One of the things I’ve really gotten on a soapbox about in the last couple of years is how we find a kid who says all the right things and make them a STAR. We shower them with a big following, a media profile, and eventually a spot on television. They get their limelight, and we just love and adore them.
Because kids can be trusted to be fonts of wisdom and stability one hundred percent of the time, right?
Look no further than C.J. Pearson, the black pre-teen and conservative wunderkind who said all the right things. Then, he posted a Photoshopped picture and claimed he was blocked by Barack Obama’s @POTUS account on Twitter. After some backlash, he became a Bernie Sanders supporter because, yeah, that’s a stable and conservative thing to do. I believe he’s somewhat in the good graces of the mob again since he began supporting Donald Trump.
But, I’m not just saying pre-teens and teens are the problem here. Hell, I’m 28, and I don’t know near as much as my sense of entitlement tells me I do. 24-year-old Tomi Lahren, who recently took to her show on The Blaze to trash not only my colleague Kimberly Ross, but also RedState as a whole, is another fine example.
Lahren is a youngster who became famous, as most of these kids do, through YouTube. A clip of her show on OAN apparently went viral (I’m reading from Wikipedia here), and a subsequent appearance at CPAC firmly established her as a fresh face for The Movement. This was when she was 22 and 23. Her previous experience in politics appears to be a college TV station and an internship for someone in Congress.
And that’s it.
See, there’s my problem with a lot of what punditry is becoming, or has become, or whatever. We’re picking out kids who have no real world experience and getting them to talk about things well beyond their well of knowledge. As a result, what we get is a lot of regurgitated talking points and no new substance. For C.J., Tomi, or whoever, it’s all about their youth and their diversity.
I’m not saying that their diversity and youth disqualifies them. I’m saying, however, that it shouldn’t be their only qualifications for being about to speak about politics. Or… anything, really. We glorify a young person of color, a pretty face, or whatever and forget that living a political life requires more than that.
A person clearly has no sense of history or ideology beyond just words when they say they support Donald Trump. They don’t understand that they are supporting the exact opposite of what the ideology they preach stands for. That is a failure of education and a failure of experience. It’s a failure of getting out and understanding what it is the conservative fight is over. It’s not to beat Hillary Clinton. It’s about advancing an actual cause.
Like I said, I’m 28. I don’t claim to have the right level of experience either. It’s not a ride at Disney with the sign “You Must Be This Experienced To Ride”*. I don’t claim to be “wise beyond my years,” either. Hell, I’ve got the emotional maturity of a 28 year old.
But, you know what I can claim? I can claim that this isn’t all there is for me. I can leave RedState today and not worry about anything. I work for a living, and if I got let go from there, I can go find something else. I’m not stuck trying to find a place that will let me write words about politics for them forever.
I can also sleep at night, knowing at the end of the day that I have fought for the right thing. I have a set of core beliefs that I don’t have to betray daily to defend someone or something that goes against them.
What happens to these kids when the world of politics has chewed them up and spit them out? What happens when the rabid fans leave them like they’re Jonathan Taylor Thomas (post-Home Improvement) for something fresher and younger? Do they have something to fall back on, or have they peaked too soon?