[NOTE: The following is a template for how to script congressional testimony when invited to speak about online safety issues.]
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you inviting me here today to testify about the most important issue to me and everyone in this room: Our children.
There is nothing I care more about than the future of our children. Like Whitney Houston, “I believe the children are our future.”
Mr. Chairman, I remember with fondness the day my little Johnny and Jannie came into this world. They were my little miracles. Gifts from God, I say. At the moment of birth, my wife… oh, well, I could tell you all about it someday but suffice it to say it was a beautiful scene, with the exception of all the amniotic fluid and blood everywhere. I wept for days.
Today my kids are (mention ages of each) and they are the cutest little angels on God’s green Earth. (NOTE: At this point it would be useful for you to hold up a picture of your kids, preferably with them cuddling with cute stuffed animals, a kitten, or petting a pony as in the example below. Alternatively, use a picture taken at a major attraction located in the Chairman’s congressional district.)Notice the boy’s “USA Rocks” t-shirt. Very crucial.
So, let me be clear: I love my children. And I will do anything to keep them safe. I hope you will, too.
That’s why I am here today to testify in favor of H.R. 1776, “The Keep our Innocent Darlings Safe Act.” The “KIDS SAFE” bill is essential if we love our children and care about their future. It would take sensible steps to shield them from the many evils of the world around us, especially the dangerous villains who haunt the Internets.
Let me tell you about those evils fiends.
Predators are everywhere, I tell you. At any given second, their hands could reach right through the computer screen and abduct our kids. It could happen, I tell you. But we mustn’t allow it if we love our children. That’s why we ask you to support “CyberCop,” or proposal to have trained law enforcement officers who visit everyone’s home once a year just to see how everyone is doing and to warn the kiddies about the dangers of the Net.
Then there’s all the smut and nasty talk online. Who’s going to help me clean it up? If we love our children, we must. That’s why I hope you’ll support our new software tool, “CyberScrubber,” which will sanitize the Net and make it safe for our children. We’d like to see all ISPs forced to install this software once you’ve mandated our solution as the law of the land. We can make them a very generous deal for bulk installments.
And let’s not forget about the vilest wretches of them all: Advertisers! These nefarious scum are trying to do the unthinkable: Convince our kids to buy their products. We all know what happens next. Little Johnny and Jannie will put a gun to Mom and Dad’s head and force them to drive right to the store to buy whatever it is their innocent little eyes have seen online. There’s no stopping them once the commercial devil has corrupted their souls, I tell you! Thus, we propose a ban on online ads and jail time for any online company who tries to produce free websites that are powered by commercial messages.
Sure, some will say all this is a matter of personal and parental responsibility, but… (NOTE: At this point it is important to deflect any thought in the minds of the Committee that parental responsibility has a role to play here. Find a crafty way of telling the Committee that, in essence, parents are naïve dopes who don’t really know how to raise their own children or what’s in their best interest. Sure this contradicts your overall message that everybody loves and cares about their own kids, but remember: YOU care about them even more!)
I propose we give parents a helping hand. They can’t do it alone. Uncle Sam needs to sitting right beside them for the ride.
That’s why I favor the proposal in the KIDS SAFE Act to create a new federal Office of Humanity, Child Love, & Adolescent Protection (OH-CLAP).
OH-CLAP should be generously funded and fully staffed with trained child development experts and others like me who profess a profound passion for loving children. By spending billions of taxpayer dollars and regulating all online speech and commerce, we can prove to the world how much more we Americans love our children.
I beg you to not listen to those nattering nabobs of negativism who raise pesky questions about technical implementation, constitutional limitations, or fiscal constraints. Clearly, these people just don’t love the children.
Intentions are all that matter here. Neither our Constitution nor technical feasibility should stand in the way of us doing all in our power to protect the fragile, impressionable minds of our children.
In closing, let me again reiterate — as I have the previous four dozen times you have invited me here to testify — the importance of fully funding groups like mine that truly care about the children. Thanks to the tireless work and dedication of Congressmen ________ and ___________, my organization was able to secure another $90 million grant through an earmark in the latest Department of Defense authorization bill.
While we greatly appreciate this support, this is $10 million less than the $100 million we asked for as part of our “100 Million Ways to Love the Little Lads” crusade last year. Stated differently, children will feel $10 million dollars less loved this year because of this scandalous funding shortfall.
So, if this Congress really loves the children, we’d ask that you step up your support for us, and groups like ours—but mostly us—so that we can adequately protect our kids from various online evils. (NOTE: Consider mentioning predators again to close things out.)
For the sake of the children, the time to act is now!
Thank you, and God Bless the Children.
Attachment: Invitation to annual “Kids Love Fest” celebration where we will honor the latest “Loving Lawmaker of the Year” award winners.