Noble: Even Putin kisses babies
Kids have long been used as props in politics. Kissing babies is a timeworn campaign cliché meant to convey the nurturing, compassionate side of a candidate. This practice is not limited to the United States; even Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom no one would accuse of kindness or humanity, stages photo ops kissing pretty babies. A quick internet search reveals no shortage of politicians around the globe doing the same.
However, Republicans are unique for their penchant for posing with their other babies —firearms. GOP politicians from U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene to Ken Buck to Lauren Boebert demonstrate their right-wing bona fides by posing for the de rigueur gun photo, and score bonus points for taunting Democrats to “come and take it.”
Until recently, children posing with weapons was considered deplorable. Previously when children were photographed holding weapons, they were child soldiers or propaganda tools of terrorists, practices rightly condemned as barbaric.
Then in 2015, Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore posed with her family for their annual Christmas card armed to the teeth. Her grandson Jake held a Walther P22 pistol. The only good thing you can say about the photo is that the babies were not holding guns — they probably lacked the grip strength. Fiore is now running for governor of Nevada and under FBI investigation.
Recently, Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky released his Christmas card on Twitter, where his family posed with assault rifles. Beyond callous, Massie’s photo was posted just days after the deadly school shooting in Oxford, Michigan, which claimed the lives of four students. Celebrating death-machines at Christmas is the new Republican version of “the reason for the season.”
However, when Democrats bring up gun safety after yet another school shooting, (31 school shootings in 2021 resulting in 12 deaths and 53 injuries — but who’s counting), the right screeches “too soon.” Apparently for Republicans, it is always appropriate for children to pose with guns, but never the right time to address gun violence.
While Massie’s children appear to be teenagers, Boebert’s Christmas photo has her four boys, ages 7-14, posing with assault rifles. Perhaps she is unclear what is celebrated at Christmas: the birth of the prince of peace. It seems her worship begins and ends at the NRA.
Which brings me to erstwhile Eagle County school board candidate Heather Bergquist. In the run-up to the school board election, Bergquist backed off her weekly harangues at the Board of County Commissioner meetings, perhaps to dupe voters into thinking she was a reasonable candidate, as opposed to an extreme right-wing wolf in mommy-sheep’s clothing.
Fresh off her campaign defeat, Bergquist the firebrand is back in action, armed with pseudoscience and an uneducated understanding of U.S. history and government. And she has allies.
Bergquist’s compatriots consist of her four children. She erroneously instructed her 9-year-old son at a recent county meeting to claim that the Pledge of Allegiance states that “our country was founded under God, and Godly principals.” Bergquist is likely unaware, as is her son, that the pledge was written by socialist minister Francis Bellamy in 1892, a century after our nation was founded and that the phrase “under God” was only added during the Eisenhower administration during the Cold War in response to communism. Furthermore, the right hand over the heart was not the original posture when reciting the pledge. The original salute was so fetching it was adopted by the Third Reich.
If readers are disturbed that I have drawn Bergquist’s children into this column, be advised that she displayed no reluctance to trot them out before a public meeting that was both live-streamed and recorded.
Boebert’s provocative political message, meant to appeal to her supporters and goad detractors, denigrates the holiday season more than any Black Friday sale ever could.
Bergquist’s use of her children as props was no less cynical. Like a lot of people these days, she talks a lot about freedom but not about responsibility to her fellow citizens.
The messages of the holiday season speak to peace, joy, love and renewal. What could be more demonstrative of “peace on Earth, good will towards men” than getting vaccinated and wearing masks to protect everyone in the community from the third-leading cause of death in America?
Claire Noble can be found online at Claire Noble Writer on Facebook.