Well, I’ve learned my lesson. If I try to show some restraint, I inevitably allow a festering resentment to continue to – well – fester. So let be more direct and say it for the last time.
The first Clinton “sleeping children” ad crossed a line.
I detest the use of children in any advertisement or media content to foster or encourage fear. Children face so many less-visible and legitimate threats — everything from reckless drivers to substandard schools to hunger to racism and sexism — that to even give the impression that your opponent is a threat to the safety of sleeping children is ridiculous. Check out Joel Best’s brilliant “Threatened Children” for the history of how fear and children have been a volatile and incendiary mix in American culture.
And that’s what I think was in that ad. If you show children sleeping in a dark, creepy room, you imply – on some level — that someone is coming who will scare them or wake then up or hurt them. Just look at that ad and see the worried face of the mother who checks to see if they are alright.
I know how flacks defend ads like this: “The ad was not intended to scare anyone but to call attention to the differences in experience between the candidates. Crises do occur and the voters blah blah blah blah blah and another blah.
If you want to bring kids up, show us how you are going to treasure them and nurture them with sound public policy, not how your presidency will keep creepy people out of their bedrooms.