Adults are not acting their age.
Before I talk about something I call the junior high syndrome, I’d like to say that as a former middle school teacher I can tell you that ninety-nine percent of kids that age are wonderful with good study habits and good manners. The other one percent usually get sent to area learning if their parents don’t raise too much of a stink.
Despite the above, there’s no doubt that these kids generally are guilty of a certain cliquish behavior, a desire to be popular, and a tendency toward “monkey-see-monkey do.” I remember once on a bus trip they were giving themselves a sort of “sleeper hold” to get a high before they passed out. And they were all doing it, even the smart kids. Some of them can also be awfully mean, which may be why the Lindsay Lohan vehicle “Mean Girls” resonated so well with moviegoers. Generally kids get over it when they get to high school, but if society at large is any indication there is a definite junior high syndrome going on. A large percentage of our population is just not acting their age.
Let’s start with the bunch of knuckleheads who thought it was a good idea to make a You Tube video comparing Republican and Democratic women.
These cretins chose Madelyn Albright and Janet Reno and distorted photos of Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi to make their point. These guys insist that it was all a joke and that the democrats have no sense of humor. Maybe so, but it’s the shallowness of the stunt that bothers me. It’s also blatant misogyny. Somehow Palin’s looks qualify her as a leader. The fact that she couldn’t name a newspaper or deal with Katie Couric’s withering interview style goes unmentioned. We can’t forget Andrew Breitbart, the guy who tried to expose Shirley Sherrod as a racist. First off, Shirley has a good reason to hate whites as her father was murdered by a Georgia cracker, but if Breitbart had bothered to watch the whole speech, he would have realized she was asking blacks to forgive. Furthermore, a white man calling a black man or woman a racist is like a white man calling a black man a boy. You just don’t do it, not after 300 plus years of slavery, segregation, and lynching. And we owe these people forty acres and a mule.
Next in line is that Celebrity Housewife who crashed Obama’s inauguration party. She was angling for a reality program and she actually got one, then she got into a fight with Whoopi Goldberg on “The View”. This smacks of of popularity contest all the way. And when is Kate Gosselin’s fifteen minutes going to run out, huh? For that matter, are we stuck with reality programming for good? Then there’s the guy who thought it was a good idea to pretend that his son flew away in a kite.
While we’re on the reality television kick, we can’t forget “Jersey Shore.” You know in my generation if we got drunk and disorderly, there was a certain amount of shame the next day. We didn’t glorify our misbehavior on national television. Face Book, Twittering and the other social network sites seem to flash back to the junior high popularity mania. The more “friends” you have the more status you have. Trouble is, you’re neglecting your real friends.
Then there are those who should know better, like Judge Samuel Alito who didn’t like Obama’s reference to the court’s decision to give corporations the same First Amendment rights as the voters. We could see him fuming and mumbling to himself while Obama was speaking. I suppose I should mention Representative Joe Wilson who called Obama a liar during another one of his speeches. This from the Watergate, Iran Contra gate, Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction gate party.
I almost forgot Lindsay Lohan’s recent trail for public drunkenness or whatever it was where she painted an obscene gesture on her fingernails. In other words she was giving the judge the finger. Unfortunately somebody noticed and she got in further hot water.
Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann is another culprit. She recently gave a speech in which she said, “It’s so good to be back with the ‘normal people.” Except she’s not normal people. She owns a million-dollar domicile on the border of the 6th District (some people say beyond the border) for which she pays very little taxes. This staunch anti-tax conservative woman was also once a lawyer for the IRS, and she got her law degree from Oral Roberts. That’s the same Oral Roberts who claimed to be entitled to a rich lifestyle because he was a Christian. But he stole millions from poor people who were trying to buy their way into Heaven. Bachmann spends thousands of dollars of taxpayer money sending out fliers urging people to read the Bible, while at the same time spewing hatred on Fox News.
Lastly we have a bunch of spoiled white people who recently answered the Glenn Beck and call to come to Washington. 86,000 of them showed up (Bachmann claimed it was more like a million, but we know she can’t count). It took the media almost two years to figure out that the Teabaggers were really right-wing conservatives bent on getting even for the way liberals treated their boy Georgie. A recent CBS/New York Times poll also revealed that most have more money and a better education than general voters. Rich, fat cats who are worried they will lose their position of privilege to minorities. Well, hopefully they will get their “Just say no” tactics shoved up their rosy red rectums this fall. I realize the media predicts a Republican landslide with the Democrats losing the house and maybe the Senate, but I just can’t picture John “Homemade tan” Boehner as Speaker of the House.
So what’s the solution. Good parenting would be nice, but folks are too busy trying to look like teenagers to pay much attention to their kids. Somewhere in the Clinton Administration I think it was, somebody suggested that kids be required to do at least a year of public service. The Peace Corps, Vista,
military duty, whatever. The Mormons do it and they turn out pretty well.
If there’s one thing they’re good at, it’s taking care of each other. They even try to take care of the rest of us, with their genealogy date base. It’s supposed to help us get into Heaven.
Dave Schwinghammer's published novel, SOLDIER'S GAP, is available on Amazon.com.