Brainwashing comes home

This weekend, I visited my sister-in-law and her three children. The two oldest kids (13 and 11) were in and out of the room with the adults.

At some point, my 11-year-old niece says, “So who are you voting for?” I should mention here that this family is very conservative Christian, so I was reluctant to respond at all – it as a nice family Saturday, and I didn’t feel like a political argument. But then my other sister-in-law answered that she would be voting for Obama. My niece’s jaw dropped. “But he believes in abortion!” And he wants to take ‘In God We Trust’ off the money!”

So we had a brief discussion about the history of “In God We Trust,” which I had written about before. I was actually able to sit back and watch – the SIL who will be voting for Obama pretty much described what I had written (thanks for listening, A!). The conversation stopped when someone came back from picking up lunch and we moved on to sunnier – and less explosive – topics.

But a couple of house later, my nephew (the 13-year-old) came in and asked the same question. All but one of hte five adults in the room (his mother was the one) indicated Obama. He freaked out, citing almost precisely what his sister had, adding that Obama was a Muslim who wanted to ruin America’s Christianity.

His mother asked him who told him that, and he replied, “Mr. Powers.” She said she didn’t want to talk about politics, and told him not to bring it up again. (She wasn’t in the room when my niece asked the question, or she may have stifled discussion then, too).

So here’s the deal. These kids go to a Christian private school. So naturally there’s already a focus on religion there. But I am appalled that this Mr. Powers is uttering such inflammatory political statements in front of kids who are old enough to begin considering their own opinions and ideas, given a full cache of facts. There’s a reason they’re not old enough to vote, but they’re surely old enough to be taught to think critically, not just to spew out what’s been uttered by trusted adults.

This is disturbing. I love my sister-in-law and her family. They have been very happy since they found this church, but she has also become very conservative and – as demonstrated in the interaction Saturday – stifling. She’s not open-minded, and I’m not interested in starting a family feud. But I am gravely worried about these kids. They are not choosing their beliefs, they are mimicking their mom’s. They are not presented with other potential world views. They are given the information needed to keep them “in the fold.”

They’re not my kids; it’s barely my business. But I feel like this is injurous to their mental growth, and they are both extremely bright, with great potential in this world. I want to help them find a way to use that potential for the greater good, not for pushing an ancient and manipulative agenda.

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An ad from outside the asylum

This should be the rule, not the exception.

Vodpod videos no longer available.more about “Barack Obama“, posted with vodpod

This is what a campaign should be.A candidate should tell us what he plans to do to drive change, not tell us why we shouldn’t vote for the other guy. A smear ad says to the voters, “Vote for me; I’m the least of the evils.” It’s cowardly to surround an entire ad around the opponent’s faults; it tells us that even you don’t believe you’re good enough for the job… just that you know you’re better than him.

It’s insulting to the voters and citizens of this nation to ask us to make such an important choice based on who has managed to dig deepest into the other guy’s skeletons.

It’s fine to tell us that you think your opponent is wrong. But – [listen up candidates!] – can you please give us enough credit to know that you don’t agree? If you did, it wouldn’t be much of a choice for us, would it? So – spend more time telling us why we should elect you, instead of why we shouldn’t vote for the opponent.

I just want to add that, by posting this ad from the Obama camp, I in no way am trying to indict only John McCain in this mud-slinging. It’s come from both sides. But I have to admit, I have yet to see an ad from the McCain campaign that doesn’t skewer Obama in some way. At least one side knows how to put together an ad that at least suggests he has the right idea, and directs viewers to a site with more detailed information.

I’m just trying to say.. a standard ad should focus on the positive, not the negative. It doesn’t have to be all butterflies and rainbows, but can we please have fewer black clouds and ominous voiceovers?

cross-posted at myspace

Well, it was a night for the monsters to play

Susan Nagel, of Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, decided to turn the tables on the ghouls that showed up at her door, and refused candy to children who either support Obama, or whose parents suppot Obama.

It seems clear this woman is motivated by hatred of her candidate’s opponent, not any true desire to ensure her candidate receives support. Seriously, what could she hope to gain by targeting children?

Yes, yes – it’s her right to give out her candy to whomever she pleases. Presumably, she bought it with her own hard-earned cash. Fine. Whatever. But she’s not teaching the kids who come to her door any lessons. First of all, an educated guess would assume that 99% of them aren’t eligible to vote, and won’t be for the next 4 to 14 years. So she’s not making any impact at the polls.

Second, she’s certainly not offering these kids any grass-is-greener potions, is she? I mean, the ones who are affected at all are going to remember this nasty Republican woman, and want nothing to do with her kind.

She makes a nice little effort, though – hadning out McCain/Palin pamphlets, although only with the candy she gives to the good little ghosts and goblins. What a waste of paper, right?

She’s playing dirty – although she’s more than likely acting independently, she’s following in the well-worn McCain trail: dirty tricks and mean-spirited tactics. This was not a night for political positioning. These poor kids, whether they have an opinion on the election or not (and if they do, a majority of them probably only hold their parents’ opinion), are only out for a bit of candy and night with their friends and family.

It is of note that the story linked here, deriding Ms. Nagel, is a Fox affiliate. Even they don’t approve of how low she stooped. That should say something right there.