I’m proud to share this great Optiem/Adcom created video. The message is right on. Please send it to your friends.

Last 5 posts by George Nemeth

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26 Responses to “To The Undecided: A Message About Voting”

  1. J Murray Says:

    George, exactly what is right on with having children speak lines written by and fed to them by adults, that support one particular point of view, as if the children had spontaneously thought up these ideas themselves? Is it that propaganda works? Or that kids are cute and can be manipulated to deliver messages that, if delivered by adults, would be received less favorably?

    This type of manipulation of innocent children is one of the things that is most wrong with advertising. You would be outraged if Republicans put up children talking about the wonders of economic growth and freedom through capitalism, or the need to reduce foreign oil by building more nuclear power plants and doing more offshore drilling. Not right on at all.

  2. Daniella Says:


    Wow! You are offended by manipulation? I thought it sounded plausible that kids may want grown ups to think of their future. I found this less offensive that having a would be VP say on national TV that global warming was like “a warm hug from God”

  3. Christine Borne Says:

    Using kids to convey messages about the future isn’t something that the political world has a monopoly on. Watch Sunday morning TV and you’ll see lots of kids being used to sell financial planning instruments and life insurance policies (with “the future” as their reasoning). And then there are the used car salesmen and the like, emblazoning pictures of their simply adorable, dimpled little grandchildren all over highway billboards….

    I personally think it’s irritating, no matter who’s doing it. But then again, I am extremely curmudgeonly. :)

  4. Ed Morrison Says:


    The use of children in advertising is nothing new, although this ad seems a little stilted to me. I would not go as far as you, though.

    Indeed, I would like to see political parties using young people to promote entrepreneurship and opportunity. One of most gratifying dimensions of my work at Purdue has been to introduce entrepreneurship programs to the high schools.

    This advertisement touches on more important message, however. In my view, our self-absorbed politics has generally lost sight of our responsibilities toward future generations.

    Take one example. As General Powell noted in his interview with Meet the Press this morning, too little attention has been paid to promoting the dramatic improvements in educational performance that we need.

    To the extent that this advertisement tries to lengthen our political view, it serves a good purpose.

  5. Ed Morrison Says:


    You might want to see how Ronald Reagan used children in his advertising.


  6. Ed Morrison Says:

    Of course, the classic use of children in political advertisements is the LBJ Daisy ad:


  7. J Murray Says:

    Nice of you all to defend the undefendable with the old “he did it first” argument, but it doesn’t change the unconscionability of brainwashing children to spout adult themes to tweak the old heart strings of adults who are presumed to be too stupid to educate themselves and make up their own minds. It doesn’t matter to me who’s doing it. I worked in the advertising industry early in my career, and left if for reasons like this….

  8. Daniella Says:

    This is an ad, no need to get all hyped up about it. You don’t like it, we got the message…now breathe and move on.

  9. Tom Z(ych) Says:

    Let’s switch to something uplifting, America at its best, from a real hero:

    “I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America. I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards — Purple Heart, Bronze Star — showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross; it didn’t have the Star of David; it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.”

    Time to get real, folks. J: you’re drifting off into the irrelevant zone, just like the McCain campaign. Work yourself into high dudgeon about trivialites like the ages of those appearing in ads. I’ll stick to what really matters, the future of the country we’ll be leaving to our children.

  10. J Murray Says:

    Tom, sorry, but I consider the brainwashing of our children to be very relevant. My children come home from school spouting tripe every day that is based on one group’s belief system about the future–just as I’m trying to teach them about the difference between scientific evidence and belief.

    There is no more important issue for the future and for our children than that they be taught to distinguish scientific evidence from political philosophy, and to dissect ads like this to understand that what underpins them is political philosophy, not fact or science.

  11. Derek Arnold Says:

    Hey Tom, I know that category…Things that Gen. Colin Powell would say!

    I thought that he was being thorough because he has relationships with both men, especially Sen. McCain. It’s sad that his endorsement has been reduced to a black man scratching another black man’s back.

    He shines some light on places that people from neither party wants to see. Though I am less than thrilled about his service in regards to the war, I think he’s an admirable, stand-up guy.

  12. Tom Z(ych) Says:

    “brainwashing” is just more hyperbole J. Can we have a more reasoned conversation?

    And, thanks, Derek. I, for one, have been waiting for someone to honestly address anti-Moslem bigotry in this country. God bless you, General Powell.

  13. J Murray Says:

    Tom, I’m just calling a thing what it is. That’s as reasoned as it gets.

  14. Phil Hussein Lane Says:

    J, you and I are boomers, the first generation that Madison Avenue reached through television. Remember the coonskin caps, first hawked through Davey Crockett, then Daniel Boone, same hat, same actor, Fess Parker.

    This was the beginning of what has become an allout bombardment of children’s senses to do the good business of the free market, reaching into their parent’s wallets. Surely you put no restrictions on this bastion of free enterprise. I am shocked that you are shocked by political propaganda using kids in this modern arena.

    When I was hiking last summer, I didn’t ask why thorny thickets obscured my path, I hacked through them to find the true path to a spectacular view.
    One of the encouraging trends I see in those youth who have the luxury of competent parenting is a sophisticaton concerning the interpretation of MSM data we boomers did not have. Teach them to read very early on, and they’ll learn to think.

    I heartily agree with your take on teacher’s unions, by the way. Unions seem at their best when they represent the underdog, like migrant workers. Professionals like teachers should have the ability to self organize, elect ethical administrators and hold members to standards, like engineers.

  15. John Ettorre Says:

    America’s kids are badly in need of a change in parties in the White House, and someone who will be serious about tackling real issues rather than a series of endless and idiotic distractions. Even most kids seem to understand this. Your defense of children is touching, but it would be significantly more meaningful if you espoused political views that actually suggested they–or any average Americans–really mattered.

  16. Daniella Says:

    Yes, children and women are often exploited in the media because sex and cute sells but if one is to get all righteous and preachy about it, one should follow the same philosophy and hold its own societal views to the same standards otherwise one could be seen as not only an opportunist but also an hypocrite.

    Good riposte from Christine, Ed, Derek, Tom, Phil and John :D

  17. J Murray Says:

    Phil, thanks. Thoughtful reply. I still don’t like the manipulation and propagandizing of children. They are minors under the law, after all.

    John, it’s people like you, who believe you know what is best for all of us and what is best for all children, who justify manipulating and progandizing children, against whom I am complaining. It’s you who is “badly in need of a change in parties in the White House.” What children need is two attentive parents living in the same house with them, providing them love, nurturing, and the good sense to see through your cynical manipulation of them for your own adult purposes.

    Daniella, in English, please.

  18. John Ettorre Says:

    As I’ve observed often, you’re a personally bright and genial guy, Jonathan, but your political views are so repugnant as to border on a low-grade form of fascism, where no one is supposed to look out for anyone beyond one’s immediate family, and every American is just kind of supposed to hang out there on a ledge by themselves. It’s an orientation that seems unspeakably cruel–and might I even say un-Judeo-Christian–to me. It’s not the kind of society I hope to leave to my children, or yours. At some point, I hope you can reconcile the tremendous cognitive dissonance that that dichotomy of personal and public views must cause you, if only subconsciously.

  19. Justin Balck Says:

    Too bad we will sully Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan’s sacrifice by running away from Iraq.

    Isn’t “infantry” derived from infant? It’s the kids who make the sacrifices that their elders squander and “change”.

  20. J Murray Says:

    John, you clearly don’t understand my political views, or you wouldn’t write you have written. I think you are reacting to your characterizations of my views, not the views themselves.

    I am opposed to totalitarianism of any kind, whether it is “fascism” from the right (a term that you blithely and recklessly throw around without, clearly, understanding what you are saying or to whom you are saying it) or socialism from the left. Each in its own way inhibits individual freedom, which is the basis for a just society.

    Government takes its rights from us, not the other way around. I think people sometimes forget that. Moreover, the U.S. is a democratic republic, with the republic portion specifically designed to prevent tyranny of the majority. Even if the majority votes your way this election, that does not grant government the right to abrogate private contracts or confiscate private property.

    Now, what was it in my previous post to which you objected and found to be bordering on fascism?

  21. John Ettorre Says:

    J, I guess what I was saying–and as imperfectly as always, though I didn’t use the word fascism lightly, and of course didn’t for a moment label you as a fascist–is that at some point, too pure a focus on individual freedoms ends up leading in practical terms to the opposite: a society of gated communities in which those with better education, higher income and wealth, better breaks, better genes, whatever, are withdrawing from the rest of the group and maintaining they have no obligations to their countrmen, who must fend for themselves. In a practical sense, it won’t really lead to the kind of society in which anyone feels truly free or safe, because the ever-widening disparities in both opportunity and outcome will be at war with the kind of relative calm and peacefulness we need to prosper.

    Your views very definitely speak on behalf of limiting the social safety net that can be the vehicle through which millions of people can have a better chance to improve themselves and their financial situation. So in that sense, the doctrinaire focus on maximum individual freedom at the expense of other priorities is at war with increasing opportunity.

  22. J Murray Says:

    John, I just don’t agree with your characterization of the choices facing us as a society. So let’s start there.

    For one, if you would take the time to purchase and read the book “Who Really Cares” you would see that the data are clear about who talks the talk and who walks the walk. Those people who generally are regarded to be on the right, who believe in free enterprise, hard work, faith, and family–those people you revile–give significantly more of their wealth and time to charitable and social causes than do those of the left, who believe in government doing that all and are stingy with their wealth and time. Interestingly enough, those on the left have as much wealth as those on the right, they just believe that government should take care of others and, by their actions, they walk away from personal responsibility.

    Regarding your incorrect use of Judeo-Christian values to judge my views (also an incorrect application of those same values) the data show that those on the right are doing what they are admonished to do by those values to much greater extent than those of the left.

    Yes, the book contains analyses of populations and, within each group, there are people who do not conform to type. Nevertheless, the data are clear.

    The author himself admits that he began his ten years of research believing that those of the left were more kind, compassionate, and giving to the needy than those of the right, and that he himself was of the left. After ten years of conducting high-quality, peer-reviewed research, after being challenged repeatedly by colleagues, after wanting not to believe what he was seeing, he could not escape the conclusion of the data: people on the left only talked the talk; people on the right walked the walk.

    So what did he do? What any reasonable, logical person does in the face of overwhelming data: He changed his views. Are you willing to do that?

  23. John Ettorre Says:

    Now we’re getting somewhere. I don’t recall you ever mentioning that book before, and I can’t say I’ve heard of it, so I will indeed check it out.

    But I hardly think the evidence all around us would bear out your suggestion that belief in hard work, faith, family and free enterprise only belong to those on the right. I think those notions are pretty broadly sprinkled throughout the population and political spectrum.

    As for your apparent belief that “data” necessarily trumps all other forms of evidence and accumulated observation, I can’t say I completely share that notion. I (and lots of other classically educated people) happen to come from the intellectual tradition that holds that philosophers, dramatists, writers, journalists and other close observers of the human condition and experience have at least an equal claim to valuable insights as those who practice the hard sciences. Besides, I’m struck by how your reliance on the scientific method is utterly lacking when it comes to, say, evidence about global warming.

  24. Tom Z(ych) Says:

    J: and John:

    I for one would strongly disagree that it is those on the “right” who are characterized by faith. It’s likr the false data about “values voters” in the 2004 election cycle. We in the progressive faith community, I hope, do not fall intoi the trap of saying that one has to agree with us politically to exhibit faith values in our political judgments, but the same mistake is made by some on the so-called evalngelical right. And, J. by your characterization of the rights as those who seem to exclusively posess values of “free enterprise, hard work, faith, and family” well that’s the same logic Sarah Palin uses to characterize the “pro-American parts of America.” Please leave your caricatures of those on the left (in this case by use of a false dichotomy) for the conservative echo chamber.

    The “Judeo-Christian” values of which you speak are not a monolithic or simple orthodoxy as you would present them. Within those “values” (and I would include the related values of Islam as well) is plenty of room for the type of ideological differences we present. On the left we think of Amos and Micah and Isaiah and the Beatitudes and the commands to hospitality and the assesment of nations and not just individuals. But that’s not to say that you reach different political conclusions from the same, or related, sources. It ain’t as simple as you make it out to be, my friend.

  25. Tom Z(ych) Says:

    a clarification:

    I disagree that those on the right are particulatly characterized by their faith. I didn’t mean to say that they are not.

  26. J Murray Says:

    Tom and John, the data in “Who Really Cares” are population statistics. That is, they distinguish between different populations–generally groups of people who self-identify–on a variety of axes. The book does not focus on individuals. I anticipated you, Tom, in my post to John on this point, but you apparently didn’t see, or understand, that paragraph.

    There is nothing “exclusive” in the data or in my post about it. There are individuals in one group who exhibit some of the values of the other. So, yes, you can be a “progressive” and a “Christian” as an individual, but the book focuses on population statistics. What the data, gathered over a decade by a researcher of stellar reputation, show is a clear separation between those who only talk the talk and those who really walk the walk, on a group basis. Read it for yourself.

    As to philosophers, artists, etc., John, I agree with you to a point. Close observers of the human condition can provide penetrating insight, but they can also mislead us by stereotyping, by drawing faulty conclusions, or by evoking emotional responses to exceptional circumstances while making them seem to be the norm.

    Indeed, one of the central techniques of art is to stimulate us from our torpor by shocking us with the exceptional. For instance, you see a lot more photographs of the impoverished and unemployed from the Depression than you do from the 80% of people who remained employed. Why do you think that is?

    (By the way, why also do you think the media is so delighted to compare every current economic circumstance with the “Great Depression.” Reporters seem almost gleeful at finding any evidence that supports this contention.)

    Where the technique of artists and philosophers becomes problematic, John, is when used as the basis for public policy. A weepy sick person goes on Capitol Hill and testifies before the cameras about their particular health care circumstance, and Congress in its desire to respond, placate the media, and be seen to be doing something enacts sweeping legislation that affects us all at high cost, with little concern for the significant unintended consequences.

    John, humans are fooled all the time by their senses and their experiences into believing that they have access to a broader understanding than they do. The scientific method enables us to distance ourselves from our own shortcomings and objectively test hypotheses. Often the results are counterintuitive.

    Two people who had profound insights into the human condition were Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. But if you test their theories in the real world, they were mostly wrong in the conclusions they drew. Yet they held many people in their sway, and still do.

    As to global warming, John, the computer models that are used to predict the future do not pass a central test of the scientific model: That you can conduct an experiment to test a hypothesis. Until then, it’s just a belief system. There are lots of data to support the concept, but are also lots of data that do not.