Political Terrorism Children's Bedrooms



Tuesday--October 29
, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 412
Political Terrorism Rages
In Children's Living Rooms

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, October 29 --Modern Political Terrorism started on March 14, 44BC.   For number crunchers, that was 2046 years ago.

Thumbs Down

       The date  hallmarks the bloody reign of Terrorism of politics.  It is fomented when power seekers publicly stick knives in their opponents' bellies, hearts, kidneys, groins, neck, groin and back.  Their goal: to cripple, maim and eviscerate any sense of humanity or morality in their opponent so spectators watching the Gladiators of Political Torture will shout, "Thumbs Down," gleefully ordering the death.  Death in the political arena means casting a vote for the winner and ignoring the most wounded.

         The first major public assassination of a political figure was Julius Caesar, March 14, 44BC.  His enemies stuck their knives into him so the blood of his death would not rest on one hand, but upon all.   Et tu, Brutus?   In the absence of television commercials, the stabbing of Caesar was held on the very public steps of the Senate, ancient Rome's way of televising the brutality of politics.

Stabbing of Julius Caesar

      The Senators of Rome would be honored their tradition of political backstabbing has survived over two millenniums.  Based on the current glut of horror-based political ads,  their legacy has survived and grows.   Watching the hoards of ads aired night and day as election day approaches makes Clive Barker's "Buckets of Blood" look like a Winnie The Poo story..
         Dirty, back-stabbing ads, invective rumors, accusations and innuendos have always been a seedy side of politics.  However, winning public opinion against one candidate over another seems, in the 21st Century,  to have regressed to vitriolic attacks on an individual's character, whether such "dirt" is true or not.    The strategy  is to Terrorize the public into "thinking" the "other guy" is worse than the "other worse guy."  It's the pots calling the kettles black.
          Who can sling the most mud today often decides a victor.  However, this mud is full of radioactivity and biochemicals.  Its purpose isn't just to beat an opponent, but more to cripple,  maim, blister and obliterate them.  It is "nuclear holocaust politics" at its best.   Sadly, its fallout infects the innocent.
          Innocent victims of the vitripution are are our kids, our children, grandchildren.  Our youth.   Our nubile embryos of  future equity.

        Television, the main diet of young people, is intrusive.   You can't shut a child's ears or eyes off when a nasty television ad tells the living room what a scum bag the current Senator, Mayor, or Governor is.   The ad's Terroristic nature is indiscriminate, not unlike the World Trade Center attack, its fallout kills anyone in sight--men, women, children.   Bombs don't have eyes.   They can't select whom they maim.  Not even "smart bombs."
           A child playing with his or her toys in the living room doesn't have a flack jacket to repel angry denouncements of a sitting governor accused of purposefully supporting the victimization of old people in nursing homes, or the implication that he is allied with the worst of criminals because he had lunch once with the crook's brother in law.  Name calling and accusations of disloyalty noxiously perfume the room.
          Political advertising these days is Slime Time.   The garbage is flung into the living rooms of millions of families, one attack after another, penetrating children's ears, forcing their innocence to wonder what kind of men and women lead their community, their state, their nation.   By all atmospheric fallout accounts, everyone who holds or seeks political leadership is a liar, a thief, a cheat--and no one can be trusted.  The odious radiation permeates a child's tenderness, hardens it.
         Our society worries about snipers Terrorizing our communities, al Qaeda's next target, and Iraq's threat of biochemical and nuclear weaponry, while simultaneously promoting the ugliest of all role modeling for our children--character assassination.   To "kill" someone, you don't need a bullet.

 Sometimes all you need is a sharp tongue and enough bile to drown them in.

        A child exposed to political ads learns that the road to success includes trouncing others' reputation.  They are being trained that back stabbing is the art of winning.  They learn how to lie with  a straight face.  They learn how justify the expression "all's fair in love, war and political gain."

       Parents who control what their children watch on television-- limiting violence consumption--often neglect to put dirty political advertising at the top of their "parental control" list.    Complacently, they don't hit the mute button when a political ad pops on screen.  The candidates don't seem to care either whether kids are watching.  They spend a full minute, sixty seconds, not on how they are going to make the world better, but on lambasting the corrupt nature of others they are running against, trying to make their horse white and the others as black as possible.  Politicians don't stop and think their ads are fostering in a child's malleable mind the righteousness of slander.  Neither do they consider what they are teaching a lesson in Terrorism, endorsing the philosophy that to "attack another's flaws" is better than to "promote ones honorable self."

         Personally, I'm not just sick of dirty political ads, I'm infuriated with them.   In New York City, the airways are clogged with the sewage of political character defilement.   I'm ashamed of those who are running, and angry that so many millions are being spent to degrade the others.    One state candidate just received an emergency $250 million from the Democratic Party to spend on television in a last desperate attempt to slime the sitting governor with accusations of disloyalty and mismanagement of the public's trust.
        Political television advertising started in 1952 and has grown into a Garden of Terror ever since. 

Daisy Ad girl

 Lyndon Johnson was famous for his "Daisy Ad" when he was fighting conservative and hawkish Barry Goldwater.  The Democrats put an ad on the air on showing a young girl counting daisy petals.  The peaceful scene gave way to one of a nuclear blast.   Goldwater threatened to sue Johnson for libel and the ads were stopped.
       But that lesson didn't cease the thirst to use Terror to win elections.

       Nixon's "dirty tricks" team smeared opponents, often with made-up information.
      And so it has gone until today, on the cusp of the Era of Vigilance, we wallow in the Era of Political Terrorism.
       As a society, we often wonder why there is little respect for government.  We worry why the laws aren't endorsed or supported by many of our fringe elements.  Our eyes turn agog when our children act out behaviors we can't understand, as though they were trained under some other set of standards than the ones we try to inculcate them with.  But, in many cases, they were trained.  By political Terrorists. 

  We forget our kids have grown up with a constant taste of ugliness shoveled into their minds every two or four years when primary or mid-term elections are held.  They see the mortal combat and watch the blood flow as political Gladiators frantically throw feces-tipped spears at every Achilles Heel they can find.
      If moral guidance comes from the top down, we're in deep trouble.  
      A child's mind absorbs everything.   The Terror of political messages is absorbed and stored just as the smile of Mickey Mouse is stored.   Only political Terrorism, as with all the dark sides of human experience, finds its way to the Cave of the Beast of Terror.   There, it offers nourishment to the Beast.   The Beast consumes it and tells the child:  "It's okay to attack others.  It's okay to smear another's reputation to gain power over them.  Look, the leaders do it.  You should too."   

      If one looks at political advertising as one would the inner working of John Mohammad's mind--the recently captured sniper alleged to have indiscriminately killed ten people at random and seriously wounding another three--there is only a fractional difference between his tactics and those of politicians seeking the public's vote through Terrorist Tactics.
       Both are snipers.  Both hunt down the most vulnerable part of their target and take aim to destroy that person.   Each does it with total disrespect to the target, and to all those surrounding the target.   The politician who is trying to win a voter by getting him or her to see the ugliness, doesn't care if a child is watching.  He or she doesn't blink an eye in thinking what impact such a horrible way of speaking against others has on a child's attitude.  It is not unlike two parents telling a child about all the things they don't like about the other parent.   All the child hears is ugliness.   And then the child is asked to chose, which one does he or she "love the most," mommy or daddy?

       Society has a duty to protect its children.  That duty begins with Vigilance.  Vigilance is about seeking more Courage than Fear in our daily activities, and more Conviction than Intimidation so that we may take the Right Actions rather than fall victim to Complacency--inaction.    

       By definition, Political Terrorism is all about placing Fear in the minds of the viewer that the opponent is a "bad guy" who will further corrupt any vote cast for him or her.   It seeks to Intimidate the viewer into believing the opponent is a "slime bag," and to vote for him or her is a vote for waste management.  And finally, and sadly, such attacks drive the potential voter to a state of Complacency, for when one is faced with voting for one "scum bag" versus another "scum bag," why vote at all?
       In the cross-fire of this Terrorism is the children of our society.  Their minds are sponges.  They soak it up.   They listen and store and, unless corrected, feed their Beast of Terror with the idea that "bad talk" must be "good talk" because everybody does it.

     A Parent of Vigilance has a couple of challenges to be faced.  One, is to look at Political Terrorism in the same light as Sniper or bin Laden or Hussein Terrorism.   The goal of the bullets being fired it to "kill indiscriminately."
      When a Parent of Vigilance can see the mud slinging from the television moving toward the child's heart and soul, entering through his or her ears and eyes, and burying itself deep in the child's psyche, a Parent of Vigilance must rally the Sentinels of Vigilance.
      It is time for action--Right Action.
      One tactic is to explain to a child the stupidity and wrongness of people attacking people.    Words can be bullets.   They can be hand grenades.   They can be land mines.   They can be biochemicals, poisoning the child's mind with wrong information.

     Telling your child what you think about Political Terrorism is a first step.   To protect a child from such ads damages, you can open a discussion about ethics.   There is no better backboard for the Truth than the presence of a Lie.
      Secondly, you can turn off the television when an ad comes on--which would mean you just turn it off period.   Or, if an ad creeps out, you talk about it. You correct the ugliness of attack and remind your child that isn't the right way to behave.   When the child questions you about why such important people do such things, you have to come up with an answer.   The answer is simple--they're selfish.   They will do whatever to get what they want.  And now you have a great forum to discuss the ethics of life with a child, and to remind a child that he or she must be the judge of "right" over "wrong," and not be influenced by anyone, no matter how "important" they might appear.  You teach the child to think in Vigilant ways, helping him or her keep up his or her guard from being swayed by opinion rather than fact, and when facts are presented, to question their authenticity.

      There is always a Vigilant side to Terrorism.  There are always lessons to be learned we can pass on to our children.  Political advertising is one of the most dominant at the moment, and most critical. 
        So, the next time a Political Terrorism ad comes on, ask your child what he or she thinks about what the people say.  I assure you your child has an opinion.   From that opinion you can launch a tremendous conversation on Vigilance.

       You can pull the Knives of Terror out of Caesar's back, and hold up the Shield of Vigilance so your child won't think there's any truth coming from the lips of your child's future leaders.


 Oct. 28--The Rap of Terror

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