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Can we please stop using children as political props?

Published 7:10am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

During a campaign season, and especially one for the U.S. presidency, it’s certainly not uncommon to notice a few political advertisements that make your stomach churn. However, one was released in the past few days that I hope we all can agree is disgusting and manipulative — no matter if you’re liberal, conservative, or independent.

Several days ago, the founders of the ad agency behind the “Got Milk?” campaign released a web-based video entitled “The Future Children Project.” The two-minute ad features several dozen children, representing the future, singing to their parents that they will “blame them” for the future of the world if — horror of horrors! — Mitt Romney is elected president in November.

Some of the choicest lyrics of the bunch include: “Imagine an America where strip mines are fun and free … and sick people just die and oil fills the sea,” and “We haven’t killed all the polar bears but it’s not for lack of trying. The Earth is cracked, Big Bird is sacked and the atmosphere is frying.”

It would be bad enough to me if this ridiculous song were being performed by adults or celebrities (Which president was in office when the BP oil spill occurred again? Hint: It was Obama). However, my personal disgust was exacerbated even further when I saw that it was a chorus of children singing the words.

To me, children should be absolutely off-limits when it comes to political advertising. While there are certainly some very smart kids out there, most of them haven’t yet gained the knowledge to really understand what they are singing about.

Likely, there were some adults — probably parents seeking fame — who gave them the words to say and then waited for them to parrot them back. My dad, an Iowa Hawkeyes fan, taught me at a young age to say “Michigan stinks!” even though I had no idea what a “Michigan” was. But I would say it just as loudly as anybody else!

To be fair, this is not an ad that is endorsed in any way by President Obama. It was created by an independent private group. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still be disgusted by its message and tone. I have a feeling that the video will ultimately backfire, and many more people will be annoyed by its use of children to push a political agenda.

Let’s let our kids be kids. The only “red” and “blue” they should be worried about are the colors of finger paint.

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