Kids are Alright
by Tyler Durden
To my unknown fan at Marine City High School: Greetings
and Salutations. Thanks for boosting an old fart's ego.
I've been afraid that protest and dissent on the large scale
had died with my generation and the protests of the 60's and
70's, but my faith has been renewed; hold on, they're coming.
I like to talk to my two sons' friends. I used to think this
was because they were odd and interesting; birds of a feather,
like me, that sort of thing. I've revised that opinion. I
talk to them now because if they think for a minute, they
will come up with the right answer, and it's natural.
When my sons got older, I expected them to rebel, maybe even
become conservatives. After all, they both went through D.A.R.E.,
and since then, I haven't had a moment's peace whenever I
pick up a beer. They should have seen me in 1971.
What has shocked me to disbelief, is that for all of the
little things they do that I don't get, they turned out liberals.
My 16 year old gets pissed at every Bushism he hears, and
my 13 year old has a picture of the pResident on his dart
board. It has dramatically improved all of our aims.
Mind you, I'm not complaining here; I'm just confused. These
guys, although very smart, are not very old and experienced.
Neither has lost a job, gone homeless, done without healthcare,
or even missed a meal, as I have on all accounts. They should
be rebelling against my values: where did this level of awareness,
this understanding come from?
I'd like to take credit for at least a small part of it;
after all, I've never said a nice thing about Reagan, Bush
I or II, Ashcroft, or Michigan Governor John Engler. Not that
they have received any positive press from me. They haven't.
But in retrospect, my kids deserve a most of the credit themselves.
Young people have stood up to derision since time immemorial.
"When I was your age" is such an ingrained cliché that parents
would all have to start speaking Esperanto to avoid saying
it several times a week. The truth is, there is no such thing
as your age or my age. We're just people, and one of my oldest
son's friends demonstrated that to me in spades.
He's another smart kid. Got good grades, stays pretty clean,
part time job, etcetera. Comes from a very religious family.
When I was going through my last attempt to ameliorate my
death phobia with religion, this kid showed up pretty regularly.
He tried to debate me about women's choice ("the evils of
abortion"), evolution ("Darwin and Creation Science are both
theories"), and other pet subjects of the far, far right-wing
fringe, and I treated him with respect while inwardly shaking
my head and saying the leftist version of "When I was your
age" in my mind.
Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when this kid's father
starts talking to me in a Supermarket checkout line about
how this kid has changed, and he's ducking homework, yada
yada yada. I see this kid about two weeks later: he's wearing
(horror of horrors!) a black trench coat - and he wants me
to read his poetry! I sit down with him, expecting the usual
party line, and he's telling me about how he sees things differently,
how the conservative side isn't the Gospel he thought it was.
Basically, he's telling me that he woke up to smell the coffee.
He thinks that Bush is wrong, that Ashcroft is betraying civil
liberties. He said protest would be good, perhaps inevitable.
The whole bit sounds like a testimony from a Liberal Tent
Revival, which, while surprising, in my book isn't a bad thing.
What I see now is that this sort of "satori" should not surprise
anyone. I've come to the opinion that while young people might
be brainwashed and bent to their parents odd Republican Views,
if they get a taste of how things truly are, then true human
nature comes through. To me, this is the propensity to brotherhood,
fair play, and downright kindness. Sounds pretty Liberal to
me. After all, these kids aren't stupid, just young.
The point is, like any truly thinking and feeling person,
this kid, and mine, have seen that to live together in peace,
we have to live together, in peace. We can't steal our neighbor's
lunch money because we want to buy a steak at Delmonico's
(or we can't play Enromonics because we want to be filthy
stinking rich). We can't piss on our neighbor's lawn because
we're too lazy to walk into our house and use the john (or
we can't unilaterally send nuclear toxins to a mine in Nevada
if they don't want it there, even if they did vote for Bush
and might deserve it).
Our children know the right answer, in their heart of hearts.
We don't tell them it's there, and the worst evil we can do
is to tell them (or let someone else tell them) the wrong
Our children will do the right thing if we stop brainwashing
them with the garbage of generations past, the succeed at
all costs, devil take the hindmost, screw your neighbor before
he screws you bullshit.
It was a learning experience to be there when this kid woke
up, and I'm grateful for it. He showed me that all is not
hopeless, at least on the small scale. The "powers that be"
should be worried.
Besides, his poetry isn't half bad.
Tyler Durden is a failed political candidate who abuses
his position as a Technical Writer to compose political commentary
as a form of therapy.