- - Wednesday, March 6, 2019

As Scripture puts it, suffer not the little children. Unless, of course, they can be weaponized for political gain.

In the victimhood derby of our highly charged political environment, the Nickelodeon set has been the final frontier. Although the education system has long indoctrinated kids in progressivism, they are now being turned into guided missiles for hyper-ambitious leftists.

Children are relatively new pawns in the left’s long game. For decades, kids have been sent into literal and metaphorical battle by dangerous regimes and movements, such as the Nazis, the Iranians, the Imperial Japanese, the communists and Islamic terror groups like al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas and the PLO. In America, however, children have been largely considered off-limits for political activism, even as political combatants often invoked “the children” to argue future stakes.

But kids are now pushed front and center, armed with scripted talking points and coached by adults to agitate for “change.” Their targets cannot forcefully defend themselves, because the activists are, after all, mere children (which is, of course, the tactical point.)

Tragically, using kids as the tip of a political spear in this way is a distinct form of child abuse.

Examples abound, the most recent of which occurred recently when Sen. Dianne Feinstein was confronted by a group of tweens from the Sunshine Movement, which describes itself on Twitter as “building an army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.” In other words: Indoctrination.

The little mob of half-pints was accompanied by a few adults, who egged them on as they challenged Ms. Feinstein to vote yes on the Green New Deal, originally proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), herself just barely out of school.

Ms. Feinstein calmly and thoughtfully interacted with them, despite their relentless — and clearly scripted — browbeating. Refusing to be bullied, Ms. Feinstein schooled the tots and their minders in how government (and the real world) actually work.

Her basic civics lesson didn’t go over well with the radicals. The Sunshine Movement released a two-minute video of its staged scene with a tweet that claimed she reacted with “smugness and disrespect.” However, longer video footage showed Sen. Feinstein patiently engaging on substance, indicating that she might vote yes and even offering one of the kids an internship. Yet, the radicals used the children to set her up as some sort of pathologically rude Green New Deal obstructionist. All they cared about was rolling tape on the exchange and turning a bunch of kids into little AOCs.

After another abbreviated video seemed to suggest that students from Covington Catholic High School attending the March for Life angrily confronted an elderly Native American activist, a massive political and media pile-on the boys ensued. Their critics assumed that because they were wearing Make America Great Again hats, they must luxuriate in bigotry and white privilege. They (and by extension, all Trump supporters) were pounded relentlessly for days, even after a longer video appeared to vindicate them. One of the boys has filed a $250 million lawsuit against The Washington Post for smearing his name, but the damage by the left has already been done.

Last fall, following the confirmation vote of Justice Brett Kavanaugh after a pitched battle over unsubstantiated allegations, a mother took up residence in a Senate office hallway with her two small children. When Sen. Bill Cassidy emerged, she confronted him over his yes vote: “Senator Cassidy, can you please apologize to my children for ruining their futures?” He replied directly to them: “Hey guess what? I know your parents are using you as tools. In the future, if someone makes an allegation against you and there’s no proof for it, you’ll be OK.” At least those kids had one responsible parental figure in that hallway that day.

And following the 2018 mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school, a number of survivors became student activists for stricter gun control and as a result, became instant media stars. The leftist press and politicians leveraged the kids’ trauma to advance their anti-Second Amendment agenda and then once the story had run its course, forgot their names.

Obviously, some children are older and more equipped to form their own opinions and deal with the spotlight, but they’re all legal minors. Exploitation is exploitation. If a society is to be judged on how it treats its most vulnerable, then the left is failing miserably, even criminally.

Consider the most devastating example of all: Senate Democrats, following the example of Govs. Ralph Northam and Andrew Cuomo, killed a bill that would have required medical care be provided to babies born alive after surviving an abortion. Those babies are the ultimate leftist trophy: used for political purposes right out of the womb and then destroyed on the spot.

The left appears to have no problem manipulating children’s lives (and even deaths) to march their agenda forward. Get ‘em young, and keep the revolution going in perpetuity.

• Monica Crowley is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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