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Sunday, September 25, 2016

“And a little child shall lead them.” — Isaiah 11:6

Jonathan Krohn is a symbol of what is wrong in American politics.

That is a not a character assessment. To whatever degree one can judge such things from a distance, he seems a decent kid — smart, likable, nerdy, a 17-year-old Georgia boy bound for New York University in the fall.

But in 2009, just before he turned 14, Krohn gave a short speech at CPAC — the Conservative Political Action Conference — video of which went viral and made him a star. Preternaturally poised for an adolescent — or for anybody, come to think of it — he outlined his four “principles” of conservatism. Conservatives fell in love. Someone in the audience actually ululated with joy. He was interviewed on Fox “News.” Newt Gingrich blurbed his self-published book.

Three years later, conservatives hate him. “Douche” and “vacuous freak” are among the more printable things they are calling him in online forums.

Krohn’s sin? He changed his mind. He now embraces marriage equality and health-care reform, among other apostasies of conservatism. The news broke a few days ago in an interview with Politico. Conservatism, it seems, was just a phase he was going through. Not that Krohn now considers himself a liberal. No, he rejects the very idea that we must be defined by political ideology.

Good for him.

Here is a newsflash for those bemoaning Krohn’s defection: kids change, they try on different identities. Conservatism was simply Krohn’s version of Goth attire or Bieber fever. Given that he is still a kid, he may have some entirely new passion six months from now.

The fact that so many on the political right had such faith in the utterances of a child, the fact that they feel so profoundly betrayed now, suggests the degree to which our perception of, and relationship to, political ideology has changed in the years since Ronald Reagan rode off into the sunset. Back then, ideology was something that guided you. Now, it is something that defines you, a thing you are (like your race or religion), as opposed to a thing you merely support.

  • SaneJane

    Seems about half our population is stuck in perpetual adolescence.

    • Yes. Good point. It is another example of the growing ignorance in our population.

      The GOP and tea baggers know this and continues ‘to lie’ until it is believed as a truth.

      A form of brain reprogramming, well known in politics!

  • William Deutschlander

    Did you ever wonderer why so many of us (the majority) are registered as INDEPENDENTS?

    Liberal and conservative, republican or democrat does not fit the INDEPENDENT mind set.

    The INDEPENDENT considers REALITY and the FUTURE WELL BEING of DEMOCRACY, of the people, by the people, for the people!

    • Sweeeny

      Why do people feel the need to use capital letters. Why not post using only relevant words?

      • citizenmb

        It’s the written version of shouting–or should I say SHOUTING!

        • Sweeeny

          Who shouts one word in a sentence?

      • sigrid28

        Why not post using your real name rather than a moniker with extra vowels?

        • Sweeeny

          My name is Sweeny which is taken so instead of Sweeny28 I took Sweeeny. If I was you I would have chosen siigrid or maybe sigggrid but, its a free country!

      • phantomoftheopera

        it also could be we don’t have, or don’t know how to use, underlining and italics for emphasis in these posts. something that really needs to change.

      • I use them to EMPHASIZE a point.

  • RE: ………………..Krohn’s sin? He changed his mind. He now embraces marriage equality and health-care reform, among other apostasies of conservatism. The news broke a few days ago in an interview with Politico. Conservatism, it seems, was just a phase he was going through. Not that Krohn now considers himself a liberal……

    What a little education will do for the consstanly ignorant and bias!

  • citizenmb

    I, too, went through the conservative phase when I was in my early 20’s because of what I was reading: an extreme right-wing publication, The Wanderer, published in St. Paul, MN. I was “converted” to liberalism through real-life stories from people who had been helped by the government during hard times. Yes, reality, yet again, intrudes on the right-wing stories, aka, fiction.

  • The Right is the most ignorant group of people in the world. They want the death penalty used on kids who have barely left their toddlerhood behind, blame pre-adolescent girls for being rape, include people on Medicare in rallies with signs that say “get the government out of my healthcare,” and don’t have a creative thought in their empty heads. They made the effort to idolize a 14 year-old boy, who probably never even had shaved yet and then get mad at him for growing up and changing his mind. I think that young man will be grateful for their reaction someday, and so will we, for I am sure their reaction will give that last shove over to the brighter more interesting part the world – the progressive movement. We want young people like him – ones that think and grow and have empathy for others. I say to the Right, keep it up and thank-you for helping us by sending the brightest and smartest our way.

  • howa4x

    The real struggle is between what Gail Collins of the NYT dubbed the open space people and the closed space ones. The OSP are used to areas that don’t really change much and really don’t see why people don’t work like they do, or go to religious services. They want to keep their way of life where everyone and every thing has a place. They believe in social darwinism and you are responsible for your lot in life. They see the news of the closed space people and worry about the crime, drugs , gays, Latinos, and women how are demanding the right to be treated the same. They as suspecious of government, and they see what they term Liberals catering to these stake holder groups and feel their way of life is disappearing and see it as a religious mission to lash out to keep it. Guns are seen as a birthright.
    CSP are generally more liberal because the areas they live in change constantly. They are exposed to many different cultures through food, cinema, or people at work. They live in culturally diverse neighborhoods and care about issues like poverty and social injustice. Exposure to movements like Occupy and gay and womens rights are a common sight.
    I grew up in a more rural setting in the 50’s and eveyone was a Republican. Democrats were seen as commies or do gooders. There was only 600 people in 25 miles, and everyone knew everyone. If you were poor it was your fault and the town drunk lived in an abandoned car. Since I went to college in the late 60’s my veiws changed radically and my parents still republican thought I had lost my mind which was partially true on weekends. They were appaled I had long hair and my GF didn’t wear a bra. Even though they still loved me, they were ashamed to be seen with me. Like I had broken a sacred vow to never grow up. What happend to that kid?
    So this is the real struggle, how do we get people to change who never had to and don’t want to. How do we get them to believe, that this is all natural and good, that we are born and die and change in between. This is why the republicans always talk about turning back the clock and the rest look to the future.

  • I am a Republican who supports Obamacare. And I don’t support traditional marriage in “every case.”- even if just one case… I think Obama is trying to care for us as a people. It’s wrong for someone to be negotiating their health at someone else’s expense which could’ve been happening probably before this mandate.

  • cwalter711

    If one looks historically conservatives where the ones who insisted that the world is flat long after everyone realized that the ancient Greeks were correct the world is a sphere. One other person who still think the earth is flat is Osama bin Laden’s teacher. Afterall doesn’t the sun rotate around the earth?

    Nice to see this kid mature. I wonder when the rest of the right will mature? Probably never.

    Remember the classic definition of liberal is one who is open minded, nothing more.

    What I find distressing is that by using labels like conservative or liberal one prejudices oneself and really does not listen to that person’s arguments and the logic used in their construction. We should listen to how one argues one’s belief and not close our minds to new intreptations and possiblities. In this way, one keeps one’s mind open and doesn’t sucumb to same narrow mindedness of those you disagree with.

    If we sucumb to this narrow mindedness, doesn’t this make both of us blind?

    What Krohn did was change his mind when he received new information. To say that this is the terminal point of his development would be a bit premature.

    May be we should all learn from this and constantly re-examine our positions as new information becomes available. This way one continues to learn and not fall into the “earth is flat” trap.

  • nomaster

    It is always wonderful to witness a growing mind that is not bound by plain ideology or party politics, right or left. That is true individuality.

  • phantomoftheopera

    no wonder the right wants vouchers and charter schools. one way to control what kids learn.

  • Arvid123

    It’s good to be open minded, but if you are too open minded, your brain might fall out.

  • llferrell

    I changed to. As a disabled veteran, I changed when the Republican president (Bush) and the Republican Congress refused to pay for VA Health care (mandatory funding,not after PORK), even while making more disabled veterans with their wars of choice. In a questionare by the American Legion before the 2004 election, Bush even said he owed it to the taxpayers to keep spending down, yet the veterans mostly still voted for him. Go figure.

    The Democratic controlled Congress in 2006 finally passed mandatory funding.