Children Are Not Pawns To Use In Political Battles

Rachael Maughan, Associate Editor

In chess, the pawns are on the frontlines of the game. They are used and sacrificed to forge a path so the more powerful pieces can succeed undetected.

This perfectly mirrors the ongoing tragedy of parents exploiting their children to win political battles. Children are thought of as innocent. Because of this, they are the perfect face of any company, person, etc. with an agenda (whether you agree with it or not). This is a tactic used by all sides, in a myriad of ways. 

This happened a lot in the past tumultuous year. While there are many examples of this in different events, let’s focus on a big one: COVID-19 and masks.

This is the gist of both pro and anti masks:

[Full disclosure, I believe that masks are important and should be worn as a common decency as many are not vaccinated yet. When the majority has been vaccinated, individuals should wear them if they don’t feel well, which is a general practice in other countries and cultures.]

Pro – COVID-19 is highly contagious, and with the number of people claiming it was a hoax, the mask mandate was the one thing that applied to everyone no matter what. If you have extenuating circumstances, you probably shouldn’t have been out during a global pandemic in the first place. Even if you don’t agree, there are things that people do and don’t do to make others around them comfortable and uncomfortable. For all you know, the person next to you may be immunocompromised, have family members who are at risk, or have nothing at all. It’s called public decency. Masks during a global pandemic that caused mass panic doesn’t seem too difficult. 

Anti – Others in the community don’t feel the same. They see masks and the “no mask no service” signs in nearly every building as an infringement of their personal rights. They claim that there are medical issues caused by wearing masks, such as impaired breathing, and should be an exception. This reason is more logical to me, but exceptions are already in place for those that have a physical disability that prevents a person from removing a mask themselves, severe skin conditions irritated by masks, facial deformities, or if it causes deep distress. Many have also said they feel negative emotions, like feeling weak or uncool, when wearing a mask. Most of the science is distorted and widely shared, causing misinformation. The most ridiculous reason, however, is that COVID-19 is a government conspiracy to control the masses. These reasons have been debunked by countless scientists and doctors.

There were many protests and demonstrations from all sides. One that was protesting the school district leaders and Highland was the See Our Smiles campaign. They continuously push that requiring masks harms children, which is blatantly false, and that it is inhumane. Most children don’t care though, and are willing to wear them according to surveys. Three year olds have been throwing less tantrums over required masks than adults that oppose them, no matter the reason, in stores like Costco. So, is it really for the children, or is it for the selfish, tantrum throwing adults?

Children are not pawns to be used as the face of a campaign that most of them don’t even believe in or support. On the off chance that they do support it, most know how to pick their battles, and it’s not this one.

We have reached a point in our society that is shameful. Don’t hide behind “It’s for the children, about the children, and focused on the children.” We all know how quickly the narrative fails when it has little to no evidence to back it.