So much for Easter joy. The Washington Post today publicized how liberals and leftists will use Monday’s traditional White House Easter Egg Roll as another excuse for politicized protest. Sprawled across the top of Friday’s Metro section was a story headlined "The Family-Friendly Easter Bomb Hunt."
Reporter Sue Anne Pressley Montes explained that across the street from the president’s home, children will look for fake cluster-bombs and learn of the evil America does by manufacturing cluster bombs. The story carried all the typical marks of a lightly reworked press release. There were no liberal labels in the story for the "peace groups" assembling, and no conservatives were quoted for balance. There was a reference to "right-wing" Internet threats. The story began:
Seven-year-old Alvin Mitchell worked intently yesterday on what looked to be a blue balloon wrapped around a tennis ball. It was a fake version of a cluster bomb, and the real thing, he pronounced, can "blow you up and kill you."
The fake bombs Alvin and a dozen other children were making at a peace workshop will be put to use Monday in Lafayette Square. As hundreds attend the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn, a smaller group will gather at the park on the north side for what is being billed as a "family-friendly Easter cluster-bomb hunt."
So not only are there homosexual parent activists turning the Egg Roll into a politicized event, there's another politicized event for children just outside the White House gates. Who sponsored this protest? Montes explained it was a "human rights group" called the Vineeta Foundation. (Their official event page is here, complete with fake White House website imagery.) They thought this event would be a light-hearted teach-in for children that Americans kill children in other countries without much thought:
"Obviously, we're trying to spoof a little bit what will be happening on the South Lawn," said Brian Hennessey of the Vineeta Foundation, a local human rights group founded in 1995 that is the lead sponsor of the cluster-bomb hunt. "We're not trying to hit kids over the head with this; we want them to have fun. We also want to bring attention to the fact that our munitions cause a lot of death and destruction to civilians, especially children."
The "human rights group" spokesman stayed with the fun-about-evil theme as the story continued into the alleged "right-wing" threats:
Hennessey acknowledged that the cluster-bomb hunt invites criticism from some areas. He said he has reported "threats of violence," found on a right-wing Web site, to the U.S. Park Police.
"This is supposed to be funny," he said about the hunt. "We're not trying to be confrontational. We're not going to be in anyone's face. People are welcome to reject what we say or think about it."
He said he has read a few comments from people wondering if it is right to expose children to thoughts of bombings and death when all they are after is a pleasant holiday experience. "I think a more important question is whether we should be exposing other people's children to these bombs," he said.
When other "peace groups" joined up with the Vineetans, they also drew no liberal or leftist label. As the story unfolded, it became clear the adults were organizing for just another protest against those neocon war hawks and their phony threats of terrorism:
Hennessey said he got the idea for the Easter hunt at the March 17 antiwar rally at the Pentagon. As he stood on the stage and looked out at hundreds of like-minded protesters, "I realized we were preaching to the choir," he said.
He set about to organize the Lafayette Square event, hoping to draw participants from the 40,000 people the Park Service estimates will be in the immediate area Monday. Other peace groups, such as Code Pink and the Coalition for Justice and Accountability, came onboard.
"When you look at the message of Easter, it's about life and love and peace," said Linda Schade, executive director of Voters for Peace, another co-sponsor. "We're trying to emphasize how our actions are not in step with our values."
The event, which runs from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., the same hours as the White House Easter Egg Roll, will include a search for weapons of mass destruction for the adults. "They'll all come back looking confused five minutes later, saying they couldn't find anything," Hennessey said.
Another search, for Osama bin Laden, will turn up only photographs of Saddam Hussein, he said. A hulk of a large bomb will be filled with toy bombs, and a prize will be given to whoever guesses the number inside.
The Boston Globe picked up the Post story, and also soft-pedaled the left in the subheadline: "Rights groups look to raise awareness." Could there be a more generic summary of left-wing activism?
Montes explained the event could build momentum for a bill by liberal Sens. Patrick Leahy and Dianne Feinstein to ban the use of American-made cluster bombs in civilian areas. Banning cluster bombs is a popular cause for global peaceniks.