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Y’know… for da kids

Things that get my blood pressure up:

Bad ideas
Poor design
Great ideas… poorly executed.
Lack of attention to typographic detail.

Oh… and politics.

Every four years, at the end of the parade of dunces, that - like Christmas - seems to start earlier every time around, I convince myself that I won’t let it affect me next time. But, I can’t help it. Growing up with a dad who was an American history teacher and - in a possible lapse of sanity - not only became involved in politics by running and getting elected to the county commission, but also was a Democratic Party District Chairman, it’s hard to not be exposed and drawn into the fray of American politics.

Maybe it was that exposure that makes me who I am now. It definitely taught me not to run for office. It has shaped my approach to politics - get involved… to a point. And, though my Dad was and is a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat (at the time Democrats were like today’s Moderate Conservatives), it also taught me to let my daughter be exposed to both sides of the aisle. He never tried to push me to believe what he did. He never used me as a pawn of the political process. He never expected me to wave the banner of his own views or the views of his party. Why, because I as a child I had no means for forming opinions about things I could not fully understand.

Now, why am I speaking of this on a design blog? Well, this caught my eye this morning.

It seemed funny, kinda cute - and being the pseudo-politico that I am (plus Daddy wants a new president as well) I had to find out what was up.

So, I clicked it and found a site with this adorable kid wearing a t-shirt that said, “Mommy wants a new president.”

O.K. On the surface I was amused. I admit it - I giggled. Then I saw the other version: “I wouldn’t vote for Bush if I were you.” Again. Cute. Chuckled a bit.

Then I was turned off. Why? Because, just as much as I despise hearing young kids of Right Wing parents tell me that Kerry is a liar. Or Kerry is a flip-flop. Or Bush is right. Or (insert Republican candidate) is better than (insert Democratic candidate), I don’t like it when kids of the other persuasion do either.

Seriously. How can kids fully understand what is at stake in the election for President of the United States? Granted, kids these days are a lot smarter than I was at their age. My daughter is one year old and I fear my days of intellectual superiority are numbered. But, even with my connections to political knowledge and the resource in a history teacher, I could not have told you why Carter was going to lose the election, nor the full political/theological underpinning of the Iran hostage crisis, or why Anwar Sadat was assassinated. And, I was eight and nine years old for God’s sake!

Today, do kids that wear T2-6 sized t-shirts fully understand the foreign policy issues that were undermined in the invasion of Iraq? Why we were attacked on 9/11? Some of the kids that fit these shirts were not even born then.

What do you think? How different is this from advertising and design that exploit kids? Do you think it is fair to use our kids to espouse our beliefs? How would you feel if your kid got into a fight at school because his shirt made another kid mad because his daddy likes the other guy?

Postscript: I admit it. This was difficult to write. I understand the idea. I do think it is funny. But, I am conflicted by the underlying effects of throwing kids into a process they may not fully understand. Further adding to the level of difficulty is my long admiration for Jim Coudal and the work they do.

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ARCHIVE ID 2095 FILED UNDER Discussion
PUBLISHED ON Sep.30.2004 BY Brady Bone
WITH COMMENTS
Comments
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

do kids that wear T2-6 sized t-shirts fully understand the foreign policy issues that were undermined in the invasion of Iraq? Why we were attacked on 9/11?

Do their parents?

Even though I agree with you, I understand that people project themselves, their fears, and their hopes on their children. Do you hope for you child to grow up in a world where bigotry is a distant memory? Bringing your child to a civil rights march would remind people why we’re doing this. You hope your child lives in a world where decency and respect for God are the norm and life is protected? Bringing your child to an anti-abortion rally would remind people both of the potential future and the wasted potential.

Yeah. Kids should be allowed to be kids. They will likely parrot their parents’ politics but asking them to seems like exploitation from where I stand. From where others stand I suppose their political views are all about their kids.

On Sep.30.2004 at 04:24 PM
Sebastian’s comment is:

I saw this a while ago and i thought it may be interesting in this context.

I still remember my first demo. It was in Buenos Aires in 1982, The "war" had just finished and the Junta had just stepped down. I was there with my two sisters, one was a boho post-punk painter, the other one a med student and an active left-wing militant. My sister's boyfirend was an independent journalist. I remember it all very clearly. We were all there in the tens of thousands with Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo, who were trying to find out why their sons had disappeared. My sisters tried their best to explain to me that some of them had "disappeared" for doing the very thing we were doing in that place, and that we wre taking part in something very big. I listened, tried to pay attention. I adjusted myself a bit in my sister's boyfriend's shoulder, and sucked my strawberry lollipop. I was five years old. I never forgot.

On Sep.30.2004 at 04:46 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

There seems to be 3 mindsets these days...you're a republican, you're a democrat, you're a kid.

I wish the latter were the ones in charge.

(I wrote that before reading Sebastian's link. Everyone should go read that.)

On Sep.30.2004 at 05:29 PM
monkeyinabox’s comment is:

I still think those are better than the "my real mommy is a porn star" shirts.

On Sep.30.2004 at 06:19 PM
marian’s comment is:

I can understand where you're coming from because I have the same feelings every time I see a kid standing on the sidewalk with their parents, pushing religious tracts.

However ...

I too have an early memory of a political rally. I was around 4 or 5, and we were (much to my amazement, now) going to see Pierre Trudeau speak. My mother pinned a little home-made badge on me (I remember it very well, made from a cardboard serial box, with one of those little gold safety pins attached); it said "NDP" (for New Democratic Party). I asked her what it meant and she said, "It means we don't like Trudeau."

I can see how someone might be outraged by this; after all, I had no opinion of Trudeau. I barely had an opinion on the clothes I wore. But those politics she raised me with have stayed with me to this day (although I did eventually vote for Trudeau), and the other members of my family (see my bio and the pic of my brother protesting at age 15). So this is in a sense a political survival tactic. You don't really want your kids to be completely their own person: children carry on more than our genetic line, they carry our social and yes, political lines into the future.

So I'm not sure. Is it really much different to brand your child with a political statement than it is to brand them with a company name (from Nike to the corporation Dad works for)? What's the difference between fondly remembering your first Levis and your first political button?

We've noted on Debbie's "My first Love" thread how important those early influences are. It's in a political parent's best interest to get there first, before someone else does.

On Sep.30.2004 at 07:33 PM
Don Julio’s comment is:

It's in a political parent's best interest to get there first, before someone else does.

If we could teach people to grow up with open minds we might not be so intolerant to other cultures and ways of life. The brainwashing starts early, but so could creative thinking and the idea that there is more than one acceptable answer.

It has taken many years to shed my parent's ideals and figure out what my own are. It is a definite disadvantage to be indoctrinated into something without first fully understanding it.

The t-shirt is probably the most common example of free speech, but it would be great to limit it to those who are also capable of independent thought. Yeah, right?!

On Sep.30.2004 at 08:01 PM
TJ Lomas’s comment is:

The shirts are cute, but using your kid as a glorified campaign button is pretty tacky.

On Sep.30.2004 at 09:40 PM
marian’s comment is:

Don Julio, I agree with you up to a point; I was sortof making a socio-biological reference. More of a "this is perhaps why people are compelled to do it" rather than a "it should be done." The truth is that most parents have opinions on many things they would like their children to agree with them on: religion, sex, politics being only a few.

On Oct.01.2004 at 12:19 AM
kevin’s comment is:

My parents were radicals in the sixties, young and in love and with a kid.

One of the iconic photos from my youth is me, a half-pint in dark curly hair, rubber boots and a big sandwhich board that says "MR PM TELL THE US TO GET OUT OF VIETNAM". The look on my face is priceless; you would almost believe I understood exactly what my sign meant. My parents may have made some effort to explain. I have no idea how much I understood at that age, although i'm pretty sure I could at least listen as convincingly as a cow.

I'm glad my parents were passionate about many things. I'm glad that the experience of having a child intensified their political activity. The world was a crazy f*ed up place but I never doubted that my parents wanted to make it better for me.

Personally, I'm glad my family did not drape me in corporate logos and designs, like many parents today seem happy to do.

On Oct.01.2004 at 05:26 AM
Coudal’s comment is:

My five-year-old son's Mommy does, in fact, want a new President and the I wouldn't vote for Bush if I were you shirt was my seven-year-old daughter's idea.

We think this election means a lot for the future, a future that belongs to kids, and we wanted to find a dramatic but not mean-spirited way for families who think the same to communicate that idea.

On Oct.01.2004 at 06:50 AM
Rebecca C.’s comment is:

:: Sparking debate=good.

:: Funny t-shirts=good.

If a child, or their parent, is going to start a brawl based on a t-shirt slogan our society has bigger problems than political debate.

As was mentioned above, we brand our kids with costly, resource-wasting, sweatshop-produced apparel everyday without thinking about the message that sends. Why not use the little tykes to project a carefully-worded and considered message instead?

Insert tongue in cheek here>> It's cheaper than a billboard...

On Oct.01.2004 at 08:36 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

In Coudal's defense, I have a hunch that a lot of kids DO know that Bush doesn't make for a great president. ;o)

On Oct.01.2004 at 09:48 AM
Greg’s comment is:

Personally, I'm glad my family did not drape me in corporate logos and designs, like many parents today seem happy to do.

This is a great point. Where's the outrage about bestowing a brand loyalty on a child? No one complains when a kid's dressed head to toe in Nike, but put a political t-shirt on him and suddenly it's "pushing your beliefs." Frankly, I'd bet that there was a lot more brand loyalty out there than there is political loyalty.

On Oct.01.2004 at 10:12 AM
Ron Hubbard’s comment is:

I think a lot of kids probably relate to Bush because they also have a hard time speaking in complete sentences and making a clear thought.

On Oct.01.2004 at 10:17 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Why not use the little tykes...?

Not to accuse Mr Coudal of doing this AT ALL or to cast aspersions on Rebecca, but these t-shirts seem to PLAY INTO the Child As An Accessory To My Life mindset.

On the other hand, I too have good memories of involvement in my parents' political activism phase. It sparked a lifelong interest in politics. In fact, I taped the debate last night (on at 2 AM here) for a bit of fun Friday night viewing.

By far the worst example that I have seen of this type of child (ab)use was before the Iraq war (which I opposed) when a TEACHER made protesting the war a class project. Teach them How to think, you bitch, not What!

On Oct.01.2004 at 10:23 AM
monkeyinabox’s comment is:

Actually after the debate last night, I sure noticed my 3rd grade daughter is a lot more polically opinionated that you would think a 3rd grader would be. She would wear one of those shirts, but if it was pro-Bush she wouldn't. So, yes, maybe you can play it cute with infants, but slightly older kids won't be political propaganda in a mindless way.

On Oct.01.2004 at 10:32 AM
Don Julio’s comment is:

Why not use the little tykes to project a carefully-worded and considered message instead?

My five month old daughter has a great Tshirt that just says Please vote. www.childishclothing.com/

It's more about taking action than choosing sides, but aside from a picture, I'm sure she will have no memory of what it meant in 2004.

On Oct.01.2004 at 11:10 AM
BEN’s comment is:

I haven't done it yet but I want to make a bumper sticker and tee that say:

POLITICS NO!

On Oct.01.2004 at 11:48 AM
marian’s comment is:

Sorry, a couple of errors to fix. Armin just told me that the pics on my bio were all broken: All fixed now, for those of you hankering to see my brother at 15.

Also

a cardboard serial box

that should be cereal box. I know it's a bit late, but I just want you to know I'm not a complete idiot.

On Oct.01.2004 at 12:04 PM
David V.’s comment is:

Jeff Gill’s comment is:

On the other hand, I too have good memories of involvement in my parents' political activism phase. It sparked a lifelong interest in politics. In fact, I taped the debate last night (on at 2 AM here) for a bit of fun Friday night viewing.

Yes. I would say one of the real weaknesses in American culture today is that children are largely isolated from politics (in large part because their parents are apathetic about it), and politics becomes something that you're expected to just magically become interested in when you turn 18. True political awareness begins in the cradle. And while I'm leery of putting your child in a pro-Kerry (or pro-Life or pro-gun or whatever) t-shirt, I would have to say that it's preferable to most parents, who tune out politics altogether and teach their child by example that "politics is boring".

On Oct.01.2004 at 01:13 PM
Rob’s comment is:

As the father of two kids, an almost apolitical wife and myself, liberal to the core (though I'm not sure what that really means any more) I find myself thinking about all the things we do with and for our kids that don't necessarily make sense to them but fit into our picture of the world.

First thing that comes to mind is of course, religion. Do five and six-year olds really comprehend the idea of a God and the differences between being, say, Jewish and Catholic? The research says no, they really don't start having a full understanding and comprehension of these sorts of things until around the age of eight. But does that stop any of us from enrolling our kids at very young ages in some form of religious study? Okay, of course, there's no t-shirt design here but the concept is still the same.

Another example, a bit of funny and a bit outrageous happened to me recently when my wife, an Oriole's fan, and I (Yankees) took the kids to see the Yankees play the Birds. Now, I was brought up in a household where the Yankees were the rule and there were no exceptions. And these feelings and connections run really, really deep. So, imagine my personal horror seeing my kids wearing Orioles gear instead of my beloved Yankees. I was really, really mad. (I didn't yell at the kids but I did have a little argument with my wife about who's loyalty to their team was stronger—a no-win argument at that). But the point is, I wanted my kids to be seen wearing MY team's stuff. They aren't old enough to really make the distinction, depsite my intense reaction to the Orioles stuff. In the end, they wore a some of both, and I just hope the learn to love the game. I'll have to work hard though, if they really do grow up rooting for a team different than the ones I do. And I'm certain, that for some, politics is the exact same way.

On Oct.01.2004 at 04:42 PM
marian’s comment is:

Rob, that's exactly what I'm talking about. It's a great story, btw, and a great analogy. The point is, your life will be easier if your kids are Yankee fans: it's in your best interests to make sure they are, just as it's in your wife's best interests to make sure they're Orioles fans. That's the way the world works. You may, in the spirit of egalitarianism and temporary peace in the household, get them to wear paraphernalia of both teams until they're old enough to decide, but I'm sure it won't stop you from trying to convince them of joining your side at every chance you get!

On Oct.01.2004 at 11:40 PM
Brady’s comment is:

My five-year-old son's Mommy does, in fact, want a new President and the I wouldn't vote for Bush if I were you shirt was my seven-year-old daughter's idea.

We think this election means a lot for the future, a future that belongs to kids, and we wanted to find a dramatic but not mean-spirited way for families who think the same to communicate that idea.

Mr. Coudal,

I think it's wonderful that your kids have enterprising minds.

But where are they getting these feelings? Is it from analyzing the impact of what can be perceived as neo-con imperialism on our relations with foreign allies- or because Mommy simply wants a new President and that's all that they understand?

It's a rhetorical question because my intention is not to make an example of your personal situation. And I have no animosity for your pursuit because it is based on valid personal experience with your children.

My post was mainly driven by the PRINCIPLE of the idea.

It's difficult to fully determine at what age children can formulate their own opinions. Most kids only know what their parents tell them. Should your seven-year old be allowed to vote? What about your five-year old? And when the views of others conflict with our own, is it fair to put children out there to carry our cause?

Take a look at this.

We are disgusted to see children forced into a belief that is hateful and lacks understanding. Especially when children only learn hate from us.

Now I am not drawing a direct comparison between the two. But, I am drawing a philosophical parallel. Children, while intelligent and independent enough to make their own choices about what veggies they eat and what cartoons they watch, lack the life experience to make their own choices about issues of such gravity. Children yelling "four more years" at a political rally or raising a white cross as they mach past children of color - both cases show us how we affect our children and how they can know only what they hear and see.

Yet, why do the two situations draw wholly different reactions? Is it because one is cute and one is horrifying?

Where and why do we draw a line between them?

On Oct.02.2004 at 12:41 PM
Brady’s comment is:

If a child, or their parent, is going to start a brawl based on a t-shirt slogan our society has bigger problems than political debate.

Rebecca,

Sadly enough, kids and adults sometimes pick fights over the dumbest things.

On Oct.02.2004 at 12:43 PM
Brady’s comment is:

Rob and Marian,

Sports fanaticism is an interesting parallel as well.

My experience growing up was such that my dad was a UNC grad - Tar Heel Born, Tar Heel Bred, yadda, yadda, yadda - but even at the ripe old age of 5, I told him I was a Wolfpack fan. Why? I don't know. Maybe I liked the wolf better than that stupid ram.

He always picked on me - as dads do - about it. I picked back. We would sit on opposite sides of the couch when we watched games. But, when it was my birthday, he and my mom would always buy me a Wolfpack t-shirt or some other paraphernalia. My parents, took me to Wolfpack basketball games and he never felt they had to take me to Carolina games just to be fair.

Much like politics, my dad's position on college rivalry was plainly obvious, but it was never up to him to determine how I felt about such things.

On Oct.02.2004 at 12:46 PM
coudal’s comment is:

Brady,

Yet, why do the two situations draw wholly different reactions? Is it because one is cute and one is horrifying?

No, it is because they are wholly different situations and your comparison, while dramatic, is completely off-base and unfair. Implying that support of the Klan is on any level the same as supporting one of the Presidential candidates is beyond reason.

In general the reaction to LCT, from both sides of the fence has been great. There are however, a few people of the right who get all worked up about it and I think it's because they've been shrill and combative so long that they don't know how to deal with a smile and a joke anymore, they've completely lost their sense of humor. Of course my intention is not to make an example of your personal situation Brady.

On Oct.02.2004 at 04:08 PM
Rob’s comment is:

Take a look at this.

Brady, clearly an excellent example that most of us probably find a bit frightening and sadly, it happens more often than I'd like to think about it. Seeming intelligient children, brought up to hate others because that's what they're parents have taught them.

Here's another case where children are 'used' by their parents. And a case where I think it is totally wrong. And here is really no better. And really, all of these examples come back to one's parent's politics. (In my own bias, I was pleased to see that my search brought up 70 pictures of kids with anti-choice messages and only 12 kids with

pro-choice messages).

So, what might begin as a simple design on a t-shirt, or a sign, becomes a way of thinking (obviously, these examples are a bit more extreme then Mr. Coudal's) that impacts the way these kids look at life and the world around them. And as it impacts their view of the world, it most certainly impacts their design. And I guess, depending on your own view of the world, you would consider this either a good or a bad thing.

On Oct.02.2004 at 04:19 PM
Shahla’s comment is:

Why not hire a child model when photographing t-shirts you'd like to sell?

This thread brings to mind the wonderful words of Khalil Gibran:

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and he bends you with his might that his arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; for even as he loves the arrow that flies, so he loves also the bow that is stable.

On Oct.02.2004 at 04:45 PM
Nic’s comment is:

My earliest political memory was attending a Carter rally (1975 or thereabouts, which would make me 6) in some really cold weather. I remember the pride of my family and (vociferously democratic, union-strong) community at being able to come out and testify to our belief. This was reinforced for years (and decades after) by the schools I attended and the friends I made. Today, my retired mother is going to attend a Kerry rally. Her vote was never really in doubt (except for dark periods of frustration where she considered voting for Nader -- again). But she is going today so she can again testify to her support, and to celebrate her freedom to do so. We were not an affluent, or educated family. It wasn't post 60's graduate school radicalism that prompted my mother (normally a paranoid hypochondriac) to take her son and daugther out into the cold. I highly doubt Jim Coudal is trying to brainwash his kids, and if you see this act as advertising, then clearly your ability to distinguish the relative importance of different acts of signification (as a visual design no less) means you may be condemned to a hopeless formalism that is driven by a nonsensecial and schizophrenic pursuit of what you imagine to be the antithesis of 'bad' corporatism in favor of... see that's the problem of avoiding politics, your binary construction of value is reduced to fashion. Mr. Coudal is clearly trying to be what my mother wanted be, as any good parent does, an inspiration. He may fail, yes, and we can certainly stand back and judge his desire to direct and strident, and speak to the power of his beliefs, but I would hazard that a parent this engaged will do far better than one who shirks from such a declaration -- and this is overtly an overtly political distinction to make, a declaration that speaks to liberal, humanist values, of which most expansions of freedom for the most people have been derived -- and I hope his children reap the benefits as I have. A number of people here have related stories of attending various political events. Ask them, open the survey wider: of those who were 'forced' to participate in 'liberal' protests in the 60's or 70's have become KKK members? Many of my friends have a similar tales of the prototypical photo, and many of them have complex issues and frustrations with their parents, but none of the belittle their role in such actions, and they are uniformly the most open-minded people I know, politically speaking (and when I say open-minded, I mean willing to engage in debate about what it means to live democratically; this doesn't mean they aren't partisan, but they are fair).

On Oct.03.2004 at 12:27 PM
Shahla’s comment is:

There it is, the word partisan, which in the context of what happens here in the U.S., is, for the most part, an either or choice. Using the bow and arrow analogy here I'd agree most of the children raised in politically aware families have positive things to say of their experiences -but have they arrived at a place the archer aimed at? The place where the bow can not even dream of?

Why don't we have a viable third party candidate? Are we not capable of dealing with complexity?

I'd like to see that -- “my mommy wants a new president”-- slogan on an orange t-shirt or a green one.

Speaking of which, this post from the thread on Canadian banknotes,

To be honest, we've always been a little amused by the appearance of the US$, but like some crazy old aunt wearing last century's clothes, we secretly don't want her to change.

reflects exactly how this old aunt also always sees things as either black or white.

On Oct.03.2004 at 03:46 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Why don't we have a viable third party candidate?

Because our voting system does not allow for it.

Are we not capable of dealing with complexity?

Well, that too.

;o)

On Oct.04.2004 at 02:10 PM
TomGleason’s comment is:

We're all kids, really. Countries are just big kids that need to grow up. I like to think of things in terms of "playground politics". Let the idiot have the tire swing. What's so great about the tire swing anyway? When was it ever really a good idea to fight?

On Oct.04.2004 at 02:30 PM
Brady’s comment is:

FIRST: I want to set the record straight and emphasize that while my post was only influenced by and therefore used Lowercase Tees as the example for my argument. I stated this before in my follow up comments but that seems to have been missed. If I did not clarify this well enough before, I offer my apologies to you the readers and to Mr. Coudal. This discussion was meant for discussing how we influence our children, use them as accessories for our public voice and how that might involve use as designers.

Now back to the show.

- -

> ...your comparison, while dramatic, is completely off-base and unfair. Implying that support of the Klan is on any level the same as supporting one of the Presidential candidates is beyond reason.

It isn't beyond reason when that support is blind.

Mr. Coudal,

I am very disappointed that you chose to gloss over my latest post and react to my comments without taking the whole text into consideration and in effect twisting my words - as it seems you have obviously taken personal offense (stating my comparison was unfair) and therefore missed my point.

First I would like to reiterate:

"I think it's wonderful that your kids have enterprising minds.

But where are they getting these feelings? Is it from analyzing the impact of what can be perceived as neo-con imperialism on our relations with foreign allies- or because Mommy simply wants a new President and that's all that they understand?

It's a rhetorical question because my intention is not to make an example of your personal situation. And I have no animosity for your pursuit because it is based on valid personal experience with your children.

My post was mainly driven by the PRINCIPLE of the idea."

My point was the principle.

The artifact you were making only spurred my thoughts about how we tend to use our kids as pawns. Hence, I then attempted to distance your personal situation from the discussion and focus on the underlying issue. Plus, I said in my post and subsequent comments that I had difficulty in writing the post because of my respect for you and your work and that I did laughed at their palpable humor.

Maybe I should have been clearer in trying to state that your shirts only "got me ta thinkin'."

In an attempt further extract my intentions from my comments...

After I used the image of the child with the cross and white robe I stated:

" We are disgusted to see children forced into a belief that is hateful and lacks understanding. Especially when children only learn hate from us.

Now I am not drawing a direct comparison between the two. But, I am drawing a philosophical parallel."

I had to use an example that is egregiously offensive to make a point. Evereyday, we see children participating in actions that they don’t fully understand. Kids in the inner city with guns and drugs, kids at rallies yelling to people that they are going to hell because "God hates gays", kids dragging a burned body through the streets of Mosul; all are grave images and we are affected by them on many levels. Yet, if you strip the brutality from those situations you have examples of our influence on children who have no feasible means to garner complete understanding and make their own choices.

Given that fact, what allows us to view a child at a Bush rally dressed as a giant flip flop and one who is clad in a white robe at a KKK rally differently? Is it because the images are so different that we have shameless acceptance for one and not the other though they are born from the same means of influence?

What if you knew they were the same child? How would that change your opinion of the child as giant flip flop situation?

The comparison is not beyond reason when the support is blind.

I ask again, of everyone, Where and why do we draw a line between them?

I also want to ask everyone Should seven-year olds be allowed to vote? What about five-year olds?

On Oct.05.2004 at 12:10 PM
Theresa’s comment is:

To answer your question, five-year olds and seven-year olds should not be allowed to vote, obviously. But how can you really tell what the right age to vote is? I’m 21 and I still have no idea what is going on in the political world.

My family is predominately Republican, but never forced their ideas on me. My parents never missed a voting day and were always on top of politics and news. However, growing up I didn’t think that stuff was important to me because I wasn’t old enough to vote. I always thought that I’d just start worrying about elections once I turned 18, but that didn’t happen either. Life just sort of got "to busy" for me to care about those types of things. I realize that not everyone grew up in this manner, and maybe that’s my own problem that I didn’t care about world/national events. But now that I am old enough to vote and formulate my own opinions, I can’t seem to do it. I can’t seem to figure out which way I lean in the political spectrum.

I’m just wondering that maybe it’s because I wasn’t exposed to my parents’ political beliefs. The only exposure I got was watching the news at the dinner table and hearing my father’s remarks to it. And even then, all I was concerned about was how much I could saturate my mashed potatoes with butter. I think exposing your kids to political events is a good idea. And I think most parents do it so their kids can formulate their own opinions later on in life when they CAN understand it. The tricky part is not letting your own opinions be forced upon your children, so they can grow up with their own.

As far as the T-shirts, I think it’s an excellent form of advertising IF you can comprehend what you are advertising for. Otherwise, what good is it? If I see a five year old in an anti-bush shirt (or pro-bush), I’m going to figure out that she probably didn’t pick the shirt. But when I see someone older wearing the shirt, only then does it make me think about what it’s saying.

On Oct.12.2004 at 02:59 PM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

Should seven-year olds be allowed to vote? What about five-year olds?

An old friend of mine partied his way through Dartmouth and slept his way through most of a required political science class. One day the professor asked why children couldn’t vote. My friend raised his hand. The incredulous professor said “Mr. Lippman has an answer. Okay. Why can’t children vote?” My friend stood up and said “Because they are too short to reach the lever.” He then sat down, put his head back down, and slept through the rest of the class.

On Oct.12.2004 at 04:08 PM