Tuesday--October 29, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 412
Political Terrorism Rages
In Children's Living Rooms
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
28--The Rap of Terror
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