October 9, 2008

"Suffer Little Children, and Forbid Them Not, to Come Unto Me"

Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. -- MATTHEW 14

A disturbing element of the Obama campaign is the shameless use of children by his supporters and the campaign itself. (See this coming weekend's Grassroots "Kids for Obama Parade" in Seattle for the latest of these "pet parades.")

Deploying children in campaigns is not an unusual element in political contests. Supporters are always convinced they are supporting their candidate "for the children." At the same time, it can't be overstated that the Obama campaign and its supporters/parents are more than usually enthusiastic about getting the kids to convince everyone in the nation that Obama really is in it "for the children."

It is axiomatic in politics that whenever a politician of any stripe says that you should vote for him, or support a proposition, because it is "for the children" you are about to hear an argument that leads not to the halls of heaven but to the pit. After all, isn't one of the primary arguments in support of abortion the one that states that since all children should be "wanted" children, you must sometimes kill your child "for the children"?

The most egregious example of manipulating children "for the children" in the Obama camp has to be the infamous "Obama Youth Hymn to Obama." This bit of Soviet-style propaganda was created by a group of callow Obamatrons in Hollywood a few weeks ago. Made by professionals it was foisted on the world as some sort of "amateur" production of "spontaneous" love for the leader "by the children." Alas the "O-Hymn" only the most shameless example of the trend.

Elsewhere, people show less and less restraint in letting their kids "come out" for Obama. This is not confined only to the Obama camp, of course. There's similar stuff going on when you look at the McCain campaign as well, but it doesn't strike me as nearly so pervasive, nor obviously pressured. It seldom seems to rise to the level of outright indoctrination with more than a whiff of fanaticism. Fanatic kids, however, seem to be what Obama-parents love to trot out into the world.

In the key of "deep indoctrination," photographer Mark Tucker has captured a striking portrait of a contemporary Obama Kid.

Pre-Debate Obama Rally, 10/7/08: Two Portraits ォ Mark Tucker[Click pix to enlarge]

Cue "Office Space" and the Flair Meme: You know what, Stan, if you want me to wear 17 pieces of flair, like your pretty boy over there, Brian, why don't you just make the minimum 17 pieces of flair?

Detail: The Flair

Detail: The Face

If you are at all acquainted with the history of photography, a photographer that will be instantly brought to mind when seeing this picture is the great Diane Arbus. Arbus specialized in capturing the spiritual as well as physical freaks of human nature. It was her speciality for reasons that rise from deep in her own tortured psyche, but en route to her suicide from barbituates and slashed wrists at age 48, Arbus managed to capture many striking images. One of them is this famous photo from 1967 that hauntingly parallels Tucker's from just last week.

Boy with a straw hat waiting to march in a pro-war parade, N.Y.C. 1967

Detail: The Flair

Detail: The Face

How far we've come in 40 years but how little we've learned. Indeed, the further we get on the road of our decline, the less we know. It's almost as if, to paraphrase Repoman, "The more you campaign for messiahs, the less intelligent you are. " (This even though another of the main mantras of the Obamatrons is about just how smart they are and how stupid everyone else is. A suspiciously stupid proposition, but there you have it.)

In the Arbus shot the boy is in a parade in support of a war and wearing only three pieces of flair that, variously, celebrate the flag, support the troops, and call for the bombing of Hanoi. In 1967 the pro-war set in America was convinced that only a full-scale bombing of Hanoi -- a carpet bombing -- could have brought the North Vietnamese to sue for peace. This sort of bombing campaign was never done and the bombing of Hanoi was limited to selected targets. You can think what you wish about the position this boy takes on the issues, but one thing you cannot doubt is that he is putting country first.

Today's young billboard for Obama, sporting ten times the flair, has nothing on his head or chest that speaks, rightly or wrongly, to the issues of the country. In fact, nothing he wears speaks of the country at all. The words "America" or "USA" are not to be found. With over 37 chances to celebrate or even mention, just once, the country that makes this child's over-the-top indoctrinated advocacy possible, the child wears not one emblem about America. Everything is about a single man, everything repeats the mantra of "Obama" "Change" "Obama" "Change" "Obama." Country not only does not come first, country doesn't enter into it at all.

In 1971, when Obama was only 10 years old and doubtless heard and sang the song, John Lennon released "Imagine." In this anthem to utopia, Lennon challenged the parents of the Obama kids, and their childless cohort, to "Imagine there's no country." This is what they have achieved in their happy world. It was hidden at first, but it was always hidden in plain sight. Now all can see it.

When you think about it, "no country" is what the Obama campaign has been promoting from it's earliest moments -- no flag lapels, no salute of the flag -- nothing that would assert that what the campaign to put Obama in the White House is a campaign, first and foremost, for America. It isn't. It is first, last, and always, a campaign for Obama. In short, Obama comes first and last. Country doesn't enter into it.

That's a truth that is central to the massive denial of the supporters of Obama. They'll claim, if pressed, that the Obama campaign really is about "us," but that's another evasion. The campaign really isn't about the larger "U.S." but about the smaller "us" -- those that dwell inside the City of Obama, not those that dwell without. Those that are not for Obama, in the colonized minds of his supporters, are in a state of mortal sin. Worse still, they are not "for the children."

Obama, on the other hand, is -- if not for America -- always "for the children." How do we know? Because the Obama parental units are only too happy to train, rehearse, dress up and release their kids to tell us so.

Posted by Vanderleun at October 9, 2008 4:11 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Yes - definitely not for America. Thomas Sowell points out that we should not be talking about Obama's "associations" with Ayers and others who are "not for America". These are his ideological allies.


They describe an America unrecognizable to most Americans. Ayers and Dorn are unabashedly opposed to capitalism and other evils of America, such as imperialism (I despise that characterization of America). And as we should realize from the Ayers/Dorn history, the leftist tribe follows the rules of the jungle, the first of which is, there are no rules.

Posted by: Western Chauvinist at October 9, 2008 6:13 PM

Now’s the moment, lift each voice to sing
Sing with all your heart!
For our children, for our families,
Nations all joined as one.

What office is it that he's running for?

Posted by: Cris at October 9, 2008 6:21 PM

The campaign really isn't about the larger "U.S." but about the smaller "us" -- those that dwell inside the City of Obama, not those that dwell without. Those that are not for Obama, in the colonized minds of his supporters, are in a state of mortal sin. Worse still, they are not "for the children."

One might almost say that those not for Obama dwell in the Dar al Harb...so to speak.


Posted by: Oldsmoblogger at October 9, 2008 6:48 PM

Destroying nationalism is necessary to achieve the New World Order. The New World Order can not tolerate a powerful United States. Neither can Barack Obama and his army. But then I don't think I'm telling you anything you don't know.

Your essay is simply beautiful.

Posted by: sgi at October 9, 2008 7:11 PM

Hitler's Youth groups. Kid looks like he has dead eyes. What are his parents thinking????? I hate to imagine, for frankly, that is really shocking.

Posted by: Alexandra at October 9, 2008 8:08 PM

From the left, we on the right constantly hear cat-called variations of "mindless droid." We are accused of being ignorant, retrograde, hicks, brainwashed, puppets, tools and chattel. No child of a conservative can be taken to Sunday School without a nosy leftist neighbor clucking about abuse, no teen can be encouraged to join the Junior ROTC without helpful village members offering the kid an ACLU lawyer.

Leftist concern about us brainwashing our own children NEVER ENDS. According to them, children up to and including military enlistment age are too trusting and naive to act in their own best interest.

Then they wonder why we aren't persuaded by their "spontaneous, innocent" little Obama supporters.

It's called payback, folks. We are taking you at your word that the sweet tots need protection from parental political indoctrination. From now on, things will be different at Obama events. Lawyers from the Heritage Foundation, trained witnesses and Fox News reporters will be standing by in case any oppressed, closet conservative children want to seek asylum.

Girls who really would rather grow up to be Sarah Palin than Rosie O'Donnell, soon your chains will be broken! Boys who want to KICK BUTT, not kiss butt, look for the McCain-Palin-America hostage rescue team!

.......well, Grandma can dream.

Posted by: askmom at October 9, 2008 8:08 PM

His parents are thinking "This'll REALLY piss off my father..."

His Majesty the Baby Boomer has been throwing a tantrum for 40 years now, begging for someone to set some limits. In the meantime, children like this have resulted, unguided and unnoticed except as a possible means to continue the grievance.

Imagine Bill n' Bernie having a kid......

Posted by: rob at October 9, 2008 9:17 PM

Your essay about the use of children as political pawns, having them advocate for things which they have absolutely no knowledge of, reminded me of something I saw while in Atlanta in July.

I was on my way from my hotel to GA 400, and had to drive past Northside Hospital to get there. That morning, a local Right to Life organization was holding a protest outside the hospital. There were the usual signs you see at such events, but there were also a great number of large signs with a disturbingly graphic photo of an aborted fetus. What I found so terribly shocking was the number children at this protest and the number of these signs being held by the children. In a lot of the cases, I'm talking about kids that looked to be maybe six to eight years old.

These were children that not only would probably not even know what abortion is, nor should they at that age, but I would think that at that age they would not even know where babies come from. Seeing these parents using their innocent children to advance their views absolutely freaked me out. Looking at this display as I drove by, I just could not believe that any parent would expose their young children to something like this.

Whether coming from the right or the left, everyone is entitled to have a position on issues, and to make a stand for or against those issues, as long as that stand is coming from knowledge of the issue. For a parent to use a child to express an opinion on something that the child cannot be expected to have any knowledge of is not only wrong, but is tantamount to child abuse. Just as I felt that the parents I saw at this protest should be ashamed of themselves, so should the parents using their children to campaign for political candidates.

Posted by: Lynne at October 9, 2008 9:50 PM

Hmm, what is most interesting to me is the faces. The young man from the past seems a little sad, and weary. The young man from today is an empty void. I don't see anything at all. That freaks me out.

Posted by: RiverC at October 10, 2008 7:08 AM

Here's a kid who hasn't missed a meal in his life, has been given no guidance or encouragement to work at taking care of himself, and is carrying a digital SLR which undoubtedly cost well over a thousand dollars. That's a pretty solid representation of the lefty change barkers, methinks, and it's an awful lot of mighty comfortable people screaming that they want things to change. It's more likely that they are as shrewd as they are myopic, and know that their hope and change is really a hope that nothing changes.

Posted by: Andy at October 10, 2008 9:51 AM

>>>>What I found so terribly shocking was the number children at this protest and the number of these signs being held by the children. In a lot of the cases, I'm talking about kids that looked to be maybe six to eight years old.

Yes, you are correct in your criticism of parents on both ends of the ideological spectrum. The thing is, it is those on the left who have used and developed these tactics, and it is the left that is ascendant. When and if the "right" becomes as, or more, powerful than the left, we can be as alrmed about them. As it is, the right hasn't had the power, pervasiveness, and influence of the left ever since WWII. No, NOT even including the so-called "McCarthy Era," and contrary to myth, not even in the Reagan years.

The tactics used by the more extreme Right-To-Lifers, such as "Operation Rescue," are adapted directly from those used by anti-war protesters. Randall Terry, a key figure in "Rescue," was a character straight out of the radical 60's in his behavior, motivations, and character (or lack thereof).

Posted by: Roderick Reilly at October 10, 2008 10:36 AM

Hi Gerard
I'm a first time commenter but longtime reader and really enjoy your blog.Here's a question for you and your readers, Does the picture of Obama ,speaking at the podium, on the kid's T-shirt remind of anyone of Malcolm X? I mean maybe it's just me ,but looking at Obama's expression, that's the Vibe I get.

Posted by: RickPinNC at October 10, 2008 12:39 PM

Yes, disturbing - children are frighteningly malleable.

I found it interesting that Bill Buckley's son, Christopher Buckley, has buckled and is wearing an Obama badge.

His reasoning is embarrassingly flawed.

He acknowledges all John McCains' pluses and then dismisses them with the fact of McCain's disappointing 'inauthenticity' during the campaign.

Of Obama he writes: "But having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit . . ."

It's like the close of the Lord of the Flies.
At the end the boys have reverted to primitivism and Ralph sits outside the camp watching them dance around the fire . . .

"They were savages it was true; but they were human, and the ambushing fears of the dark night were coming on."

Buckley's dark night of the soul was born of his desire not to be shunned by the glittering hordes as they swoop upon the White House after Obama's coronation. He's drawn to that bright flame even if it's the Lefts' longed-for pyre of Conservatism.

Posted by: Cathy at October 10, 2008 12:58 PM


I admire your "Lord of the Flies" allegory, and envy your elegance of phrase.

What seems significant to me is that Christopher Buckley opens his piece by (tee-hee) wondering what his parents would think (he's 56 f*cking years old, for Christ's sake), and then alluding to Kathleen Parker's recent shock at finding that her ESA elitism was so distasteful to the great unwashed. Once a preppie, always a preppie.

I am quite simply astonished that everyone doesn't see Obama for what he is - the creature of the Ayers-Dohrn-Chicago-Machine Old Left, constructed the same way Gepetto constructed Pinocchio. Imagine: this guy looks like he's Black! And he feels like a victim! And he went to Punahou(Andover for Hawaiians)! ONE OF US!!!

At long last, the perfect adolescent rebellion for all concerned. No wonder Chris Buckley feels so at home.

Posted by: rob at October 10, 2008 9:23 PM

"A disturbing element of the Obama campaign is the shameless use of children by his supporters and the campaign itself."

I think you've just exceeded your own stupidity limit on this post. Aren't you reading WAY too much into this photo?

"Elsewhere, people show less and less restraint in letting their kids "come out" for Obama. This is not confined only to the Obama camp, of course. There's similar stuff going on when you look at the McCain campaign as well, but it doesn't strike me as nearly so pervasive, nor obviously pressured."

Kids are smarter than you obviously think. They can read BS more than most other Americans. In Obama, they see hope for a better future and inspiration. In McCain and Palin, they see more of the same that this country has endured for nearly eight years. And now it's all coming home to roost with the economy tanking, thanks to deregulators like McCain and his buddy Phil "Nation of Whiners" Gramm. Fortunately, this long national nightmare will be coming to an end, and not a moment too soon.

Posted by: Bill V. at October 11, 2008 12:41 PM

The reading into is not just in this photo but in a raft of, a tsunami of, this particular phenomenon.

I note that in your critique of universal views you refute it by assuming a vastly more universal view, that idea that "kids are smarter." I must confess I don't see how you come by this insight into the intelligence of children. The fact is that they are, indeed, children. By default they are not less "intelligent" but they are indeed vastly more "ignorant" of the world than an adult. "Ignorance" is not in and of itself bad. It simply means the views held are unformed and uninformed.

As you yourself confess in Jesus on the mainline, as a child you were dreadfully ignorant of the essence of Catholicism. That wasn't because you were stupid, but simply unformed and ignorant. Whether or not you came to the correct conclusion on assuming your majority I will not comment, but you were dreadfully ignorant as a child.

What you persist in being ignorant on is the multi-party roots of the economic crisis. It is well established that the roots and the causes of the crisis go back many years beyond the Bush administration and that elements of both parties have grubby hands. But that is not seen by you because you cannot see it, or will not see it since it interrupts your pleasant narrative of blame to one side when blame is to all sides.

And if you think the national nightmare is coming to an end soon, you are even more ignorant than you can possibly know. But you will, in time, be enlightened.

As to the children, they see in Obama what they are told to see. Nothing more and nothing less.

Posted by: vanderleun at October 11, 2008 1:50 PM

Video that I took of the "Obama Youth" Parade in Seattle, WA.

Enjoy, and be very afraid:



Posted by: Angry HOG at October 14, 2008 1:17 PM