Yuck: Dozens of Field-Tripping Middle Schoolers Refuse to Take Photo With Paul Ryan

Posted: May 29, 2017 2:45 PM
Behold, the latest sad vignette from our fraying, polarized republic, in which roughly 100 New Jersey eighth-graders on a field trip to Washington, DC refused to participate in a group photograph with the Speaker of the House. Why? Because Paul Ryan's political views don't adhere with theirs. And because, in the words of one particularly self-righteous student, they didn't want "to be associated with a person who puts his party before his country."  That latter bit is a patriotism-impugning formulation most often deployed by partisans who consider their own political views to be synonymous with what's best for America.

A 13-year-old might be forgiven for adopting a simplistic and juvenile approach to politics, but that's exactly how many adult ideologues think and act, as well. Such attitudes trickle down, as evidenced by the kid's proud mother boasting of her son's principled stand, or whatever. And thus, dozens of tweens from a "progressive, upper-middle-class community" who snubbed the sitting Speaker of the House in a fit of pique are being hailed as "brave" truth-to-power heroes. That's today's America, I'm afraid -- with kiddos serving as a critical element of resistance agitprop. By the end of the week, this kid will be polling third for the 2020 Democratic nomination, hot on the heels of Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren -- via New York's ABC affiliate:

"It's not just a picture," said Matthew Malespina, a student. Matthew says he couldn't go through with it. It didn't matter that Paul Ryan is the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, or that he is third in-line to the presidency. When he and his classmates from South Orange Middle School had the chance to take a picture with the speaker. Matthew watched from the parking lot with 100 of his fellow students. "It's being associated with a person who puts his party before his country," Matthew said. The students were on a field trip to Washington. Matthew found out the night before. "I'm just not going to do it," Matthew texted his mother.

The other half of the class broke with their "woke" schoolmates to pose with Ryan, with many shaking his hand -- as virtually any normal, well-adjusted grade school student would have done in a less acrimonious and hyper-politicized era. But again, such is American life in 2017: Deeply, angrily, and sometimes irreparably, divided. By the way, not a single reasonable observer would conclude that just because a young student stood politely beside a politician, he or she must support that public figure's policies.  Respecting the office and snapping a group pic is not an endorsement, especially from people who are years away from even being eligible to vote.  But under the prevailing, toxic "silence is complicity" framework, this sort of preening isn't just likely; it's required.  Many lefties are lapping up this display because any hint of non-resistance is tantamount to "association" or -- God forbid -- approval.  I'll leave you with this tweet, which succinctly underscores the problem with this sort of dramatic, tribal self-segregation:

Oh, and if you'd have cheered on these adolescent boycotters if they were disrespecting Speaker Pelosi, you're part of the problem, too.

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