When Parents Use Kids as Political Props

Seven-year-old questioner at Cotton town hall was a put-up job — but not the first

by Deirdre Reilly | Updated 23 Feb 2017 at 7:06 PM

Many politicians left Washington this week during the “state work period” to spend time in their home states and meet with constituents. And one senator got an earful — from a seven-year-old.

At Springdale High School in the Arkansas Ozarks, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton fielded questions from citizens — as well as from a young man named Toby Smith, seven years old — or “almost eight.”

Smith, speaking into the microphone, earnestly told Sen. Cotton that he found President Trump's comments about Mexico worrisome.

"Donald Trump makes Mexicans not important to people who are in Arkansas who like Mexicans," the child said — adding those Arkansans include himself, his grandmother, and his people. Trump's proposed wall, he said, was a threat to public television and to the national parks. (Under a possible Trump administration plan to tighten federal spending, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — which helps fund PBS — would be privatized, it was announced last month.)

"He is deleting all the parks and PBS Kids just to make a wall," the seven-year-old went on, "and he shouldn't do that. He shouldn't do all that stuff just for the wall."

Coached much? The child's words definitely sounded a lot like a grown-up's. An easy argument to make would be that young Toby Smith’s safety both now and in the future would be greatly improved with a wall, as violent criminals and gangs who push drugs to American youth are a big reason for its construction.

Progressives are using children to make their points — which is concerning. At the women’s marches around the country last month as well as at LGBT pride parades, children are highly visible.

Sophie Cruz, a six-year-old immigration activist, stood with her family in Washington, D.C., and urged people to continue fighting for the rights of immigrants.

“We are here together making a chain of love, to protect our families,” she told the crowd at the Women's March there. ”Let us fight with love, faith, and courage so that our families will not be destroyed.”

Did that sound like the spontaneous expression of a child? She went on to say: "God is with us!"

Then there’s the famous Marcelas Owens, who has often been referred to as the "Obamacare kid." He was the chubby 11-year-old lad who stood next to President Obama as the president signed the Affordable Care Act into law at a White House ceremony in March 2010 — a darling young activist surrounded by powerful politician in a famous photo of that moment.

It is wrong to use children to push an agenda — wrong for the country, wrong for the child. Pulling at the heartstrings of Americans at the expense of a child’s privacy and his or her autonomous thought is no way to win any battle — on immigration, LGBT rights, women’s rights, or any other hot-button issues of the day.

Related: Girls Don't Need the Women's March

People should win battles based on their own thoughtful, reasoned arguments — not stoop to using their kids to make a political point. It's just unseemly.

  1. politics
  2. cotton
  3. illegals
  4. immigration
  5. kids
  6. parenting
  7. public

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