I was rocked by a seismic shift this week. While our local media is still focused on Covid-19 precautions and hotspots, my 14-year-old Milo proudly said he and his online friends were now talking politics.
“Those old enough to vote are saying they’re for Trump,” he said. “They’re, like, both bad. Biden expanded jail time for Black men. And he’s just too old.”
His parents’ jaws dropped. Fawn started in with all the reasons we read daily about the incumbent’s threats to the constitution and democracy, to civil rights and moral decency. All were from our sources: news websites, some aggregated. The Times Union and the stories it runs from The New York Times and Washington Post.
Milo doesn’t do Facebook, but his friends suck up information from a variety of social-media sources. Was this just the usual teen rebellion? When the future’s all you have, you’re not as scared of the past few years, or the promises in anything incremental.
The week before politics pushed Covid to the side (exacerbated, for us adults, by the U.S. Senate’s inability to extend benefits to those hurt by the pandemic and crashed economy), another of our kid’s friends created a minor contretemps when he faked being born-again in a text thread. We were all heading out to Camp Wawa when this one kid posted a video, which prompted a parent to ask who was going to be at the camp. After talking the grown-up down, the kids all had a good laugh.
Remember when you learned sarcasm and the surreal alongside politics, when Pigasus was as important as any flesh-and-blood candidate?
I have to hand it to the young generation I’m surrounded by. They’ve handled coronavirus well. They marched and rallied when George Floyd was murdered. They’re waiting patiently to see what happens next with their education.
I’d love to set them straight, politically. But that’s not something I feel right doing.
We’re in for a wild three-plus months ahead.
Read more installments of Village Voices by Paul Smart.