our children

Our Children are a rhetorical device. That means they’re not actual children — they’re an idea. Our Children represent innocence, helplessness, potential — a precious resource that must be protected at all costs.

Politicians, religious leaders, and other authority figures often express great concern for Our Children when they are trying to convince adults to do things. Think of Our Children. Do it for Our Children.

Even if you don’t think this expression’s only purpose is to make parents associate the love they feel for their children with whatever social or political position the speaker holds, you might notice a few strange things about it.

First, the word “our.” I don’t think I need to say anything else about that. Next, the implication that children are not tougher than adults (no matter how hard you think your life is, it’s easier than being, under the best possible circumstances, twelve years old. Also, children curse like sailors when you’re not around).

Finally, there’s the small matter of whether the thing the speaker is proposing will actually improve the lives of any people, big or small.