-choice rallies. The exploitation of children for political ends may be despicable, but it’s nothing new.

Little off-topic, but Squink, I find your choice of words quite humorous. “Anti-choice” Don’t worry I’m not going to start bashing, I really don’t have much concern in THAT issue, but I was just noticing how if we’re going to turn these group generalizations to the negative, that would make the other side: “Anti-Life”

Which is not often a popular position in any issue!

Well, when you’re talking to evil doppelganger Mikey…

My mum was a very active member of the local women’s rights group when I was young. I can remember being hauled along on many different marches down main street in a little red wagon, toting a balloon. What was going on and why we were doing it was always explained to me as best it could be at whatever age I was at.
When I was six, we joined a protest outside of a women’s penetentiary where 5 native women, one very pregnant, were being unfairly held ( charged with squatting. Details of why this was unfair elude me. I WAS only 6, after all). I was offered a handful of balloons and a seat in the wagon. Instead I asked for a stencil and the correct spelling of “freedom”, so I could make my own sign. I penned " I love freedom", my own slogan, which really wasn’t all that relevant to the conflict at hand, but was in my own words, from my own ideas.

I wrote too small for anyone to read what was on my sign, and it couldn’t have been seen above the heads of the adults around me, but I certainly don’t think I was being exploited with my little sign that I made up and wrote, expressing my own little six year old opinions.

I may have gotten my opinions from my mother, but I still held them for my own at that age and chose to express myself in my own way, rather than being toted along for camera opportunities and handed a sign. So I’m not so quick to judge pro or anti war folks who have their kids along. Kids arent -always- just props.

Of course not, WaryEri, because they WERE, in fact, your opinions and it’s quite impressive that you formed them at that age. You’re message showed understanding (it did have quite a bit of relevance to the issue), instead of spouting rhetoric given to you by the adults. Our point is only that your case is unique. I would be quite impressed if I found a 6 year old that could defend a political stance with as simple a phrase as “I love freedom” because it pinpoints the very heart of almost every issue. I realize that everyone’s interpretation of that phrase is different; I for example, support the war in Iraq because “I love freedom.” It could easily go the other way depending on how one interprets it. For a six year old, however, those 3 words are an immensely better starting place on the road to political awareness than “No Blood for Oil” or “Saddam is a Tyrant”

I saw a dog wearing a “Puppies for peace” T-shirt at the last march I went to.
Simply shameful. That poor dog.

This would be a whole 'nother debate, but I think that “Anti-choice” is a reaction to the pro-life/anti-abortion folks calling pro-choice people “Pro-abortion”.

Sorry for going off-topic there, everyone just carry on :slight_smile:

(sits down in the back row)

We’re not anti-choice. We’re just not Pro-the murdering of children.

Seriously though, the only reason they are called pro-abortionists, is b/c that is what they are. If they were pro-choice, that would imply that they could respect those who choose life, and respect that democratically elected leaderships of various communities will sometimes legislate that you choose life.

Way off topic, but if you are truly pro-choice, than it doesn’t bother you when a woman or community decides abortion is repugnant, and opts otherwise (After all, R v W says nothing about guaranteed access to abortion. In fact, for all you law students out there, the real watermark that R v W was came in the form of the Federal Government asserting its natural authority over what a mere state has to say.)
There are people that do this, but they do not shameless clamour for attention the way the pro-whatever the hell their agenda is crowd does.

Agree or disagree, but that is why people are seeing it this way more & more these days.

[/hijack]

Both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are poor appellations. After all, abortion rights advocates aren’t against life. At the same time, abortion rights advocates are in favor of one choice in particular, and not, for instance, pro-choice in killing their neighbors. Those opposing abortion may be for the death penalty, making “pro-life” in its broadest sense a misnomer, and those opposing abortion advocate many choices that we all enjoy.

I chuckled a bit watching the news today, as among the marchers on Broadway included something along the lines of “Kids against War”. Basically, it was mothers (no fathers were shown on camera) with toddlers against war.

I totally agree with the OP. Seeing little kids in a protest is something which irritates me a lot. Because it amounts to an exploitation of children in my mind, especially since there’s no way most of them could form any kind of independant opinion on the issue at hand. It even applies to protests somehow related to children (for instance, a local protest against say, some school policy).

Let’s not get TOO off topic, here, if you want an abortion debate, go start another thread. I was just making a joke, I really don’t care what political innuendos are involved in the titles we give to the opposite sides in the abortion issue.

Back to the main issue: “Puppies for Peace” is pretty ridiculous. Might as well get a bumpersticker for your car that says “Buicks for Peace”

We’re not anti-choice. We’re just not Pro-the murdering of children.

Seriously though, the only reason they are called pro-abortionists, is b/c that is what they are. If they were pro-choice, that would imply that they could respect those who choose life, and respect that democratically elected leaderships of various communities will sometimes legislate that you choose life.

Way off topic, but if you are truly pro-choice, than it doesn’t bother you when a woman or community decides abortion is repugnant, and opts otherwise (After all, R v W says nothing about guaranteed access to abortion. In fact, for all you law students out there, the real watermark that R v W was came in the form of the Federal Government asserting its natural authority over what a mere state has to say.)
There are people that do this, but they do not shameless clamour for attention the way the pro-whatever the hell their agenda is crowd does.

Agree or disagree, but that is why people are seeing it this way more & more these days.

[/hijack]

I was involved in protests too when I was young, my mother being a very ardent social activist. Strangely, although I didn’t know what the hell was going on usually, I never felt exploited or out of place. To this day, I shout “fired-up, can’t take no more!” whenever I’m angry.

Methinks the OP’s rant is biased against anti-war protestors. Just the other day on the news, I saw scores of little kids at pro-war/support-our-troops rally, waving flags and wearing “give war a chance” t-shirts. And if you think they’re all there because they miss Daddy, you’re wrong.

Does the OPer really think children should be kept from the political arena? If it’s wrong to bring kids to political rallies, they should also be kept out of church. Maybe even those public fundraising walk-a-thons, like AidsWalk. After all, what does a four-year-old know about AIDS, except what his parents have “indoctrinated” him with?

Hear, Hear ! The first few posts seemed a little too focused on just the current pro-anti-war demonstrations, while children have been used as tools of propaganda campaigns for ages. If the war or the abortion debate is too hot, consider the political exploitation of the “wisdom of children” myth. Given how malleable children’s opinions are, there are marvelous opportunities for abuse by unscrupulous adults. This is not to say thay children should have no part in demonstrations, but it smacks of exploitation when they’re used to validate an adult’s point of view.

Hey. All you pro/anti/whatever choice/life/abortion/whatever people, GO AWAY from my thread. Scram. There are plenty of electrons left to discuss the crap you want to talk about elsewhere. Shoo. And don’t come a-hijackin’ here no more.

Well monstro, youthinks wrong. Pro- or anti- the war, I think the kids-as-a-billboard-for-mommy’s-agenda routine is shameful, regardless of the agenda. Period. And please REREAD my OP. I have no problem with kids being present at rallies and such. But when they are dressed in signs and are forced to regurgitate political position statements I get disgusted. Like I said, reread my post.

Errata, I consider poodles things, not persons. Things can be props without offending me in the slightest.

Maximum C, I’m afraid to say I’m not familiar with the photo of the Newsweek toddler you asked me about. But in general I usually roll my eyes at most images of little children.

Perhaps you missed this part, monstro.