Over my vacation this Summer, I spent time at the beach with my husband and two kids. We spent a week with my family (all of them from all over the country) as we do every other year as a sort of mini-family reunion. While there, I spoke a few times with my step-brother, and his friend who came along for the trip, who are both in their late teens and in their last year of high school. The conversations were about college aspirations, girls, sports and surprisingly, politics. There was an underlying anger in their views on politics. It wasn’t anger at parties, but at the people who “won’t talk to us about this stuff.” I decided not to be one of those people and we had a heart to heart about what’s happening in this country, minus mention of party affiliations.
Early on in the conversation, the friend of my step-brother announced that he did not believe anything he saw on television. He said he thought the media lied and seemed like it was protecting the President a lot. I was floored. Both of them said they read more of their news than watched it on television. Like a tidal wave, I felt relief wash over me that perhaps the cult of Hope and Change hadn’t sunken its teeth in as deeply as some would think.
As the conversation drifted through media bias and what these two young men perceptively picked up on, the conversation took a sharp turn and went straight at Occupy. My step-brother asked, “What the Hell is that thing all about?” My reply, “Depends which occupier you ask.” I felt them out for what they had seen or read and it was much of the watered down version being pushed out by the mainstream media. So, I laid it out. The vandalism, the assaults, the arrests, the rapes, the cost… all of it. Then I pointed them to sources to go read on their own – including seeing Occupy Unmasked. Hopefully they did and will.
There was a lot more detail in this conversation, but it ventures too close to a personal level. At the end of our talk, they thanked me. I think it was more that I had actually talked with them about it more than what I actually said. One of them can vote this year, the other cannot. It struck me that the one that can was more aware of the state of affairs in this country than some adults I have come across but even so young, was still jaded. Not jaded by parties, but jaded by the media. This was only one conversation with a couple of young people, but I wondered how many others out there thought like them but were staying quiet because ‘nobody talks to them’ about it. A new silent majority.
I kept this post in my draft pile for almost a month, until a reader sent me a video link today that was the perfect ending: