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for the children, episode 1

Let's call tonight's episode For The Children™..

Episode 1: The Berkeley Brigade

Pre-School Kids Protest Possible War in Iraq

Last winter I was watching a special on some cable channel about anti-abortion protesters. They interviewed a woman from California - a self professed "hippie" - who let out a stream of bile so thick it was pratically drooling down her chin. Her problem was not the protesters per se, but the fact that they had dragged their children out to protest with them. The children held signs of pregnant women with the word "killer" sprawled across their bellies. I agreed totally with this woman that the children were being used and programmed.

But I wonder now if that woman was among the Berekely protesters who brought their pre-schoolers out for a good old anit-war protest. There is no difference is there? Well, the ideology is different, the cause is different. But the end result: using and programming children to think in a specific manner.

Though most students at the rally could not even name Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, many seemed certain the pending U.S. led war in Iraq is about oil.

Celia, age 6, who could not spell her hyphenated last name, told the crowd President Bush "wants to make war because he wants oil.

Isn't that precious? I can imagine the talk at mommy and me groups in Berkeley: "Oh, Rainbow said her first words today! She said, 'it's about the oiiiiiiiillll!"

I have two children. I am raising them to think for themselves, to form their own opinions and to not be sheep amongst a flock. Never in a million years would it occur to me to indoctrinate my children into one of my causes or beliefs at such an early age - before they are able to form opinions of their own based on their own research.

Later, when asked if she could name the president of Iraq, Celia, stumped, turned to a friend and asked, "Is it a boy or a girl?" Her friend, equally puzzled, responded, "I think it's a boy."

Noah, who declined to give his last name, also age six, asserted the looming war is not only about oil, but also "other things, like Bush wanting land."

"It is like us squashing ants," he said

There is not a shred of difference between these children holding signs that says "Bush is a bully" and the children who hold up signs adorned with pictures of fetuses and "baby killer" sprawled across them. And, sadly, there is not a shred of difference between the way these parents are using their children to further their own agenda.

And just what is that agenda? Apparently it has nothing to do with getting a real education:

The rally was organized through several Berkeley pre-schools that pride themselves on their alternative curriculum. At New School, academics are set aside for physical activities like yoga. And at Berkwood Hedge, a private K-5 school with 115 students, the curriculum focuses largely on issues of social justice. This year's theme at the school is peace. Students in after school programs at public elementary schools in the city also comprised the congregation of young peace protesters.

Looks like they are educating their kids to be party of the next generation of protesters and marchers. They sure aren't educating them to face the real world when they get out of school.

This is what they've been learning at school," she said. "They have been taught about conflict resolution, and here they see it in action. The kids get to wrestle with bigger questions."

Director of New School in Berkeley Susan Hagen said the children are "very concerned about what is going on in the world." "They don't want war. We teach them about talking, discussion, and negotiation."

But Skyler Johnson, 5, hadn't learned much about the conflict in Iraq. When he was asked who is the President of Iraq, he shrugged his shoulders and said, "My mom might know." After she came over and gave him a little coaching, he was able to muster, "We don't want war. Oil kills lots of people."

The children are "very concerned about what is going on in the world..

They are more concerned with pleasing their parents.

They have been taught about conflict resolution, and here they see it in action. The kids get to wrestle with bigger questions."

They are being trained to take over Indymedia when their parents get too old to carry on. The bigger questions? You mean like who is Saddam Hussein? Sure, the kids are learning an awful lot in school. Everything but the facts they need to form their own opinions.

Can we say exploitation? Good. I knew you could.

I bet you never thought you would see the day when Berekely protesters could be lumped into the same group as abortion protesters. But here it is.


Personally, I think they (those self-described hippies) started brainwashing those children TOO LATE.....they need those special "headphones" that fit over the pregnant belly so that they can indoctrinate the kids from CONCEPTION!

Shit on a stick. What stupidity.

Can you say "BULLSHIT?" Good. I KNEW you could.

My son is eight years old and he knows that terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center. He knows how to handle the problem, too. He wants to dress up in a ninja costume and give all terrorists a big, fat "TEE-YAH" sidekick, then sit on their heads and fart.

I am raising a well-grounded boy.

Great contrasts. You should be a consultant to the Daily Show.

Lemme just step up here and clarify things for ya, as you KNOW the media paints pretty pictures and when Berkeley is involved they are usually easy charicatures.

There are like fifty private preschools and K-6 schools in Berkeley. There are probably a hundred more public ones. The public schools here actually kind of rock, and Berkeley High is where I want to send the (sparkles in my eye, at the moment) someday. There are some tremendously hippie-dippie ones right up the street, one at the Unitarian Church, a couple Montessori. The ones mentioned in the article are the elite of the group. So that's pretty well distilled, given that we're all pretty pointy-headed out here.

Now I wish I hadn't thrown out the invitation to the rally someone at Pixar rec'd from MoveOn.org. It said "the kids asked us if they could have their own rally," which is cute but really sounds like the parents were fulfilling their PTA req's. It also said "participants will convene at MLK, Jr. park and march to City Hall."

That means "we will cross the street."
So cute!

Again, viewed in contrast to the typical demonstration fare around here, that's pretty frickin' lightweight and about as newsworthy as "Ashleigh made a macaroni portrait of a pony."

We have our share of freaks, sure, and they're very very camera friendly. (vogue)see?(/vogue) And it's not such a new world order. see?

Sigh. Children really shouldn't be used as some sort of leverage in things like this. That's irresponsible of them.

[whine on] But you don't understand! It's for the CHILDREN!! It's for THEM!!! We want them to learn that WAR IS BAD FOR CHILDREN AND OTHER LIVING THINGS!!! [whine off]


Is there ANY-fucking-THING stupider than a Berkeley hippie???

That is just sooooo wrong in so many ways.
I had a hard enough time explaining to my terrified kids on September 11th what that was all about.

Kids don't NEED this kid of stuff. Let them be kids. They have their whole lives to learn how fucked up this world is.

I agree with the "let them worry about which crayon to use"approach.The knuckleheads on the other side of the Caldecott make me pukey poo.

I'm just glad that my kids will grow up with others that can reduce problems to inanities and not provide viable solutions. Let's all do our part to keep the bar low. For the Chitlins'TM

"And just what is that agenda? Apparently it has nothing to do with getting a real education..."

Amen. When the time comes for them to attend a regular high school, these indoctrinated kids will be taking remedial classes, and the parents will whine that their self esteem is being damaged, and that the cirricula should be altered (i.e. dumbed down more than it is now) so that they can pass.

I agree with andrea and e. Let the kids be kids. I'm sure that the Berkley bunch would be in an uproar if kids were trotted out in a like manner to support the war. Don't use kids to further a particular political agenda, whether it's anti-abortion or anti-war.

These are the next generation of Red Diapir Babies. Their grandparents were dragged off to demos to Free the Rosenbergs and Don't Pick on Joe Stalin and the like. (Then they were sent to CPUSA-run summer camps.) It's an old tradition among the leftists.

And at Berkwood Hedge, a private K-5 school with 115 students, the curriculum focuses largely on issues of social justice.


I don't want to sound like some sort of right-wing fascist or anything, but shouldn't a K-5 curriculum be focusing on, say, reading/writing/arithmetic, with some history, science, and p.e. thrown in for good measure, and perhaps the occasional finger-painting and singing-along-with-the-music-teacher-as-she-plays-the-autoharp?

Michele, you don't know the half of it. I have worked in Berkeley for five years and I have NEVER been to a more fucked up town in my life. I, like you, have gone thru a bit of a political awakening in the past year and I can honestly say I feel like the most right wing person ever compared to the liberals that inhabit and run this town. NOTHING gets done because everyone is worried about stepping on someone else's toes for whatever reason. And as for Berkeley High - it is populated by the biggest group of obnoxious ruffians I have ever seen. Berkeley prides itself on being inclusive, but the deepest truth is that they only include you if you think their way. Seeing how these people go about their business, never slapping the hands of the antisocial idiots who make walking around town, eating in a restaurant or shopping in a store here completely unbearable was the starting point for my rethinking of my political views. Al Qaeda and Saddam were fuel for the fire. (Wow, I've really wanted to say that for awhile.)

Wow. I dunno, I walk through the Berkeley High campus on my way downtown, and I would be really hard pressed to identify that student body as any coherent thing. There are like 8 buildings, and way more ethnicities and academic "schools" under the rubric.

Michele, I'm almost certain you'd like it here better than "the other side of the Caldecott," where people talk more about which golf course they live at or who did their wife's tits than about whether or not they think we should go to war.