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Friday, January 18, 2013

Let's Do It For Our Children!

George Orwell - Author series
George Orwell - Author series (Photo credit: New Chemical History)

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
— George Orwell, 1984

           Since we've reached the year 2013 is it time for the clocks to start striking thirteen?   Sure, things have been strange for several decades, but are they about to become even stranger?

            I'm not going to dissect the words spoken by the President of the United States on Wednesday January 16, 2013 or the nonsensical babble of his buddy Joe.  I think I may have incensed enough readers with a few of my more recent posts and I don't need to make things worse by pointing out the code words and diversionary tactics of this speech, but I do want to declaim the tactic of using "the children" to sway an argument or tug at heartstrings to get what we want.

           It's a purely emotional appeal that is used as a propaganda strategy.  Advertisers use it all the time.  No parent wants to deprive their children of their safety, health, comfort, or pleasure in life.  Nearly all parents want the absolute best for their children whenever possible.  They want their children to have the best toys, clothes, food, and experiences.  They rarely want their children to face deprivation or danger.  It's the normal way to be.

          The provision and well-being of our children affects every single one of us.  After all, we are all parents or know someone who is a parent.   Children are a part of our daily lives and most of us have the desire to save every child and give them the best opportunity for a quality life that our society can provide them.   We sacrifice much for our children and it is well that we should.

           However, doesn't using the children to propagandize and promote a political agenda seem a bit underhanded?   Is it right to use children as a device to manipulate emotions to overrule rational thinking to get what we want?

            I've been guilty of this myself.  In my nearly twenty years working in a business affiliated with fund-raising, we evoked the name of  "the children" to encourage people to dig deeper to give more money to whatever cause we were promoting at the time.  After all, "It's for the kids".  Make the audience feel bad.  Make them feel like they must do something even though that something may not necessarily be the right thing when put into place in the bigger picture.

            Showcasing the children is not always a bad thing.   "Jerry's Kids", the young cancer patients at St. Jude Hospital, or "Save the Children" seem to be fine causes over all that have a decent long range mission in mind that will benefit many children in the future.  If the intent is righteous then I don't mind.

             It's the politicizing of the children that annoys me the most.   I can deal with politicians giving their speeches before a background of union members, interest groups, or their own supporters.   It's a common cliche that's rather stupid looking in my opinion, but it's a great photo op for the politicos.  If a bunch of sheep-faced people want to stand behind some blithering politician, then more power to them.  Maybe they'll even get shown on television.

           But please, political agendists, don't use "the children" as props for your cause.  Creating a reactionary movement because of some sensational incident by invoking all children as the cause du jour is merely a cheap appeal to the feelings of those who are not thinking out the entire issue.  

            I love my kids and my grandkids and I want everyone's kids to be alright.  I also want to protect children from the dangers of the future just as much as the immediate dangers.  I want to protect the children against things we are talking about now, but I think it might be even more important to protect them from the things that many of us are not talking about.   We are holding the future in our hands--so what do we plan to do with it?

          Stop the agenda driven rhetoric that is driven by emotions.  See the absolute logic if you can.  Today it may be 23 executive actions, tomorrow it might be 33 executive orders, by the end of the year we might be looking at who knows how many legislative actions costing more money than is worth spending.   Thousands of words.   And we know the danger of words.   Words can be far more dangerous than weapons and have a far more lasting effect.

          Maybe I need to dig up my copy of George Orwell's 1984 and reread it.  

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  1. Agree with you on the propaganda issue. Stick to the facts and reality.

  2. Very thought provoking Lee, as Alex so rightly said stick to the facts.


  3. Obama knows this tactic works on the clueless electorate and so keeps doing what works. Every spending issue is met with scaring the elderly and the military regarding their checks. He knows America has been dumbed down through our education system and does not think critically or investigate an issue for themselves but they can remember short catch phrases like "change", "hope we can believe in", "yes we can", "hope and change", "fair share", and many more. It's working.

  4. This country has been manipulated since the early 1900's through marketing, advertising, media bias. and even the CIA. There's a long documented history of this. It would make a great story for a novel if it wasn't so scary.

  5. Well done Lee on this difficult topic. I always cringe when I see children being used for gain.

  6. Alex -- Politicians love to resort to misdirection.

    Yvonne -- Facts don't lie until they get manipulated.

    Downsizers-- Politicos and their marketing machines know how to play with minds and sway opinions.

    Em -- I think the story has been approached from many angles already, but there's always a new story to tell. Too bad more people don't see the real story.

    Jeremy -- I've been working out.

    Slamdunk -- I usually don't pay much attention to the tactic, but the recent speeches by Obama and Biden really irritated me.



    >> . . . If a bunch of sheep-faced people want to stand behind some blithering politician, then more power to them. Maybe they'll even get shown on television.


    Man, I loved that term. I have to get in the shower and hustle off to work, but thanks for the little laugh to get my day started. (Thank God it's Friday!)

    No time to do my usual novelette-length comment, but I have just enough time to say this:

    For decades now, presidents (both Democrat and Republican) have been circumventing our legislative branch - Congress - by legislating from the White House with Executive Orders.

    Congress never puts a stop to this because, as I said, the presidents from both parties do the same thing (and both parties are really only ONE to those who understand what's going on).

    There is no Constitutional basis for the vast majority of Executive Orders that have been issued from the White House over these many decades now. In other words, they are ILLEGAL. But when the time comes, they will be put into effect and acted upon as if they were legal laws created by Congress.

    If Americans understood what some of those tucked away Executive Orders say, it would scare the snot out of them.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  8. Glad I missed the bleeding hearts speech. Smart decisions can't be made when everyone is emotional though.

  9. I didn't take his speech as politicizing, but making an effort to reach a majority of the population that has witnessed enough violence and want to have some control over the issue.

  10. Bravo Lee! Well said. Politics mirrors "reality " Tv. The right camera angles, word prompted, watered down truth and wrapped up lies in pretty packages.
    Blessings, Joanne

  11. StMc -- We always like surprises don't we.

    Diane -- Emotional responses seem to drive most important decisions these days. I found the speech the other day absolutely grating.

    Paula-- I think the whole speech and the set up was part of trying to get a political agenda across. I felt that using the children was a cheap exploitive tactic.

    Joanne - These political shows are so contrived and set up that it is almost absurd, yet we've come to accept them as natural and real.


  12. I didn't watch his speech. That probably makes me a poor citizen but I expected more BS and from your post, it sounds like that's what he was shoveling. Using kids for the emotional hook, that's just low.

  13. I've gotten in the habit of never watching anything on TV when it is broadcast. I record and play back. It's handy for avoiding commercials. However, in the case of watching politicians, it helps to hit the pause button before your head explodes.

    Modern communications are the problem. Washington was irrelevant to the daily lives of Americans when it took a week for word of their comings and goings to reach major cities and months to reach the frontier. Central planning wasn't much use then.

    The truth is that central planning is the problem facilitated by modern communications. It was central planning that brought down the Soviet Union and it is the same thing that is destroying us. Central planning depends on the fallacy that "they" are smarter than "us". Just listen to President Obama speak and you know that is far from true. Unfortunately, he is smarter than enough of the voters to make them believe that he has all the right answers.

    God help us all...

    PS: Yes, the children are a propaganda device. Remember when he was surrounded by manikins in white lab coats as he touted his health care proposals. Same thing.

  14. Lee-

    I can no longer follow the blog of a confessed child-hater!

    As a lifelong bachelor who never had children, I'd even take this one step further.

    Folks, I get that your kids are little miracles to YOU.

    But they're really not all that special to the rest of US.

    I'm not saying I do not like children, in fact, my siblings have enough children that I thought were precious as children that have grown into pretty cool adults.

    But from bragging parents to getting hassled at retail stores to buy various promotions to support more and more obscure children's groups (there was one for a boy's choir at the supermarket last weekend-really?), other people's offspring have entirely too much presence in my day to day life!

    And I'm sorry, I have sympathy for a kid holding out a football helmet to collect money from me, but we've gotten too tolerant when the choirboys are out there flaunting it with their raspberry chocolate bars.

    I, too, am exhausted by people using "the children" as extortion to attain a any level.


  15. I didn't hear the whole speech. To put it mildly I am not an Obama fan. However if because this nation this nation has been dumbed down marketing tactics are used to get something done on the issue then so be it. Because something needs to be done. For these 26 and all the others that have died before them. This is what it is about for me:

  16. LD -- You didn't need to watch the speech to get the gist of it from everywhere else. It's better that you didn't waste your time with it.

    Jack-- These televised political propaganda displays are just more attempts to manipulate the mentally deficient masses who are moved by emotional tugs. I normally don't watch crap like this, but when I started hearing that he was going to use the children I just had to watch in order to confirm my suspicions of what they where going to do. My suspicions were confirmed and I was very annoyed.

    Larry -- Now just a doggone minute! Raspberry chocolate bars? That sounds like an offer that would be difficult for me to turn down. Seriously though I understand what you're saying. It is a tragedy when children are hurt, but it becomes travesty when they are used. As far as the letters they supposedly wrote, that is somewhat suspect to me as well--there are a lot of variable factors that I'd like to consider about those, but we'll be unlikely to hear about any of them.


  17. Cathy -- I understand your pain and concern. I'm just saying that there has been a new spate of misinformation, propagandizing, and twisting of truth that is misguiding our citizens and threatening the future of principles upon which this country was founded. A New World Order is being pushed, but it's nothing new. Orwell talked about it because it was evident in his time as well. Despots stand in the wings waiting for their time to take the stage. I hope there will be no more tragedies like Sandy Hook, but we have to find the true roots of the tragedy and that lies in the minds of evil people.


  18. All you had to do 4 or 5 years ago was read Rev. Wrights whole "sermon" (the infamous "G D America"). And know that Obama sat through it without getting up and walking out in disgust to know we were in deep trouble. And here we are deeper in 4 years later. We stand not as a nation. But are divided today like never before. I am disgusted by all of it and if I could "walk out" I would.

  19. Lee,

    You and I both know if that if this were about "logical" decisions then it would not be about guns. However, this is definitely about guns so it CANNOT be about logic. This administration knows that, so it has to be an emotional decision. Thus, we got SOLD on every level.

    We had victims of several shooting incidents to reinforce that anything the President did was fair, just, and GOOD. The kids were there with letters in their OWN WORDS asking for new legislation to make their world safe and ideal. After all, when they were born they were promised a rose garden. Weren't you? And life would always be FAIR. No one would have more or score a better grade than you. Ever. Didn't you get that in writing on your birth certificate? Well, that is what they get now. ::silly you::

    Here is what I know: I have never made a good decision when I was ALL EMOTION. Hormonal, out of control, raging emotion. My decisions were much clearer when I came back to earth and let Logic step in and have it's say. There was no Logic in that room. It was all Emotion. There were Kids with Letters, Victims of Shootings, Parents who Just Lost Their Child 30 Days Ago, and So On. Emotions were Raging. And everyone was looking at the Gun. No one was looking at the Mental Illness behind it.

    Grief counselors tell people who lose a spouse to death to not do anything MAJOR for one year (at least). For instance, don't run out and get married again in 30 days because you are lonely. Why? Because that is an emotional decision that will probably be a disaster. Don't sell your house, quit your job, move, etc. Right now your entire world looks foreign. Let everything settle. Wait. Then make decisions. Logical decisions.

    Back to the topic at hand: until people start thinking logically instead of emotionally on this topic, they will continue to be "played like a fiddle." I hope it happens sooner rather than later!


  20. I don't think my children want to see me "do it."
    Oh, that isn't what you meant.
    You make much more sense.

  21. You're so right here Lee, this is why I have no problem with what you write no matter how controversial it is. Great post as usual buddy.

  22. Lee-

    When I was in grade school, if I was selling raspberry chocolate bars for boy's choir....

    ...I'da been thumped by everyone in the neighborhood!

    Now I know I'm supposed to be older and more tolerant...but come on!

    Didja ever see John Wayne eating raspberry chocolate or singin' in a choir?

    Back to my cave...


  23. Cathy -- We are probably more dramatically divided now than anytime in the history of this country. That is something that needs to be remedied and I don't think the current administration will be doing it.

    Robin -- Great comment. I'm not going to hold my breath to wait for people to start thinking logically or I start looking like a Smurf. Emotion rules the minds of the majority it appears.

    Al -- I try to make sense, though I don't always succeed.

    Yeamie -- Your comment makes me smile.

    Larry -- Did they have raspberry chocolate when John Wayne was around? Gotta like raspberry chocolate.


  24. LEE ~
    Here is one you never encounter...

    "Women must be diligent in protecting
    their right to legal abortions...
    ... [wait for it...] ...
    ...for the children!"

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  25. Could not agree with you more. That was just sad to march those kids out at the beginning. I think I will also join you in a reread of 1984. I downloaded it to my Kindle a week ago.

  26. Lee: Your post could not be more accurate, and your reasoning is so sound. You simply make sense, and in this day and age, it is refreshing to hear the truth. Are you sure you reside in California?

  27. Well, I've posted about what our national debt really means and put it in terms that even someone who can't add simple numbers (I'm kind of that way.) can understand. Obama keeps talking about saving the children, yet he's already added almost 6 trillion dollars to a debt that these "children" will have to repay.

    Love your political side, Lee.


  28. Another excellent post. Unfortunately, now it looks like you're only 'preaching to the choir'. It's too bad that most people are unable to set their emotions aside and take a calm rational approach to any subject. But then I guess most people aren't calm and rational when it comes to their children.

    I saw an interesting quote the other day, that you might appreciate. It's by none other than Captain Jack Sparrow:

    'The problem isn't the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.'

    You gotta hand it to Jack. He might live in a land where the rum is always gone, but about some things, he's right on the mark.

  29. What is '1984' about? I'll have to check it out. For not ranting, you did it quite well. lol Everyone uses kids cause they're so adorable. A few of my grankids are models, so much cuter than just pics of clothes. One grandson, Orion, was in a Hundai commercial in Korea.

  30. StMc -- Doublethink at work.

    Chuck -- It's been years since I've read 1984. It's probably more relevant now than ever before.

    JJ -- Thank you for that encouragement. There are a few like thinkers in California though from the media reports you'd never know it.

    C.Lee -- Good point there. The debt is going to be a cruel blow to our kids and very damaging to our nation if a good solution isn't found.

    Faraway eyes-- Great quote. Sometimes fiction is truer than truth.

    LinnAnn -- 1984 is the iconic novel written back in the 1940s by George Orwell. It's a prophetic look at a government that manipulates thinking and controls the populace in every way. If you haven't read it, you should. At least check out the movie version.


  31. To Stephen T.-
    OMG, could not have said it better. I'm always wondering how a party that is constantly ranting about how they are for the kids can justify their stance on killing them before they're even born.
    Seriously, the things that go through my head are just so damn rational sometimes that I scare myself.
    To Lee-
    Your political posts are well thought out and appreciated. I'm sorry that some of your readers have proven to be unable to swallow that there are things that we don't all agree on and yet we should be able to voice our opinions. Lately I remind a lot of people that where my second amendment rights go, so go their first amendment rights.
    I think a lot of us just cannot keep quiet on the political front anymore. With all this pot stirring by our 'leadership', who can really be surprised when we push back?!


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