by ROBERT BUNN
It’s really not surprising Ron Paul is popular among college kids. The Tea Party / Libertarian / Fiscal Conservative elements of the Republican Party have a natural “in” with the youth vote. They tell a story that’s very relatable if you still live with your parents, or have just recently moved out.
It’s easy to envision the government as the ultimate Mom and Dad. When you’re a child, authority means your parents. When you become an adult, the face of authority is the government.
What the Far Right want is to paint the Democrats as the mean parent. Who’s always telling you to watch your language, clean your room, and turn your music down? Momocrat. Ms. “My Roof, My Rules.” The one who tells you what you can and can’t spend your allowance on, but when you want to get a job, it’s time for you to pay some rent and help out with the bills.
Republidad wants to sell you the idea he’s the good parent, encouraging you to go out and get a job so you can afford your own house, and won’t need an allowance, because you want to be independent and self-sufficient, don’t you?
But that’s not the whole story.
To carry the analogy to its logical conclusion, we need to accept that you’re fourteen. No matter how old you really are, in the government/citizen relationship, you are a teenager. You always will be. Governments are not around to turn citizens into independent sovereign nations. Governments exist precisely because there needs to be some authority to settle disputes between equals who can’t or won’t come to mutually agreeable terms. They will always be able to send you to your room if you can’t learn to play nice and share.
The parent the Republicans are trying to sell you doesn’t acknowledge that. The reality is, they’re ready to toss you out on the street at fourteen because you’re not contributing enough to the household. They aren’t going to make sure you go to school. They don’t want to pay the tuition anyway. They will remind you at every opportunity that your prescriptions are ruining them, but gloss over how much money they spend on their guns and multiple home security systems and spy cameras and hiring shady characters to snoop on the neighbors.
They make no secret of the fact your eldest brother is their favorite. He’s the only one who ever gives them birthday cards or presents on Father’s Day. Never mind that he makes you give him some of your allowance every time you want to use the laptop, or pick what’s on TV, or borrow his bike. They’re his. They bought them for him. He can do what he wants with them. But they aren’t going to buy you toys or things of your own, because there’s already plenty in the house. Go talk to your brother.
Right now, the Democratic parent is the one who’s going to give you the support you need. “We care about you, no matter who you are or how you dress.” “Sure, you have a part-time job, but it certainly doesn’t pay enough to live on, so we’re not asking for rent, and if the pay is *really* lousy, we’ll even continue supplementing it with an allowance. And you’re always welcome to eat dinner here if the food budget is tight.” Do you want to live in your parents’ basement forever? No. But if the alternative is living on the street, it’s nice to know it would be there if you needed it, isn’t it?
Sadly, though, you (and I, and all of us) are caught in the middle of this nasty spat. The Democrats are really trying to be there for us, but at the moment, all they can offer is words of support and some favors here and there. Why? Because anything of significance still needs both signatures, and the Republicans refuse to sign anything – even the checks for our mortgage and doctor’s appointments – unless they get to make all the important decisions.
This is why I’m begging you, all my brothers and sisters in the United States, to tell the Democrats and the Rebuplicans that we need to stop this bickering, because it’s hurting the whole family. We still remember what happened last time it got to the point of filing for divorce. Rather than trying to turn us against each other, we need you to sit down, work out your differences, and find a way to stay together. For the sake of the children.