One of the most persistent shortcomings of modern electoral endeavors is the meager participation of young people. There are a multitude of programs run by political parties, schools, and private advocacy groups to educate America’s youth about the importance of voting and to motivate them to get involved in the democratic process.
Sadly, Tucker Carlson thinks that the whole idea of young people being engaged in politics is “creepy as hell.” And that’s not the worst of it. He even compares campaigns that have a youth outreach to the genocidal brutality of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge. In discussing Barack Obama’s appeal amongst young citizens who will be eligible to vote for our next president in November of 2008, Carlson says…
“I just — it — politicizing children — there’s a Khmer Rouge quality to it. I think it’s scary. If some — if a right-wing candidate came and targeted my kids, I’d be mad about it. I don’t want my kids near political candidates. Do you?”
In all honesty, if a right-wing candidate came and targeted my kids, I’d be mad about it too. But only because I wouldn’t want them infected by your brand of ideological vermin. However, I would certainly not object to the notion of my kids caring enough to learn about issues and candidates. And I would respect their right to shape their own beliefs and agendas. In fact, I would be proud.
Carlson seems to think that kids (and we’re talking about 17 year-olds) are addle-headed twits that can’t form opinions or make judgments. Well, I don’t know Carlson’s kids, but the ones I do know are intellectually curious with agile minds and common sense. They had better be, because they are at the age that our society asks them to make some serious decisions like whether to enlist in the Army, or what to study in college, and even for whom to vote for president.
It’s really unfortunate that elitist cretins like Carlson can go on TV and purposefully discourage youth participation in government. He is working against the sort of good citizenship that democracy requires. It would be bad enough if he were just insulting kids by asserting that they’re not capable of voting, but using a brutal dictatorship as an analogy for their participation is perversely absurd and diametrically opposed to reality.
If Carlson were truly interested in democracy, he should praise kids who want to get involved, as well as candidates and other organizations that seek to promote such involvement. If he’s really looking for something to be afraid of, he might consider the consequences of not preparing succeeding generations for their role in public life. Carlson’s desire to stifle the voices of the young in this country is counterproductive and disrespectful. It reeks of an unspoken wish that only the pre-approved, prep school, scions of the privileged be allowed to engage in political pastimes. And that, Tucker, is something that I find “creepy as hell.”