Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Do Not Support Scaring The Children.

I grew up with fear. Fear instilled in me by the mistake I made sitting in front of the television the night The Day After played. OMG, everyone could just totally die! The '80s were big on that, I used to listen to Dancing With Tears In My Eyes and feel ill because, Midge Ure, he was going to blow up. No, dammit, it wasn't fair. Sting became my friend the second I heard that Russians song, and it was there, being exposed to the movies and songs about the fears of people who were out there living in the world but had the same fears as me that the seeds of my hippie peacenik non-proliferation beliefs were planted.

But twenty years down the line, I realize my fears, and the fear that was thrown at my mom's generation ("Get under your desks and kiss your ass goodbye, kids!"), are nothing compared to what kids have to look at now, because the idea that something bad is going to happen is everywhere.

Over my coffee cup today, during one of the cooking shows, after a reminder that kids need to sit in booster seats if they aren't 4'9" because they have a future, and they should ride into that future safely strapped into whatever monstrosity their parents drive, comes a PSA very much like the booster seat one. At first it was all, "Mom, what do I do if you're not there to pick me up from soccer?" and I think anti-drugs. "What if something happens?" okay, maybe it's an ad about not getting into cars with strangers. I'm all for that. But then creepy voiceover guy tells everyone to come up with a plan in the event of a terrorist strike.

It was the first time I'd seen this, and Paula Deen was back on eating whatever she'd cooked before the ad really hit me. These kids don't need a movie, they just have to be near a TV over the next few weeks and they'll see IT happened. IT could happen again. There's no one assuring them IT can't happen again. Cripes, no wonder everyone overeats and takes pills for nerves.

I feel bad for kids growing up now. Sure, they're kids and they'll figure it out and most of them will do a better job of it than I did--sooner, most likely--but it still makes me mad that somewhere, some kid is out in her backyard, looking at the sky, twitching and thinking she probably isn't going to live to the age of 13, because she has seen no proof that it's all going to be okay.

I never would have made it past the eyes in the jungle on the Ready Kids website, you know. The majority of the website has nothing to do with the terrars, though, it's basically the same as the ads that used to tell kids to have a plan for getting out of the house during a fire which...yeah, those were well-meaning. "Not now, you just get out of the house, that's all you need to do."

Did anybody else really ever do that? Because I think I'm the only person who had a bag packed ready to go if the house caught fire. I should update the underwear in there, the clothes are probably size 8, too.

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