Monday, November 24, 2008

The danger of demonizing your enemies...

... is that you become them.

Here's a snippet from Gold Plated Witch on Wheels that caught me short awhile back [entitled Wisdom from Children]:

At the dinner table one night, she [her daughter] looked at me and asked, "Is it true that Obama kills babies?"

I almost spit out my peas. My husband raised an eyebrow at me and I had to explain myself.

A few weeks back, my 10-year-old son asked me why we weren't voting for the "brown man." I'm sure, just like nk's daughter, my son had been told what a "historic" occasion it was that we could vote for a "brown man," leaving off, of course, that it was also historic because we could elect a woman as vice president. I stopped and thought about how to explain why I thought Barack Obama would be bad for our country. Tax policies are probably a little over the head of a boy who still dreams of flying. And I didn't think he'd be impressed with my judicial philosophy. So, I told him that Barack Obama thought it was ok for women to kill their babies and we didn't think that was a good idea.

Yes, yes. I know that's an overly simplistic way of discussing the abortion debate with a child who doesn't fully understand the birds and the bees yet. But it was the most direct (and accurate) way of describing Obama's abortion position. And I used far fewer words than Obama has to.

So, at the dinner table, my husband turned to our youngest child and said, "Obama doesn't want to kill them himself. He just thinks it's ok if their mothers want to."

Both children looked aghast. "Why would he do that?" she asked.

I pondered that question for a minute and then replied, "I don't understand why he would, honey." And that's the truth.

Now, here's one from today by kavips [from a post entitled Why are there "Republicans"?]:

Got to love little children… they see things so clearly…

After seeing this graph, my preschooler instantly “got it” and asked….”If Republicans are so bad for this country, why do people keep voting for them..”

Damn good question….

Here is my feeble attempt to explain their existence….. (grownups were standing around listening too…)

I said…..

Imagine if you had soooo much money you couldn’t spend it …. You could do what ever you want….

So you were sitting there one day and casually said to yourself……”Wow, if I didn’t have to pay so much in taxes….I could…”

To your right someone pipes up, stands excitedly, waving their hand, and says….”I’ll support that….Hey, give me lots of money and I’ll take that cause and run with it….. Just pay my bills and let me live comfortable on the margins, and hell, I’ll even support “NO taxes”.

So your sitting there, thinking “whoa, that was easy”, and decide to see if it works twice.. …. “Wow, if I didn’t have to pay my employees all this money for working for me, I could make even more money….. To your right…. someone pipes up, stands excitedly, waving their hand, exclaiming……” I’ll support that…. Hey, give me lot’s of money and I’ll take that cause and run with it….. Just pay my bills and let me live comfortable on the margins, and damn, I’ll support the erosion of ALL unions…. I’ll run them into the ground…..”

So you marvel at how just a few words can get policy changing… and you decide to push the envelope, just to see if there is even a boundary….. “Wow, if I didn’t just have to follow the stupid letter of the law, I could make so much more money….. ” To your right… someone pipes up, stands excitedly, waving their hand, exclaiming…..”I’ll support that…. Hey, give me money and I’ll take that cause and run with it…. Just pay my bills and let me live comfortable on the margins, and …. Hey, you know….I’ll even support your right to a kingdom….. No problem…. just pay my bills…..

So you see,…. as long as someone has too much money, “those people” will always be there….. No matter what their name may be, whether we call them Federalists…. Whigs….. Republicans…… or even some different name of the Democratic Party that will eventually will split off to cater to those needy people…. The wealthy will always have sycophants…..who will sell their country’s soul out from under us for a few extra dollars…..

Sound like someone you know?

Two common elements here:

1) Explaining the beliefs of people you don't agree with to children who trust you completely to hand out objective truth.

2) Not living up to that trust.


Duffy said...


Anonymous said...

I second that. And, hopefully, kavips doesn't teach.

Anonymous said...

LOL, Hube, I teach every time I write. Most of the kids are in their thirties and up...

But you got to admit; I nailed it as to "why" there are Republicans.