For those who think that one can only find interesting news in serious newspapers and websites, I must say that sometimes news can be found in the most unexpected places. My example comes from the most popular of celebrity gossip mags, People.
People reported that yesterday, presidential candidate Barak Obama, appeared on the Tyra Banks Show (Tyra’s show, for the uninitiated, is filled with “gal talk” – relationships, fashion, breast exams, and battling eating disorders, to name a few of the topics – and I admit to having seen a show or two). During this interview, according to People, Obama admitted to Tyra Banks, that his 9-year-old daughter grills him to make sure that the hotels they stay in are not Hiltons:
Sen. Barack Obama took an unusual break from the campaign trail – to gaze into a crystal ball with Tyra Banks.
And what does he see in his future, Banks asked the 46-year-old presidential candidate? “I see the White House,” he replied, matter-of-factly, on her show Monday.
Obama also made clear that his wife and daughters are extremely particular on where it spends their nights.
“This isn’t a Hilton hotel, is it?” he said his 9-year-old daughter, Malia, will ask as the family tours the country – because the little one keeps up with the news and does not approve of Paris Hilton, he says.
This just struck me as interesting. I have a daughter close to young Malia’s age, so I know a lot of kids in that age bracket. Frankly, none of the kids in 3rd and 4th grade who I know follow the news. My daughter doesn’t know Paris Hilton from Paris, France. I think she is too young to know about such things. Anyway, she is too busy pretending to be a pioneer woman or a fairy or capturing snakes and caterpillers in the yard.
What really struck me was the power we have been giving to children in our society and in our political arena. Young Malia Obama gets to have a say in what hotels the family stays in because she “does not approve of Paris Hilton”. When do children have a say in such matters? What has happened to adults that we allow children to dictate what should be adult decisions.
In the public square, we are also letting children boss adults around. Take, for example, 12-year-old Graeme Frost of Baltimore, Maryland, delivered the Democrats’ response to President Bush’s radio address on Saturday, in which he urged President Bush not to veto the renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Here is a portion of the transcript from young Graeme’s address to the nation:
Hi, my name is Graeme Frost. I’m 12 years old and I live in Baltimore, Maryland. Most kids my age probably havent heard of CHIP, the Childrens Health Insurance Program. But I know all about it, because if it weren’t for CHIP, I might not be here today
CHIP is a law the government made to help families like mine afford healthcare for their kids. Three years ago, my family was in a really bad car accident. My younger sister Gemma and I were both hurt. I was in a coma for a week and couldn’t eat or stand up or even talk at first. My sister was even worse.
I was in the hospital for five-and-a-half months and I needed a big surgery. For a long time after that, I had to go to physical therapy after school to get stronger. But even though I was hurt badly, I was really lucky. My sister and I both were.
My parents work really hard and always make sure my sister and I have everything we need, but the hospital bills were huge. We got the help we needed because we had health insurance for us through the CHIP program. But there are millions of kids out there who don’t have CHIP, and they wouldn’t get the care that my sister and I did if they got hurt. Their parents might have to sell their cars or their houses, or they might not be able to pay for hospital bills at all.
Now I’m back to school. One of my vocal chords is paralyzed so I don’t talk the same way I used to. And I can’t walk or run as fast as I did. The doctors say I can’t play football any more, but I might still be able to be a coach. I’m just happy to be back with my friends.
I don’t know why President Bush wants to stop kids who really need help from getting CHIP. All I know is I have some really good doctors. They took great care of me when I was sick, and I’m glad I could see them because of the Childrens Health Program.
Ah, using a child to impart your emotional message. Seems to have become the Democrats’ modus operendi in the past few years. They use a child to convey their simplistic lies. Young Graeme was covered and would continue to be covered under CHIP. President Bush has never proposed to do away with the program, but young Graeme may be too young to understand that the Democrats for whom he speaks want to increase the program to include children of families making close to $80,000 per year, which has many budgetary implications. But, how would a youngster, who dreams of being a coach, know how to differentiate the two sides in a political squabble and the sophisticated pros and cons of each side? And, worse yet, why is a child being put in the position to castigate the President of the United States, an adult?
And then there was Ilana Wexler, Founder of Kids for Kerry, who at 12 was given the speaker’s podium at the 2004 Democratic National Convention to tell Vice President Cheney he needed a “timeout”. When I was a child, speaking in such a manner to or about an adult would have caused to the child to be labeled fresh. Now such children are celebrities. In fact, Ilana is now being recruited by the Hillary Clinton camp to chide the Republicans in the 2008 election cycle.
I probably sound tremendously old-fashioned (and I relish that label, frankly), but we as adults need to take back authority from children. Children should not be running our families nor should they be calling out our political leaders. They still are children and need to respect adults. Also, for those who use them in the political process (and I mean USE), they are demeaning the political process as well as demeaning the children they use. Let them play ball, catch bugs, dream dreams and PLAY. Don’t drag them into adult matters that they aren’t mentally and emotionally ready to deal with. It really does a disservice to them.