Thursday, August 2, 2007

Why Mommy is a Democrat

No, I am NOT divulging my own political leanings here, but this is the name of a children’s book. It has been out for a couple of years now and is targeted to enrich young minds with the Democratic philosophy (wasn’t this called propaganda in the good old days?) I have a problem with this book on many levels. Too simplistic. Polarized. It wants to draw a clean line between good and evil, Democrat and Republican. Kids are good at creating a narrow view of the world: superheroes and villains. Do we need to add to it? True, it’s targeted towards the young but – “Democrats make sure we all share our toys just like Mommy does”. Seriously? Is this what it boils down to? Mommy certainly won’t hold a jail term over your head if you don’t share your toys. "Democrats make sure we are always safe, just like Mommy does." Really? and the Republicans don't care about National safety?I am not surprised that even the Dems themselves gave a lukewarm response to the book and the Republicans went right out and lampooned it. (scroll down to see sample pages from the book)

Jokes apart, I don’t think you need books to present political views to children. They learn as they pick lessons from every day interactions with you. For example, Chip knows he has to be responsible for his own actions. Mommy won’t always help. I will warn him – the tea is hot, the chutney is spicy, he will fall if he decides to climb out of the highchair onto the table then to another chair to climb on the kitchen counter. He doesn’t always listen, and I always let him figure it out himself. He has had a few falls and bruises but has always learnt in the process.

He has to be independent, as much as he can be at the ripe age of 2. He eats by himself, will throw his clothes in the wash basket, cleans up his own messes and puts away his books. He helps himself to milk and juice when I keep them on the counter for him. He is learning to be on his own. Hopefully, many many years later, he won’t expect the government to fund his artistic pursuits, or even his retirement.

He is still quite young for me to drive other lessons into him. And I don’t know how many of these lessons will be really learnt by him. But if he grows up to be a rational, fair, responsible, independent, productive and respectful of other’s people right to have opinions, no matter how much he disagrees, I’ll be a happy and proud mom.

Edited to Add this link: Mommy-Daddy, go away!


Something to Say said...

thats a great attitude - teach ur child to be self-reliant..... so he doesnt need to depend on anyone - parents, govt....
and children's book with propoganda...goodness what will they think up next???

Jeremy Zilber said...

The author responds....

In the first place, nothing in my book is suggesting to children that Republicans are bad. If anyone is polarizing here, it's you. You're telling your readers: "People like Jeremy Zilber are BAD because they want their kids to know why they like the Democratic party, whereas people like me are GOOD." I've never written anything about you at all, and here you are going out of your way to publicly disparage me and everyone who agrees with me. Seems rather polarizing, doesn't it?

Secondly, for your son's sake, I hope that if your house is ever on fire, you'll be willing to swallow your pride and call the fire department -- even if you might convey the message that we all need a little help from the government now and then. Likewise, I hope you're willing to drive on government-paved roads, eat government-inspected food, breathe government-inspected air, fly on government-regulated airplanes, put your money in government-insured banks, and get a government-subsidized loan when it's time for your son to go to college. For his sake, I hope you don't take your claims of self-reliance too seriously.

Usha said...

I agree that as a mom your job is to let him be self reliant while being sure that if ever he is in trouble or needs you you are always there for him.
And propaganda does not have to start for children from their nursery. When they are old enough to vote they will know what democrats are good for and what republicans are.
And rejecting propaganda has nothing to do with expecting a tax paying citizen expecting government departments to do their duty. Have it come to a stage when a democrat government refuses to serve republican sympathisers?