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Cartoon mocking Ted Cruz's young daughters is just plain mean

Avital Norman Nathman is a freelance writer whose work places a feminist lens on a variety of topics, including motherhood, maternal health, gender, and reproductive rights. Her work has been featured in Bitch magazine,,...

Newspaper making fun of a politician's little kids went too far

The Washington Post has deleted an editorial cartoon after receiving criticism that it unfairly went after Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz's two young girls.

The cartoon depicted the politician dressed as Santa, spinning a music box with "Cruz 2016," with two little leashed monkeys dressed up and dancing in front of him.

In addition to the many who called out the cartoon, Cruz himself fired back, tweeting at the Post:

Even if you would never in a million years ever vote for Ted Cruz to be anywhere near the White House, you have to admit he has a point here. Regardless of politics, kids of politicians (or celebrities) should be off-limits to the press. They are not fodder for op-eds or political cartoons. They are there because their parents are important and/or famous, but that's due to circumstance and not choice. It's unfair to drag them into the spotlight, especially if it's only to drag them down.

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This is not a partisan issue and both sides of the aisle are guilty for involving political offspring in their mudslinging. A GOP staffer slammed Malia and Sasha Obama at the annual Turkey Pardoning this year, telling them to "show a little class." Not okay. And who can forget the mean things people said about Chelsea Clinton when she was living at the White House. The teenage years are hard enough without journalists and anyone with a Twitter account chiming in.

It doesn't matter where your politics fall, bringing kids into the mix only to malign and mock them — whether through a tweet or a commissioned cartoon — is not OK. It's gross, to be honest, and a pretty low blow. So low, in fact, that here we are, defending Cruz.

In fact, ragging on kids, or even posting candid shots of them in general, has become a heated topic outside the political arena in Hollywood. Many celebrities have been extremely vocal about protecting their children from the paparazzi and including them in candid, non-planned shots. Actor Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell have been particularly vocal in support of a California Senate bill that makes it illegal for people to photograph children due to their parents' employment.

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We get that it's easy or "fun" (if your idea of being fun is acting like a horrible human being) to bring the kids into the equation, but it's simply not the right thing to do. Not to celebrities and not to politicians. And yes, that even extends to "politicians" like Donald Trump.

In fact, it extends to everyone, really — even us regular, old people. There is never any need to bring kids into it because you disagree with their parent. Keep it among the grown-ups, because you'll be the one looking like the joke if you decide to mock somebody's kid on Facebook or other social media.

Look, if you want to mock Ted Cruz, do so because he is a crusader against reproductive rights, or because he opposes marriage equality, or because he supports the death penalty, or because he's voted against protecting the environment or because he's unwilling to look at reasonable gun control measures. There's simply no reason to bring his children into it. At all.

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