Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Youth Vote

Who said the kids are all progressive? Seven years ago or so -- yeah, I remember it had to be when the country was united and frighteningly patriotic -- I was meeting my friend and her little one-year-old daughter for lunch. My friend got out of the car with those knit brows that say "mommy's upset."

We were seated at a table, and I didn't have to ask "what's wrong" because my friend just blurted it all out. She's like that. It seems sweet little Grace, while strapped into her car seat, was pointing at other cars on the road and saying "Fag! Fag!"

Of course I was shocked, but before I could ask questions, my friend explained in hushed tones (so the tot on her lap wouldn't hear I suppose) that her parents babysat Grace over the weekend, and in those two days her conservative father must have taught the child how to recognize homosexuals!

Uh... really? Well, later that night we had a follow-up phone conversation. My friend had confronted her father (that must have been an awkward inquisition) and found out little Grace was saying "Flag! Flag!" Of course! It was 2002 and everybody had an American flag on their car. What we thought was a lesson in bigotry was really just a lesson in civics.

But this wasn't Grace's last foray into politics. Three years later, at the tender age of four, she informed me she didn't want to be friends with one of the neighborhood kids because the parent's car had a John Kerry bumper sticker. Nice. Grandpa was still doing his own homeschooling it seemed.

But I'm not sure "schooling" is the right word. Children at that young age are masters of mimicry (if video doesn't show, click here).

That's 13-year-old Jonathan Krohn at CPAC. He's written a book on conservatism and starred on Broadway. He's a master of dramatic gestures, public speaking, empty words, and the failed Republican talking points. If you think for even one hot second that he understands conservatism, then here's one sobering thought: he would love to see Sarah Palin become president. Sarah Palin, Jonathan Krohn and Joe the Plumber are the trinity of the Republican party. God help us all.

Jon Stewart told me that I can't make fun of 13-year-olds. But in general terms, I must say I cannot tolerate a child that has the poise, stylings and vocabulary of an adult. It's abnormal and creepy, and listening to such a creature is like nails on a chalkboard. In other words, Jonathan Krohn reminds me of Dakota Fanning.

Why can't adults let kids be kids? Don't thrust your failed dreams and aspirations on them. Let them play, make friends, and find life on their own path. They have this tiny slice of time to be a child, and many decades to be a boring blowhard... It takes decades to become a boring blowhard!

Maybe that's what Republicans like about Jonathan. He's young, and for his entire cognizant life Bush was president. A functioning government is like an Aesop fable his parents assured him wasn't real. So during these difficult times, a child is the Republican's savior and symbol for their party.

I need to have another lunch with Grace. She's almost nine now, and I'm sure she can tell me if Jonathan is winning the youth vote or if he just has cooties.

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