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April 26 2012

Seriously, Senator Gillibrand?

Lisa Schiffren

In the three years that she has been a U.S. Senator – since being appointed to finish Hillary Clinton’s term when Clinton became Secretary of State, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, (D N.Y.), has moved easily from her record as a centrist Congresswoman, to her current ranking (by the non-partisan National Journal), as America’s most liberal Senator.  

She achieved that rank, formerly held by then Senator Obama, after being one of only seven senators to vote to continue funding ACORN.  Since moving to the Senate, Gillibrand has never met a spending bill she didn’t love, or a tax she didn’t want to raise, or a contraceptive she didn’t want to hand out. Now, facing re-election to a full term of her own in November, she is also vying for the title of most frivolous Senator.

Just this week, we learned that Senator Gillibrand is putting her name and status behind the crucial-to-our-nation’s-wellbeing “Worldwide Day of Play.” Seriously.  With record high unemployment, averaging 12% in many upstate counties and 14% in the Bronx), increasing poverty, (21% according to the New York Times), and minimal business creation across New York State, Sen. Gillibrand thinks we need to play? Is she trying to be the face of the Nanny state?  As Wendy Long, a candidate in the GOP Senate primary to challenge Gillibrand in the fall noted,  "How out of touch can Senator Gillibrand get?  As New Yorkers struggle to find work, Kirsten Gillibrand wastes time sponsoring silly "Worldwide Day of Play." What New Yorkers need is jobs and economic growth, not Washington intruding into every detail of their lives. “

So, you’re wondering, what is the ‘World Wide Day of Play?’  It is exactly what it sounds like, only worse.  It’s a yearly promotional event, sponsored by the children’s TV network, Nickelodeon, intended to get TV addicted kids to turn off the set and go outside and play.  

In itself, that is not a bad goal, of course. As a mother of three teens who have phones, pods and laptops attached to their bodies all too often, I’m in favor of physical play out of doors.  Like most of the moms here at IWF, I believe it’s my responsibility, as a parent, to make sure my kids get exercise and fresh air.  And you know – troubling as our culture is, and addictive as screens are – it is within my power as a parent to set rules, create incentives and turn off TVs.  Senator Gillibrand has two young sons. They are the proper subjects for her parenting efforts.  The citizens of New York elect a Senator to deal with larger, more serious issues. 

Actually, the more you think about this event, the creepier it is:  A TV network aimed at children dictates an annual 3 hour period for children to turn off the TV, and attend events outside their homes, in which actors from TV shows featured on the network appear.  The corporate media that works to sell stuff to young children tells them when they can turn off the TV and go out – but wants them to stay tethered to Nickelodeon. It’s bad enough that the First Lady, who is not elected, allowed her do-gooder “Let’s Move” initiative to be tied up with this corporate event.  It’s just odd that a U.S. Senator lacks the judgment to forego playing, when her constituents are in need of work.

Well, maybe it’s not so odd.  It turns out -- you knew this was coming – that Senator Gillibrand has accepted $10,000, so far, in campaign contributions from Viacom, the parent corporation for Nickelodeon.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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