The Children are Watching
Duncan Black is a wise man, and although he hasn’t done it in a while inevitably a post will appear on Eschaton entitled what will the children say? Outwardly it’s simply a jab at rank Republican hypocrisy, of course, a reminder that according to Republicans what Clinton did with his wee-wee was a horrifying behavior model for the nation’s children, but Bush killing 200,000 Iraqis for lies is nothing to be concerned about, of course not.
Duncan keeps circling back to this element of our public life, though, because he knows no matter how much the Republicans abused the fact it’s still very much there eight years later and always will be: the children are watching, they don’t understand or care whatever the hell comes out of our mouths, they’re looking at what we do and eventually making life choices based upon what behavior is presented to them.
The children are watching can be used as an excellent self-reflection tool, yes, but its importance always effects us civically with at least a 20 year time lag, it takes that long for the behavior to sink in and be modeled—or avoided—by our young people.
Great American power has shielded us from so many of the consequences of our actions, we borrow and war like it’s our God-given right to do so, the almighty dollar and MX missiles assuring our comfortable arrogance, but nothing will shield Americans from the judgments of its children, nothing.
Not only that violence, death and lying are natural consequences to being American, but that even the most basic tenets of why we make the rules and follow them are a lying joke. While all of this was going on, what did the Democrats do, sit there or fight for what they believe in?
This has always been the source of my acute anguish with modern Democrats, it was never about winning or losing, it was the principle of defending and fighting for what we believe in.
Amazingly, modern Democrats (no matter what they say) think they can let Republicans self-destruct without defending themselves or the country and pay no consequence. They couldn’t be more wrong, no young person today of any substance will become a passionate Democrat if no one fights for what we believe in. If Democrats win by default in 2008 it will hardly mean a thing and cement in disastrous consequences for the Party, a paradox of victory the Party will carry a long, long time.
Finally, at last, John Edwards in the last week is getting directly confrontational with Bush on the Iraq war and taking polar opposite positions—loudly—from authoritarian Republicans. Maybe if Obama and Clinton actually discovered there’s a Vice President in the United States they could attack the felon animal, defending the country and the Party instead of this present disgusting show of squabbling over triviality. It’s possible.
More likely they’ll continue to fool themselves they’re not being watched by minds that care not a whit for the obsequious bullshit flapping from their lips, or continue to be oblivious that by “winning” in 2008 without confronting Bush will actually be a horribly hollow victory that will barely serve the Party or the country well. There’s still time for them to get it, but so far Obama and Clinton have been useless, more harm than good in their contemptible timidity.
 I found this writing to be poignant with a subtle, mysterious power I will not forget.