Recently, our constantly campaigning President found time in between Democratic party fundraisers to squeeze in some time to visit New Orleans, Louisiana, one of the places devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Having copiously used that disaster as a rhetorical cudgel against Republicans, Obama now decided to bask in some glorious Not-Bush love. If there is one place on earth that is truly justified to loathe George W. Bush, it is New Orleans. Joining him in a plethora of egregious blunders during the storm were the Democratic governor and the Democratic Mayor of New Orleans. (who was reelected after Katrina) In spite of this, history looks to ordain this a Republican disaster, and a weakened Obama, currently struggling in the polls, looked for a friendly audience. At the usual stage managed town hall at the University of New Orleans, he got his warm reception.
The headline of the day was the question asked by one Terence Scott. After the fourth grader was ushered onto the stage, he asked his rather obviously planted question "Why do people hate you? They're supposed to love you." before saying something about God. The President answered with disjointed banalities that ranged from "I'm tough" through "I was elected" to "that's politics." Then, being clever enough to embrace the old showbiz adage about never following animals or children, Obama quickly ended the affair right there on the child-induced high and split. The whistle blows and another day at the propaganda factory is over, right? Not quite.
I couldn't get over the second part of the question. "They're supposed to love you" Leaving aside the child mentioning God, (haven't we dealt with the Messiah complex and this President enough?) this is really starting to be a very disturbing trend. First, children in a New Jersey school singing an ode to "Barack Hussein Obama" Next it was Obama, the glorious leader, speaking nationwide to school children and attempting to get them to write essays on how to help him. Then, it was CNN, the network of those who fact-check jokes, having schoolkids on to do a song-and-dance number pushing for the creative destruction know as the Obama health care plan.
Obama and his web of Democratic operatives have targeted children in a way that is unprecedented, scary and absolutely vile. The slavish devotion being foisted on these children is beyond reprehensible. Have other presidents used children as props? Remember Bill Clinton and his constant mantra about doing it "for the children?" With this president, though, it is truly breathtaking to see the swiftness, breadth and the cold cynicism grasping so many young lives for squalid political gain.
A long time ago now, there was something called childhood. It was truly a special place, devoid of most, if not all, of the sins of adulthood. In one of the most benevolent, wisest and far-sighted decisions, Western civilization, or the Enlightenment, created this special time before the heavy burdens of life must be shouldered. Children would be educated, not worked. They would play amongst themselves and not be part of the adult entrainment world, as was frequently the case before the Enlightenment. They would be treated tenderly, not cheated, as if they were stupid adults. And simple special events, like a child's birthdays, would be celebrated as they were not before. Children were no longer little adults, who were thrust into the adult world as soon as they could speak. They would gradually be taught things about the world, not shoved into the glare of a ribald, vicious day. They would be shielded from the depravity and duplicity of life until they had formed a protective mental membrane, or as much as they would ever have in this life and then, and only then, would the world with all its joys and sorrows be opened to them.
Obviously this was the ideal, or goal, and couldn't be achieved with all children. Life would intervene in its random fashion as it does in all lives. However, for most, it worked. As children of the Enlightenment, we know it is one of the the greatest achievements of our civilization. Now, we are bent on destroying it. The book referred to here, The Disappearance of Childhood, makes this abundantly clear. We can argue about degree, but only the willfully blind ignore this trend.
As in much of his Presidency, Barrack Obama is simply exacerbating this already bad problem. You want more onerous government debt for nothing? You've got it. You want more vacillation on the wars? Can do. You want more government-run boondoggles? Give me a high five. You want more empty talk? Just feel the love. The problem here is that this propaganda push uses, in a very visceral manner, the most innocent among us for highly dubious political activities. These are not adults willfully participating in the discourse of the nation. You can't involve children in this without stripping them of some of their innocence. Sure, Obama and his crew are simply the latest bunch of exploiters to work this angle, but does this make it right?
Using children for various political tasks or more is nothing new in the recent past. In Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, children were excellent spies and informers. Of course, near end of the war, the Hitler Youth were given rockets and machine guns and sent into battle. They did their task and if they ran, well, they were children, anyway, weren't they? During the Rustification Plan, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge used many children to help drive thousands of Cambodians out of the cities into the infamous killing fields. Today, in central Africa, the Lord's Resistance Army fights its guerrilla war largely with child soldiers, kidnapped from their families. In the depraved regimes of the 20th century and in the third world today, children are simply one more tool in an arsenal. In fact, they are preferred, due to their malleable nature. Their special nature is all but ignored.
When we ignore this special nature, as heirs to one of the greatest gifts of the world, we have to ask ourselves, what are we doing? We betray ourselves as intellectual heirs to one of the sanest inventions in human history and we betray those who depend on us and love us. Obama seems to be all about the means justifying the ends. However, here, the means in this case are not only our future, the "better angels of our nature" walking around in the present. Gandhi used to say you can judge a society by how it treats its animals. I would say the same about children as well.
When we try to warp them for political gain, we show not only coldness in executing a political plan with innocents, there is something else. We exhibit a sadism to take something we know is beneficial from those who cannot stop us. This political exploitation of children speaks volumes about the people who do it. Only a bully goes after the weak or children as he or she looks for easy prey. Perhaps the bully himself is a rather weak figure who was exploited himself and now turns the trick on others. The United States used to stand against this coldly cynical exploitation of those who can never understand until it's too late. Now it's all part of a days work in a world stripped of another innocent beacon of hope by our cynical commander in chief.
All hail the glorious leader and please cue the singing children.