Last week, I sheepishly shared that Dean’s methods and tactics, as promoted by Democracy For America, reminded me of Hitler Youth. I didn’t have anything to go on and was being a bit flip, but I’d gotten a creepy feeling when I realized the roots of how, when, and where we were written off by the Democratic Party. Additionally, I was alarmed to see the ruthless bashing of Democratic candidates who were running in districts where DFA was supporting a different candidate.
Well, boys and girls, I’m either fairly intuitive — actually, I am — or have a good sniffer — which I do — because today I learned that Barack Obama’s website invites kids to join Kids For Obama. You can look at this from a couple of angles: It could be a good way for kids to get involved, to learn, and get excited about government and the political process. But are they really learning those things, or is it a cult of personality where kids can “help” their parents decide? Is it indoctrination? Am I overreacting? You decide. From BarackObama dot com website, under People: Kids:
Do you feel like you want to get involved in the political process but you don’t know how? Do you feel like there’s something important coming up in the Presidential elections? Get involved in KIDS FOR OBAMA! Studies have shown that kids can affect their parents and their siblings’ opinions and even change the opinions of older family members . . . including those of voting age. Are you still with me? Great, Let’s get started! (emphasis, mine. WTF?)
Hitler also involved kids in his movement. Excerpted from “History of the Swastika,” Holocaust Encyclopedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
“Hitler was a firm believer in the need to indoctrinate Nazi ideology early and the power of young people in ensuring the continued vitality of the ‘Thousand Year Reich.’
Photo: USHMM, courtesy of Bob Reed
“Young German women were indoctrinated with the values of obedience, duty, self-sacrifice, discipline and physical self-control. The goal of girls in the BDM was to prepare women for motherhood and raise children who would be educated in the ways of National Socialism. They were indoctrinated with “racial pride” and told to avoid any contact with Jews.
“During World War II, the girls of the BDM played a significant role in the ideological and propaganda side. The girls division of Hitler Youth was much more ideological then the boys. Sometimes estranged from their families, the girls would become their family’s ideological guides and guards.”
Group portrait of German girls posing outside their school in front of a Nazi flag, 1935 — USHMM
Remember when your parents used to tell you, “Just because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t mean that you have to” . . . or . . . “doesn’t make it right”? Didn’t you used to hate that? I finally get it. Look at all those kids and all the people in the stadium, as they’re joined together in something exciting and worthwhile. Something they could believe in. There certainly were a lot of them. Was it right?
At a rally, members of the Hitler Youth parade in the formation of a swastika to honor the Unknown Soldier. Germany, August 27, 1933. — Wide World Photo
“In the beginning of the twentieth century the swastika was widely used in Europe. It had numerous meanings, the most common being a symbol of good luck and auspiciousness.
“The Nazi party, however, was not the only party to use the swastika in Germany. After World War I, a number of far-right nationalist movements adopted the swastika. As a symbol, it became associated with the idea of a racially “pure” state. By the time the Nazis gained control of Germany, the connotations of the swastika had forever changed.
“The swastika would become the most recognizable icon of Nazi propaganda, appearing on the flag referred to by Hitler in Mein Kampf as well as on election posters, arm bands, medallions, and badges for military and other organizations. A potent symbol intended to elicit pride among Aryans, the swastika also struck terror into Jews and others deemed enemies of Nazi Germany.”
From BarackObama dot com, People, Kids:
Obama for America Recruits Kids
In the words of Senator Barack Obama, the “Obama for America Campaign is a different type of campaign”. For the first time in campaign history, children ages 12 and under have a place to go and actually vote—through their voice. What a great way to be introduced to politics and to express your support for Senator Obama. Check out the Kids for Obama Starter Kit! (bolds and above links, mine)
Below you will find a list of activities children 12 and under can do to get involved. To start, print out our Logo Coloring Sheet, color it in and display at your house or in your school.
Ten Ways Kids For Obama Can Get Involved:
- Create a Kids for Obama Group on My.Barackobama.com. For example, Chicago Kids for Obama or DC Kids for Obama and throw a party!
- Write a letter or editorial to your local news paper, expressing “Why Barack Obama should become the next US President”.
- Find a Pen Pal – it could be in your school, city, state, or another state. Write and discuss different ways you can get involved.
- Draw a picture of Senator Barack Obama or “an expression of Democracy”. For example, the Senator sitting in the White House or working on Capitol. Hill. You can send your drawing to the Obama for America Campaign Headquarters in Chicago and it will be posted for the Senator to see.
- Implement T-Shirt Thursday. Get friends to wear an official Obama for America T-Shirt to school.
- Take an adult (voting age) to the polls on Election Day and encourage them to vote for you, by voting for Senator Obama.
- Post an official Obama for America Campaign sticker/logo on your school bag.
- Wear an Obama for America Campaign button and/or clothing
- Host a Senator Barack Obama House Party or sleep-over!
- Contribute to the Kids for Obama Blog.
Date: 1933 Locale: Nuremberg, [Bavaria] Germany
Credit: USHMM, courtesy of William O. McWorkman
Dear Aunt Lady Boomer NYC,
I’m writing to you from Camp Obamaland, where I’m a counselor this summer. We’re building the future electorate, and for now we’re making sure that our parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and family friends all vote for Rocky Obama. We’re having fun-raisers, and I’m helping the kids write letters to their families and friends.
To my Family and Friends who vote: I’m so happy to raise the change for hope we can believe in! Just so you know, we’ll make sure you get to the polls to vote for Obama. And if you don’t, we’ll let others know. Don’t worry, we’ll look out for you, and I’ll stay in touch to make sure you’re taken care of. We know he’s the one, and if you vote for him, all the kids will be part of the change.
To my Friends: It’s so much fun here at Camp Obamaland! We have parties and sleepovers. We write cool letters to the editors of our local newspaper. We draw pictures of Barack Obama and send them to him like he asked us to. We wear his t-shirts, buttons, and stickers, and get our friends to wear them, too. Coloring for Obama is cool! You learn the colors: red, white and blue, and how to stay inside the lines without messing up. We can be a core group, just you and me. Not them, just us. We don’t like them. You don’t want to be left out, right? It’s so fun.
My fantasy mail is dwarfed by the real thing.
What do you think about Kids for Obama?