When did we start thinking it’s a good idea to let kids lecture adults about politics?
America’s preteen set is starting to lift their voices on a variety of subjects they have no business discussing — and it’s a problem on the left and the right.
The left loves using kids as props to try to embarrass prominent Republicans with gotcha questions. Wisconsin Governor and Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker is a particular favorite of these adorable activists. Last month, a 13-year-old daughter of illegal immigrants tearfully asked why Walker wanted to deport her parents.
During this year’s abnormally chilly March, a seven-year-old boy demanded to know whether the Wisconsin governor “even care[s] about climate change.” Walker did his best to handle his pint-sized inquisitor, but liberals thought the ridiculous encounter made the politician “crash and burn” to their gleeful delight.
On the other hand, the right prefers its conservative tykes to be pretend pundits rather than heart-tugging activists. The most famous example is Jonathan Krohn. At age 13, Krohn skyrocketed to fame with a self-published book on conservative principles and was a keynote speaker at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference. He followed up with another book in 2010 before deciding he was no longer a conservative in 2011 at the age of 15. That switch prompted outrage from his former conservative supporters.
But Krohn now has a successor to the right-wing teenage pundit throne. Thirteen-year-old C.J. Pearson shot to fame this year thanks to one lone YouTube video. The video showcased the then-12-year-old slamming the policies of Barack Obama. Conservatives soon fell head over heels for Pearson. The newly-christened pundit has gained such prominence that his endorsement of Ted Cruz for president — a reversal of his earlier support for Rand Paul — received coverage from some right-leaning outlets.
Pearson’s political ramblings — the opinions of a 13-year-old with a popular YouTube video — even prompted a backlash from libertarians.
The right’s fondness for 13-year-old political pundits is ultimately harmless, but it makes the whole conservative movement look dumb when they make a kid who just started puberty one of their intellectual heavyweights. It makes it even more embarrassing when these kids completely change their opinions, and then grown men and women get upset at teenagers acting like teenagers.
The left uses little kids as props, which is atrocious, but at least the left is smart enough not to let minors become publicists for their cause.
The very worst examples of prepubescent activism comes from the left-wing group FCKH8. The group likes to pair fully-coached, foul-mouthed kids with left-wing talking points on a variety of subjects. Last year, the outfit published a clip of potty-mouthed princesses ranting about gender equality with woefully iaccurate talking points. FCKH8 also published a video of children promoting flat-out lies about the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
The advocacy group’s latest video has F-bomb dropping kids mocking Confederate flag supporters. Featuring a stereotypical hillbilly as the kids’ foil, the spiteful youngsters spend two minutes sneering at anyone who might like the “racist” symbol. The message of the video is clear: If you support the Confederate flag, you have no understanding of history and you’re a racist hick. Even kids know this to be true.
None of the kids appear to be from the South, of course, and they certainly have zero comprehension of what the Confederate flag means to the millions of Southerners who respect it. These smug kids who haven’t even stepped into a high school can’t understand that someone from a different part of the country would see the flag as a way of honoring ancestors and expressing pride in where you come from.
That’s a result of being a know-it-all, small-minded preteen who’s coaxed by manipulative adults into doing asinine ads.
What’s ultimately wrong with these FCKH8’s videos is not the lies, coarseness or boneheaded smugness. It’s the fact that the videos exploit children to promote causes these kids are not capable of understanding. A six-year-old who’s never stepped foot below the Mason-Dixon line has no business being the mouthpiece for adult Confederate flag haters.
The current election cycle has brought much hand-wringing about the sudden onset of idiocracy, but the rhetoric of certain candidates looks positively high-brow in comparison with these kid activists. For what could be dumber than asking a bunch of unlettered kids with little knowledge of issues to spout off about issues?
Politics is supposed to be for adults due to the experience and cognitive development it requires to fully grasp.
But maybe we do live in an idiocracy when we have to make statements on how it’s idiotic to use children to give voice to political points.