Not Cool: Kids as Props in Political Protest

Parent Occupiers in New York used their kids to send a message to Mayor Bloomberg that police brutality and arresting Occupiers is bad. They got the kids to make paper hearts–one for each arrested Occupier–to present to the Mayor. Aw, sweet, right? No, definitely not.

I couldn’t think of a worse way to involve kids in political protest. The only preparation the video shows is a speech–delivered through the human mic no less–about policemen being bullies, but maybe not EVERY policeman. A procession through the streets chanting OWS slogans.

Final scene, the bully policemen rip the children’s hearts off the fence. The crowd shouts, “Shame! Shame!” Children cry.

The only things these poor kids know and understand is that they did something in a highly fraught situation that caused a big ruckus with the grown-ups and the scary policemen. Children can’t help but internalize it and think it’s their fault, especially with a heaping helping of “Shame!” on top of it.

I always got a sick feeling when Sarah Palin shoved her little boy with Downs Syndrome into the spotlight to further her cred with fans. This video gives me a sicker feeling. Parents, don’t use your kids as props to further your political aims.

4 thoughts on “Not Cool: Kids as Props in Political Protest

  1. Since you said this, I’m emboldened to ask: am I the only one who didn’t find it delightful when a woman prompted her son all the way through his statement to Michele Bachman at a book signing? I thought he clearly was being used as a mouthpiece who had no interest in what he was saying, and it only served to make the mom and her statement – which I completely agree with as policy – look, if not bad, at least guilty of putting her little boy in an awkward position. And it allowed Bachmann the only moment I ever saw in which she actually looked human. She seemed – dare I say it? – kind to the little boy until she realized what his mom was getting him to say. As loathsome as I think she is – and I do – she showed that even she could be human, and I’m sure that was the last thing the mother intended.

    • I think I saw this and had the same reaction. I’m not quite sure why one wouldn’t have a negative reaction to a parent making a child into a mouthpiece for political views. I don’t like seeing kids holding signs at protests that the parents made either. Like gruesome anti-abortion signs. No better when the Left does it.

  2. I felt sickened by the children’s involvement too, until someone suggested that it wasn’t such a bad thing to get kids involved because it’s their future, after all. What they said actually was, “an activist is born.”
    Still, it’s heartbreaking to see the children crying and perhaps there is a line to draw here. Children can’t understand the breadth and depth of what’s going on and why ruin their innocence when they aren’t capable of relating (yet?)
    Sad times. 😦

    • My socially conscious and activist friends who are parents (I’m not) make their kids’ awareness of social issues a high priority. They do this in a lot of ways–sometimes they actually take them to protests. Usually it’s through their faith communities. The best parents I see are helping their kids develop their understanding, moral strength and courage, and critical thinking abilities. And then I see these great teenagers emerging who do AMAZING things!

      Now that I have a niece and nephew, I have this urgent responsibility to protect and nurture them, and I know I would NEVER traumatize them like those OWS parents did. It’s conflicting to see this video when I love the Occupy movement and revile the violence unleashed against it.

      Thanks for your comments, please come again… 🙂

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