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Children as pawns in protests

I just read this fantastic post, and it backs up what I have been saying for years now. Never mind the issues about their kids/our kids/whoever's kids. The reality is that, regardless of the issue, parents attending rallies or protests have been bringing along their children since Methusaleh played half-back flank for Jerusalem.

No equivocation. No ambiguities. IT IS WRONG. In fact, I cannot think of a single way in which it is right. It doesn't matter whether it is for the environment, industrial relations, gay rights, women's rights, bombing another country, not bombing another country. It is wrong. You are cynically using your children to further your beliefs. It doesn't matter how good YOU think the cause is.

As a parent, you have the right to bring your children up with whichever values you think are right. Taking them to protests, however, crosses the line between imparting values and forcing them to associate themselves with your beliefs.

More than that, why are you bringing them? If it is because you don't have anything else to do with them, perhaps you might want to consider whether a rally is the appropriate place for baby-sitting. If it is because you think they have something valid to contribute, then you are kidding yourself. This is not to say that children don't have valid voices, but they are quite frequently subjected to highly biased world views and don't often have the opportunity to get acquainted with all the issues at hand. Much like rock and movie stars, really, who trot out simplistic world views which show that they really do not understand any of the issues at hand beyond complex sloganeering.

Even worse, if it because having pictures of children in rallies makes good news copy, or, even worse, if it is because you think that the rally could turn violent and you think that having children there will give you either a tactical or PR advantage, then you are an evil bastard. Your children should be taken away from you. You should be charged with child abuse and locked away for a very, very long time.

Children are not pawns. They are not playthings for you to advance your cause. They do not belong in protests.

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