Protesters and Their Children

By Kayla Day

For as long as I can remember, I have been taught about the Freedom of Speech and the right to Peaceful Protesting. However, today while walking back from the inaugural festivities, I noticed something that did not sit well with me: 7-year-olds protesting abortion rights.

I would like to point out that I have no problem with citizens exercising their right to protest their beliefs, but I do not believe they should involve their children who are too young to fully comprehend the topic they are protesting. I strongly believe that political education is something parents should teach their children, but there is a thin line between teaching and pushing your own beliefs on your children. This is a country founded on freedoms, and I think parents should allow their children to form political thoughts of their own and at their own pace.

I would also like to clarify that I don’t find anything wrong with parents teaching their own views to their children, that is fine with me. Again I refer to that thin line mentioned above.

One of my biggest issues in the political system today is a lack of compromise and open-mindedness. When parents teach their children about the government and issues in our society it would be more advantageous for the children if they were taught to respect everyone’s political beliefs; no matter how different other beliefs are from their own. During our class discussions, we have talked a lot about a lack of bi-partisanship within the political system and how it creates more tension than if people were more understanding of different beliefs and more open to compromise.

Politics is a difficult concept to grasp, and it does no good for children if they are not taught both ends of the political spectrum. I found it completely unnecessary for a child no older than seven to hold a poster exclaiming “Stop Abortion! Stop Obama” and displaying pictures of the abortion process. It amazes me how far some people will go to grab attention for their causes, and yes, using a kid is a way to grab attention, but it can also be inappropriate.

I encourage all of you to stand up for your beliefs through peaceful protests, but I do not encourage using children to get your message across.

– Kayla

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