You know, the thing about precocious kids is, they’re awful.
Kids are better when they’re playing video games, picking their noses, making paper people, collecting baseball cards, etc. Kids who insert themselves into the adult world without appropriate humility and deference are jerks, in the same way an adult who opines passionately in a conversation about something about which they’re generally under-informed is a jerk.
I bring this up because, hey, you remember CJ Pearson, right? Pearson made news as a 13-year-old YouTube activist (read: loudmouth) who famously challenged President Obama’s love of America and then accused the President of the United States of blocking him on Twitter, in what was probably a frame-job.
What a time to be alive.
So. It is for young people to be stupid and loud and obnoxious. One of the things about maturing into adulthood, right up there with shaving and voting and buying a beer in a bar with your own ID, is the wisdom and perspective to know that young people are stupid and loud and obnoxious, but it’s OK, the thing to do is nod and smile and then roll your eyes and mostly ignore them until they, too, can shave and vote and buy a beer in a bar with their own ID. We make room in the world for young people to be stupid and loud and obnoxious without any real consequences, because we are grownups. We do our best to chaperone them through their own stupidity so that they might one day appreciate just how stupid they once were.
Then there’s Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz saw a 13-year-old ranting semi-coherently on YouTube, challenging the patriotism of a person who is the actual President of the United States, and thought “hmmm, yes, here is a person that I should attach to my campaign.” Because politicians, you see, are the most desperate, cynical people on earth, and it turns out they are never worse than when they’re running a largely irrelevant campaign for President among a field of clowns and lunatics. Ted Cruz named CJ Pearson National Chairman of something called “Teens for Ted.” Ugh.
CJ Pearson told CNN on Friday that concerns about the Republican Party’s viewpoints on racial and gender disparity as well as youth issues convinced him he could no longer be a mouthpiece for conservatism.
The 13-year-old, African-American YouTube star from Georgia said in an interview that he began considering the change after a conversation with another teen friend, who asked why he doesn’t speak out on racial discrimination — to which he replied he was concerned his followers wouldn’t be pleased.
A small, cold part of me wants to laugh at the fact that close affiliation with the Cruz campaign was enough to turn this kid away from conservatism altogether. Then I read this:
“I don’t want to be the conservative wonder kid that people follow because I make them feel good and like young people are part of their movement. I want to be followed because I’m the voice of a generation that doesn’t have a voice at the table.”
CJ. Stop trying to be the voice of things. You do not need followers. You are a kid. It’s good that you’re smart, it’s good that you’re articulate, it’s good that you’re plugged in and aware of the world around you. You got a bike? Some friends? They got bikes? Go ride bikes. You’ve got the whole rest of your life to be miserable about American politics. No one needs a head start on that.