Monday, September 25, 2017

A rebuttal to those who questioned my parenting skills

Over the past four days, I have taken A LOT of heat online for allowing my 11-year-old daughter to perform on stage with Roger Waters.

For the uninitiated, Roger Waters, rock ‘n’ roll royalty, runs a tad liberal. His new album is unabashedly anti-Trump, as is his current tour. The set includes a few of the more political cuts from his latest release and some stark anti-Trump imagery (e.g., a giant pig floating around the arena bearing Trump’s face).

He is also anti-Israel, an active endorser of the BDS movement. BDS stands for “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions”. It is a Palestinian-led movement calling for international pressure to compel Israel to recognize a Palestinian homeland. 

These two ideologies (anti-Trump and anti-Israel) are no doubt divisive. 

For these reasons, many over the past few days have questioned my parental skills, parental decision making, and overall parental fitness.
  • “They were taken advantage of. Shame on the parents of these kids for allowing it to happen.”
  • “Please consider who you are helping before you give your kids the ‘experience’ of their lives.”
  • “It is sad that he uses these impressionable young children to advance his twisted political agenda.”
As a wise man reminded me over the weekend, “Haters gonna hate.” Indeed.

Nevertheless, I am choosing to use my space to offer a rebuttal. Tomorrow, back to employment law; I promise.

Dear haters:

As the “shameful” parent who “allowed this to happen,” I could not be happier that I gave my daughter the “experience of a lifetime.” She does not know from, or care one wit about, the politics of Roger Waters, or of the centuries of land grabs, distrust, and wars that have led to the current divide between Israel and Palestine. She is 11. She has plenty of time to grow up, learn about these issues, and form her own opinions. Indeed, I hope that she does.

Here is what she does know. Roger Waters is famous. Really, really famous. He was once with a band called Pink Floyd. They’ve written and performed some of rock’s all-time great albums. He is enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. And, on Thursday, he asked for her and her friends to join him on stage to perform his most famous song, “Another Brick in the Wall.” She was thrilled.

Here is what she did. She went backstage. She explained to the security personnel who searched her purse that the baggie of white powder she carries is dextrose, which she uses medicinally to counteract her fructose malabsorption. She rehearsed on stage with a rock legend, and watched him sarcastically scold one of her bandmates for missing his mark. She ate a great catered meal prepared by a rock legend’s personal chef (dextrose included). She and her friends performed in front of 20,000 people. And she, and they, killed. She went backstage again, where she posed for a few pictures, received a signed autograph, and got to keep the shirt she was given to wear on stage. She reports that he could not have been more kind or gracious. She walked through the arena’s concourse to meet me, and received cheers and applause from all she passed. She was beaming.

That is what she knows, and that is what she did.

She’s 11. She knows rock ‘n’ roll and making people smile. And last Thursday night, she did both in spades.

She is neither a pawn nor a shill. She is my daughter, and I could not be more proud of her or the person she is.

And, before you accuse me of allowing my daughter to be used as a political pawn, what exactly is it that you are doing when you question my parenting decisions? Which one of us is shameful and twisted? Dad, who supports my daughter and the art that she loves, or you, who chooses to impart the weight of the political world on the shoulders of an 11 year old who neither asked for it nor understands it?

Thanks for reading. Rock on.