On Wednesday, I noticed I missed a call while I was in a meeting, so I checked my voicemail. It was from my 4-year-old's preschool/daycare. My daughter's class was on a field trip to the botanical center so I started to worry something bad had happened as the daycare employee identified herself in the message. I relaxed when she said she was checking in to let me know that the class had run into the Carly Fiorina presidential campaign. I thought, "Oh geez. But at least she's OK." Or so I thought.
The daycare chaperone said they were finished with their field trip itinerary and were about to leave the center when Fiorina came up and started talking to the kids. One of her team members asked if the children wanted to meet with a presidential candidate and they were swiftly escorted into a meeting room, away from the flowers my daughter was so excited to see. The daycare person ended the message with, "They're taking the kids into a meeting room. We're following. You may want to check the national news. I hope that's OK!"
By the time I received the message, I thought it was probably too late to say no, since just "meeting" a candidate shouldn't take very long. So, even though I was slightly annoyed that they weren't sticking to the itinerary, I thought she wouldn't be harmed by seeing a little bit about the political process. Man, was I wrong.
When I picked up my daughter from daycare, the owner told me how surprised she was that they met Fiorina and how chaotic it was when the kids were guided into the meeting room, with the daycare providers trailing behind. I got a funny feeling in my stomach when she described it because I thought, "Why did you allow the kids to be herded away?" But my daughter came up to me and started telling me about the purple tulips she saw, so I didn't say anything and just took her home.
It wasn't until I read articles online that night and the next morning that I realized what my daughter actually experienced. Fiorina had ushered her into an anti-abortion rally, sat her under a large poster of an unborn fetus, and talked about harvesting organs from aborted babies. Then an activist held up a scale model of a 4-month-old baby and said, as Fiorina looked on, "This is the face of abortion."
Um, what? I signed a permission slip for my daughter to see plants, not to be shown terrifying objects and images of dead babies!
I second what a fellow parent, Chris Beck, told The Guardian, "Taking them into a pro-life/abortion discussion [was] very poor taste and judgment. I would not want my 4-year-old going to that forum—he can't fully comprehend that stuff."
A Fiorina spokeswoman replied in an emailed statement to The Guardian: "We were happy that these children chose to come to Carly's event with their adult supervisor."
Here's the first issue: They didn't "choose" to go to her event; as in, I didn't choose for my daughter to participate, because I wouldn't. It's an adult topic that was discussed with mature images. Fiorina and her campaign had no right to just walk up to our kids and nonchalantly maneuver them into her hour-long rally. The fact she would exploit children that way shows her lack of "values."
Second issue: Why didn't one of the daycare chaperones stop it? I understand they didn't know what the meeting was about when they were all scooped up by Fiorina's campaign, but when they realized what was going on, they should have stopped it and removed the children.
Third issue: Why did the daycare workers let strangers just walk off with our kids, while they trailed behind?! The thought of my child being maneuvered elsewhere, away from the people I trusted to take care of her, is what scares me the most. The worrier in me gets nervous about the kids getting separated from the group on these trips anyway, and this didn't help!
I sent an email to the daycare owner expressing my dissatisfaction. She replied and sincerely apologized. But I have some thinking to do. Three wrongs do not make a right in this situation—far from it. I'm still sorting through my feelings regarding the daycare workers' actions. They showed poor judgment, but I know there was no malicious intent. I can't say the same for Carly Fiorina and her campaign.