for the children, episode 1
Let's call tonight's episode For The Children™..
Episode 1: The Berkeley Brigade
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.