I need to start off by saying that I am quite possibly one of your biggest fans. Ever. I loved you when you had your own talk show and your boundless love for Broadway has always pulled at my heart strings in all the right ways. And, of course, there was that stand-out performance in A League of Their Own, and the way you made The View into something I suspect it never even knew it could be, taking what was essentially a morning talk show for moms (with segments on whether or not it is "okay" to dress pets in costumes) and bringing the real hot topics of our day front and center. But mostly I revere you for the work you do for children; making the lives of kids in this country better in really important ways, like by personally taking the initiative to make for better early childhood education programs and by supplementing the removal of arts education for NYC public schools. Nor do you advocate on behalf of children's issues for the glory or the press (of which, frankly, I've seen very little). Until, well, yesterday.
Honestly Rosie? That picture of your daughter Vivi dressed as a child soldier went too far. Although I love your blog — it can be one of the most interesting and insightful sites on the internet — that photograph of Vivi cloaked in drab, grey-green camouflage with a scarf tied around her head and a "sash" of bullets was startling, to say the least. Despite what your rep said this morning, about the picture being the result of harmless fun, I can only imagine you posted it as some sort of political message, especially since you accompanied it with the following words as explanation: "A picture is worth a thousand posts." So which is it? Harmless fun or something larger? (Certainly you know that something this provocative is not just some memento-making from children at play: Your youngest daughter is clad in camouflage, staring wide-eyed into the camera and wrapped in bullets.) So I'll assume the latter, no matter your current public spin, and pose some questions. Was your point that there are child soldiers fighting in wars in less obviously unfortunate parts of the world than ours? If so, then there was no need to use your child to make a statement. You are fortunate to be the mother to a large family, with many healthy and happy children. Respect this, and do not use your own brood as a physicalized version of a parent telling a child to eat their dinner because there are children starving in _____ (fill in the blank with fashionably-impoverished country of your choosing). Or was the point that we need better gun control in this country? I hope not. I hope that you — one of the loudest, strongest, and in turn most necessary voices of gun control advocacy in this country — do not let your children play with toy guns. It's hypocritical: Sending both mixed messages to the children and the public. (I had always imagined your house to be a more idealized place: Your children aren't even permitted to watch television.) And it's exploitative: To make a child an unknowing partner in a very specific political message before that child is old enough to have the capability to form her own political ideas makes you no different than the manipulative, cynical right-wingers whom you revile.
Like I said earlier, Rosie, I've long admired you. And I — we — really could use some explanation on this one, and not in the form of some flippant statement to People magazine from your flak. Someone as articulate and as opinionated as you can do better; a lot better. So tell us: What did you mean to communicate by posting that picture? Tell us how exactly it came about. You've never been shy about expressing your thoughts and feelings before, especially not in regards to this war. I want to still believe that we stand together in speaking out for an end to violence and injustice — so tell me something that lets me continue to believe that's true. Because right now, you've lost my trust.