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OVERVIEW: Do we have a right to teach our children to hate? On Sunday, tens of thousands of people marched through New York City holding signs accusing the President of the United States of being a "murderer," a "liar," "a Terrorist" and a host of other vile and corrupt names. Among the crowd were many children. They saw the hatred for a man in thousands of signs, and heard the chants of adults calling him a murderer and a Terrorist. The children were being taught to "hate" rather than protest. At what point does a parent have a right to expose his or her children to the Principles of Hatred? What impact does that have on a child's rights to see the world through balanced eyes rather than poisoned ones? Find out.

GROUND ZERO PLUS 1086 DAYS--New York, NY, Monday, August 30, 2004--It was hard for me to discriminate between the peaceful, positive protestors in yesterday's largest rally in this city's political history and the terror it instilled through depicting the current leadership as a group of hateful, violent liars, murders and criminals who seek to destroy the youth of America for selfish gain.

Democracy cannot exit without dissent
Democracy cannot exit without dissent

Personally, I love dissent. Without it, democracy doesn't exist. To deny the right of protesters to express their views is to manacle the Principles of Democracy and Freedom.

But like anything that is fragile--and certainly democracy is--there is a fine line that separates the Vigilance side from the Terrorism extreme.

As I milled among the tens of thousands who were preparing to march in the event, I noted the domination of signs and symbols that attacked not the right of dissent, but the hatred and vehemence of George W. Bush and the Republican Party.

Dissent's purpose is to be evolutionary. Its underpinnings are based on the removing of one system for the construction of a better one. Those who understand the formation of dissent know that in 1776, what is commonly called the American Revolution was in fact the American Evolution.

The intent of the people was not to destroy "monarchy" but to give birth to "democracy." Democracy was the ovum growing in the womb of Liberty. Its purpose was to create Children of Democracy--a people who understood that "destruction" was not as important as "construction."

There were those who were promoting change in a peaceful, constructive manner
There were those who were promoting change in a peaceful, constructive manner

Thomas Paine, often quoted regarding the "right to dissent," stated that dissent's purpose was not to destroy what existed unless there was something better to replace it. Destruction of existing systems, without a better one to set into place, was counter productive, he stated in The Rights of Man.

That's where I found myself in a state of conflict yesterday.

There were those among the crowd who were promoting change in a peaceful, constructive manner. Then, there was the majority who were singling out one person to destroy, singling their vehemence against an individual rather than the "system" and seeking to "destroy" that individual and those around him with the venom of hatred, spite, anger and ugliness.

The singular theme that rose above the crowd was "Beat Bush!" It was a one-sided see-saw. The vast majority of the protest weight was leveled at the mastication of the President of the United States as a greedy, self-serving liar, thief and murderer of innocent American troops and children in Iraq and other parts of the world.

I felt Thomas Paine wrenching in his grave. Not that Paine was any pussycat when it came to protest, but his protest was about the power of self-government, the rising above the battlefields of individuality for individuality's sake, and the preservation and perpetuation of a state of unified responsibility for our own actions.

Blaming others was not his style.

Blaming ourselves for our own Complacency was.

Therein was my consternation regarding the protest march.

I saw children exposed to signs and effigies of hatred
I saw children exposed to signs and effigies of hatred

I saw children exposed to signs and effigies of hatred against a single person, as though that person were the Beast of Terror himself. Some signs depicted President Bush as Osama bin Laden, and the clear intent of the posters was to isolate and obliterate Bush as the cause of America's suffering.

Eliminate him, the theme barked, and the world would be a safer, happier, more joyous place to live.

Nothing was shouting about replacing the "evil of politics," whether they be Democratic or Republican. Nothing might be too harsh a word, for there were some who offered solutions. One shirt stated: "End Racism! Kill Everybody!"

Some families with children carried signs about Peace Not War, a neutral and positive protest. Other children carried balloons with "Kids For Peace" on them, and that was laudable.

But the parents of those children could not blind the children's eyes from the hatred and demonic portrayals of their nation's leaders depicted as murderers, liars, greedy men who would "eat their own children" for a buck or a vote.

I wondered what the children thought when they saw those signs and their parents and friends supporting them. Would the children see dissent as a means of degrading other human beings?

A child sees things in simple terms. Lessons are fairly prima facia. To see the picture of the President of the United States with a knife in his hands stabbing innocent children in Iraq leaves an image most parents would normally consider far too violent and offensive for a child.

Yet tens of thousands of those images flashed about, filling the children's minds with the idea that to remove someone from a position of authority one has to attack them with cruel indifference.

There was no offering of The Balance of Scales that a child might use as a guide
There was no offering of the Balance of Scales that a child might use as a guide

I wondered heavily about whether a Parent of Vigilance might by default become a Parent of Terrorism by exposing a child to such imagery of hatred and vehemence. Or, could a Parent of Vigilance sit with a child and explain in detail to the child that those signs and chants by adults about the ugly, criminal nature of the nation's leaders were only "opinions" and that the protesters were shouting out the worst of their opinions, and that perhaps the President and his Republican compatriots weren't as "ugly" or as "vile" or as "corrupt" or as much of the "murderers" and "liars" and "thieves" that so many portrayed them to be.

But I doubted such balanced conversations took place prior, during or after the protest rally. I doubted that the adults who exposed their children to "X-Rated" political Terrorism considered their acts equal to "Child Abuse," for if someone where to bring into their house placards, chants and jeers illustrating their political candidate as a "murderer," a "liar," a "killer of American troops," a "war monger," "a terrorist," what would the parents do? Would they consider such an intrusion a matter of abuse of their children's minds, a warping and degradation of their beliefs?

Children are not their parents.

Children have political rights that should be monitored by their parents and loved ones
Children have political rights that should be monitored by their parents and loved ones

While the influence of a parent has a lot to do with a child's outlook, it does not determine it. A child can grow up in an environment of extreme liberalism and become a conservative, just as the opposite is true.

Children have political rights that should be monitored by their parents and loved ones. One of those rights is to see the world not through the lens of hatred and disgust, as was the case of children participating in the demonstration yesterday.

I find it difficult to accept that any parent has a "right" to expose a child to protests that are hate-based. The "Beat Bush" theme promoted by the protesters was about that--the hatred toward what George Bush represents.

The children left the parade learning how to hate
The children left the parade learning how to hate and debase the office of the Presidency

There was no offering of a solution, no evolution of a "better way" being promulgated by the crowd. There was no measurement of the good things versus the bad things Bush has done, no offering of the Balance of Scales that a child might use as a guide for his or her ability to protest.

There was only ugliness offered. The President was a Terrorist. A murderer. A liar. A thief. A dummy. A greedy Republican who would eat children to make a buck.

While many thump their chests and consider the rally yesterday a resounding success and a statement against the President's chances for reelection, it was also a scene of carnage.

The rights of the Children were stomped on, ripped, shredded and thrown into meat grinders. The children left the parade with a vile poison in their systems. They learned how to hate.

Enjoy The Lighter Side Of Protesting


Go To August 28-29 Story:
The Democracy Of Violence:
Terrorism On Your Doorstep
(view photos of 'dissent gone violent')

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