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Stop Using Your Kids as Political Pawns

My husband and I have an ongoing conversation that goes something like this:

He’ll make a comment about our sons attending the Labor Zionist (read: socialist) Jewish summer camp he went to as a kid.

I’ll respond, “Sure. They’ll need someone to lecture them about the virtues of capitalism.”

My husband will give me a dry chuckle and a look that reminds me that his grandfather was one of the founding members of the camp and that the men in his generation have gone to that camp ever since.

Then I’ll add, “I’m not spending thousands of dollars for my kid to sweat in the woods while arguing about the virtues of an all-but-dead political movement.”

He doesn’t fight me because deep down he knows I’m right. For its powerful history, Labor Zionism has been slain by socialism’s failings. It was bound to happen. What are they going to point to as socialism’s eternal success to aspire to? The Soviet Union? Cuba? Venezuela? There’s a reason the Israeli voting public walked away from Labor Zionism. Why should I pour money into a dead ideology?

That being said, I wouldn’t want my kids going to a Young Republicans summer camp, either. In fact, I don’t want them getting involved in politics at all, at least not while they’re kids. Unfortunately, I seem to be part of a shrinking minority of parents in my generation, a growing majority of whom have no problem bringing their kids to political rallies, reading them board books on activism, or even using them as pawns to create viral videos.

It’d be extremely comical if it weren’t so sad. Toddlers are trekked to protests against immigration policy in the sweltering heat while kindergarteners are forced to walk out of their schools into the cold winter air to demonstrate in favor of gun control. What do three-year-olds know about families being separated at the border? Or high schoolers being shot and killed by lunatic peers? They can’t possibly begin to comprehend these issues. The only thing they can understand is that children are being taken from their mommies and daddies (have we even begun to explain human trafficking to them?) and boys and girls are being killed.

But, don’t worry; parents are assuaging their nightmares with books like A is for Activism that preach, “Environmental justice is the way!” What does that mean, Mommy? The animals are dying, too? That’ll make junior sleep real well at night. For a lighter read, parents can try the Little Feminist Board Book set. Cartoon images of Hillary Clinton help teach important lessons about patriarchy, victimization and marital infidelity. (The history of science is boiled down to, “Marie Curie experimented and proved that girls are brilliant.” Yes, they are radiant, aren’t they? Ba-da-CHING!)

Every parent knows that a kid is a great way to garner both attention and sympathy for their cause. No one knows this better than Kristin Mink. Dubbed “a concerned mother” by Scary Mommy, Mink used her 2-year-old son as an excuse to introduce herself to Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA. Conveniently the activist – er, “concerned mother” – happened to catch the public official eating out. While she just so happened to have her son with her. And someone else to hold a camera and get a nice, clean shot of her “introducing her son” to the man before telling him he ought to resign from his job.

This “concerned mother” just so happened to have access to proper software to create a full-blown featurette, piecing together a full explanation of Pruitt’s political record along with the video of her confrontation which she then published on her Facebook page. Because in this day and age every “concerned mother” has a Facebook page where she can link to all her favorite political causes for the sake of the children.

Scary Mommy neglected to mention that this “concerned mother” is also a career teacher at Sidwell Friends (the school Obama’s children attended) who spends “much of her free time protesting the Trump Administration.” To the mommy blog, Mink is just another one of many parents looking out for the best interests of their children… by using them as pawns to draw attention to their preferred political causes.

I’m not raising my children with political beliefs. I’m raising them with morals and values so that as adults they can make smart political choices. Children, especially toddlers and preschoolers, shouldn’t have to take on political battles they aren’t even old enough to comprehend. Your kid is great, but you didn’t give birth to Atlas, so stop putting the burden of the world on his shoulders. Especially when it’s so obvious you’re only pursuing your own 15 minutes of fame.