Monday, October 23, 2006

When tiny shoes walk the picket line


First of all, CC was taken to a lot of protest marches as a little kid. She was a true believer then, and now she disagrees with some of the signs she herself carried. (Not actually the spirit behind them, but I don't know of any situation so simple that a protest sign covers it. Protests are all about people yelling their views and refusing to listen. I don't know if this is the root of my distate for protest marches, but it's at least part of it.)
This morning I ran across this article, which details how a pro-life group had been planning a protest at an elementary school. Pro-life parents would be sending their kids to school with tape over their mouths to symbolize, well, silenced fetuses.
Ummm... ewww.
It also bothers me when parents tell their kids to think something and are impressed when their kids think what they were told to. A vegan I know was so proud when her little girl started to go "Eeew! Stinky!" whenever they passed a McDonalds. "She thought of that all by herself!" Vegan mom crowed.
I have a standing policy of never arguing with a parent's assessment of their kid's genius, but I thought to myself that the wording might have come from the little girl, but the idea was straight from her mother.
I guess there's nothing particularly wrong with the parents on either side imposing their views on their kids. Imposing views is kind of what parents do, and rightly so much of the time.
But it bugs me.

CC

14 comments:

di said...

Hi,

Came across your post. Hope you don't mind that i'm leaving a comment. Perhaps, you should have questioned the vegan mum about subliminally brainwashing her child. Down with parental indoctrination ;)

Chalicechick said...

Welcome to the Chaliceblog! Naturally you're welcome to comment.

I don't quite agree with what you're saying here, though. As I mentioned in my post, I was taken to a lot of protests and I grew up to be capable of critical thinking.

A lot of parenting is about telling kids what's wrong and right. If a parent thinks abortion or the war in Iraq is wrong, I don't object to them saying so.

But yeah, the protest marches kinda get to me...

CC

Cerulean said...

But indoctrination is the whole point of parenthood, isn't it?

Doug Muder said...

I didn't get protest marches until just a few years ago.

Sometimes the mood of the country is such that one side of an issue gets completely intimidated and marginalized. Homosexuality is the classic example: If everybody is in the closet, then everybody believes they're alone. So they stay in the closet.

The Peace Movement was that way right after the invasion of Iraq, when all the reporters were embedded, the news anchors wore flag pins, and it looked like everybody was dancing around Saddam's fallen statue. People who thought the war was a bad idea got intimidated and didn't speak up, so everybody believed they were alone.

A protest march is a way for a few people to show that they are not intimidated, and it functions to call like-minded people out of hiding. Done right, it should be a display not of anger but of courage.

Right now, the conventional wisdom is that nobody really cares about Darfur. And maybe it's true, but maybe not. Maybe if all the people who do care about Darfur got together someplace, they'd be surprised how many they amounted to. Maybe other people would notice them and wonder what it was all about.

di said...

curious: about darfur, are you involved in some sort of awareness group or something? want to know if you're doing something about it.

Unlike you, peace marches I used to get, not any more though. Especially after watching them on television. Weren't there peace marches about NOT going to war with Iraq the world over. What happened?

Peace marches are a gesture, a means to make a socio-political comment. They're not a solution.

If there is a problem, i think its best not to march about it. Just make a plan. (ha! "just make a plan"...sounds a little corporate doesn't it?)

di said...

Parenthood and Indocrination: A Case Study (hee! only kidding). Seriously though, this debate could rage on forever.

I secretly do hope that children are smarter than that.

P.S-CC, thanx for the welcome.

PeaceBang said...

Taping their children's mouths shut to represent "silenced fetuses" is one of the most irrational things I've seen the anti-choice crowd do yet.

I thought the POINT of having their children there was to say, "Look what a blessing our children are! We're SO GLAD we didn't ABORT THEM!"

Taping their mouths shut is like saying, "But they represent the ones we DID abort." I mean, what else am I going to think when I see YOUR child with tape over his mouth? If you come tape MY child's mouth shut because I'm pro-choice, that would make more sense. But of course if you got anywhere near MY child, I'd have you arrested.

As I age, I more and more respect the rare talent to come up with effective symbols for protest and activism. A lot of them are ignorant, confusing or just inane.

The Emerson Avenger said...

The Emerson Avenger hereby "culture jams" Doug Muder's really quite eloquent words by "publicly demonstrating" how they apply very well to The Emerson Avenger aka Robin Edgar himself and the War of the U*U World as it were. . .

Sometimes the mood of the U*U World is such that one side of an issue gets completely intimidated and marginalized. Robin Edgar is the classic example: If everybody is in the closet about Robin Edgar, then everybody believes they're alone. So they stay in the closet.

The U*U World was that way after the "excommunication" and subsequent false arrest of Robin Edgar, when all the reporters in the U*U World were in bed with the UUA, the Unitarian Church of Monteal's "Positive Picketing Committee" counter-protested, and it looked like everybody was dancing around Robin Edgar's fallen status (as it were). ;-) People who thought the U*U War of Words with Robin Edgar was a bad idea got intimidated and didn't speak up, so everybody believed they were alone.

A protest march is a way for a few people (or a single individual. . .) to show that they are not intimidated, and it functions to call like-minded people out of hiding. Done right, it should be a display not of anger but of courage.

Right now, the conventional wisdom is that nobody really cares about Robin Edgar. And maybe it's true, but maybe not. Maybe if all the people in the whole wide U*U World who do care about Robin Edgar got together someplace, they'd be surprised how many they amounted to. Maybe other people would notice them and wonder what it was all about. . .

Enjoy the embedded reports. . .

Chalicechick said...

Raise your hand if you saw that coming.

((wave))

CC
who doesn't think that caring about Robin as a person and agreeing with him are the same thing FWIW, much as caring about a cause and agreeing with the way activists have chosen to fight the battle aren't either.

Jamie Goodwin said...

The problem with protests that I have is that they take so much time and energy and it is really just an empty gesture.

Now my church hosted a crop walk this past sunday. There was a "march" of sorts I suppose but it was a sponsership walk, meaning people raised money to help feed the hungry by putting their feet to the pavement.

That is the kind of march I can get behind.

Doug Muder said...

I freely admit to being totally pathetic on the subject of Darfur. Now let me get back to the topic.

You can make any form of action look ridiculous if you assume that people who are active in that way do nothing else. Making a plan, for example, is pretty ridiculous if you do nothing else.

I run into this fallacy all the time. People use it to denounce blogging or prayer or even sending money to an organization.

Actually, the reverse assumption is almost always true: People who get active on an issue in one way (whatever it is) are MORE likely to get active in some further way. It's a both/and, not an either/or.

Bill Baar said...

Protests are just a form of free speech.

Whether we say anything sensible verbally or in protest a whole other question.

I particpated in many protests and my unease with that paticipation today is we protested because it was also a party, a chance for a fight, stroke our egos, smoke dope....

indrax said...

Robin:
You are not culture jamming, because Doug Muders words are not a cultural icon or a mass media outlet.
You ARE 'dialog jamming' in that your insensitive mimicry contributes little to the discussion, but does communicateagression.
It is rude.

After ten years of protesting, you now seem to have no supporters. Has your call found no like minded people?
I was your ally, and I was intimidated and marginalized, but only by you.

I invite you to organize a gathering of any people who take your side on this. I, for one, have been looking for those people for the past year.
If the gathering were virtual, so much the better. Where are your allies?

And are they well informed? Because I have some questions...

P.S. You are a Liar.

PG said...

I am going to be glad that I'm not UU and the Robin Edgar thing went way over my head.

I just can't imagine taking kids to a protest because of the difficult of finding a clean bathroom. My parents had a hard enough time getting us to go to the grocery store without whining; taking us to protests would have been an exercise in masochism. "Mooom, she's bumping my sign with hers, make her stop!"

Actually, if you can train your kids to behave through an all-day protest, that's a sufficiently valuable skill that I don't care what else you're indoctrinating them in. The kid who can march in line at the protest probably can walk through a restaurant without knocking over other patrons' drinks. If protests were the only child-inappropriate place adults took kids, I might have a problem with it, but given the status quo...