Prop-a-palooza: The Use and Abuse of Kiddie Human Shields

photo credit: usembassynewdelhi

The president of the United States will release a binder full of new gun-control executive orders on Wednesday. Instead of standing alone, bearing full responsibility for the imperial actions he is about to take, President Obama will surround himself with an audience of kids who wrote to him after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. This is the most cynical in Beltway theatrical staging — a feckless attempt to invoke “For the Children” immunity by hiding behind them.

What has happened to the deliberative process in this country? Public debate in Washington has deteriorated into Sesame Street sing-a-longs. We are already inundated with logical fallacies: argumentum ad populum (it’s popular, therefore it’s true); argumentum ad nauseam (if you repeat it often enough, it’ll become truth); argumentum ad hominem (sabotage the person, sabotage the truth); and argumentum ad verecundiam (if my favorite authority says it’s true, it’s true).

To that list we can now add “argumentum ad filium”: If politicians appeal to the children, it’s unassailably good and true. The Obama White House has shamelessly employed this kiddie human shield strategy at every turn to blunt substantive criticism and dissent.

During the legislative battle that rammed the federal health care takeover through Capitol Hill and down our throats, President Obama and the Democrats piled up youth props around them like bunker sandbags. Nancy Pelosi wore babies like Wonder Woman bracelets, one on each arm, to deflect troublesome questions about costs and constitutional concerns.

Obamacare stage managers paraded 11-year-old Marcelas Owens of Washington state in front of the cameras to make the case for the half-trillion-dollar tax hike plan. The boy’s “qualifications”? Owens’ mother, Tiffany, had died of pulmonary hypertension at the age of 27. A single mother of three, she lost her job as a fast-food manager and lost her insurance. She received emergency care and treatment throughout her illness, but died in 2007.

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