The photo at right was taken on Friday, August 21, 2009, in El Segundo, California, outside the office of Congresswoman Jane Harman (36th CD). It shows three adorable children wearing stickers with the word fascism below a supposed image of the President of the United States, fashioned as Batman's malevolent Joker:
Although these children may know who The Joker is, they are certainly too young to understand the complexities of fascism and the insult they're paying their President. Why then, if they don't understand their message, is it appropriate to use them as pawns? Is disrespect the lesson they're learning? Are hatred and mockery proper messages for our children to bear?
My photo-journalist friend, Mike Chickey (who took the children's photos) and I, have obscured their faces to shield their identities. Their father, present at the event, smiled as their photos were taken. He was pleased their display of naive disrespect may be getting published, but Mike and I were not. They were pawns for his ideology, and their cuteness was part of his fun.
In military warfare, children are victims. In ideological warfare, children are victims. Regardless of which side of the religious and socio-political spectrum a child's parent or guardian is on, that child is innocent. Children are not billboards for hatred, malice and lies. But they can be purveyors of truth, and speak for the greater good. After all, it's their faces and that most affects us.
Note the photos of two children of the left that were taken at public gatherings. Their messages aren't negative and disparaging, like misrepresenting a sitting president, and certainly not as obtuse. They merely ask for peace and education. Still we've obscured their faces.
These two children aren't tools for hate and deceit. But how do we shield those who are, like the three innocents at the top of this article? The adults in the NO-healthcare movement use lies - even guns - to push their agenda.
Witness the photo below of adults at that same Jane Harman NO-healthcare gathering. View a sampling of their messages, like the Medicare cowgirl gramma with her"no death panels" sign. How shameful that those who use public healthcare lie to take that option from others.
I accept to the very core of my being that they don't buy their own deceptions. They know there are no death panels. They know they're pushing lies.
Whatever happened to American core values of compassion and equality? Whatever happened to insuring domestic Tranquility and promoting the general Welfare as set forth in our Preamble? Didn't these people read it? Don't these people know it? Don't these people CARE?
After speaking with several at that Harman event, I can see that their real fear isn't death panels and public health, but instead the changing demographic that threatens their supremacy. As they show in the sign, Elections Have Consequences. Consider who their new President is and you'll get exactly what I mean! This is racism, folks. Pure and simple racism.
Regarding my issue with children being used to spread hate, I'm aware that many responses may come showing children with messages of hate. But please understand, it doesn't matter to me what ideology those messages represent - left, extreme left, progressive, moderate, right, extreme right, etc. It just doesn't matter. I oppose hate-mongering in every arena - especially when delivered by children. That's not THEIR purpose. AND IT'S NOT OURS!
As for the discussion of healthcare, I'd be journalistically remiss if I didn't grant equal time to both sides of the conversation.
Prior to the Harman event on Friday afternoon, I covered a morning rally at UCLA outside a global warming panel featuring California Congressman Henry Waxman (30th CD). A large crowd of exuberant single-payer supporters, which included members of CODEPINK and Progressive Democrats of America, had peacefully gathered in front of Korn Convocation Hall, chanting passionately for medicare for all. Witness it in this short video:
Video by Linda Milazzo
Most of Waxman's constituents wanted him to support single-payer healthcare. Some thanked him for supporting the public option. As of now, both Waxman and Harman support Obama's public option. However, Marcy Winograd, who's challenging Harman's 36th CD seat in 2010, strongly supports single-payer, also known as Medicare for all.
Finally, on the issue of children as messengers of hate. While it's my absolute contention that children should never be seen spewing hate, I do believe they are spectacular when seen waging peace. Thus, I'm lifting the veil on our young martial artist and on our tiny education ambassador, whose messages our nation and our world will hopefully embrace.
So, say hi again to our precious peace karate guy.
And to our tiny ambassador for education.
Now they should make you smile!
Photos by Mike Chickey
Video by Linda Milazzo