Where have all the children gone?

January 09, 1996|By Art Buchwald

WASHINGTON -- A few of us were sitting around the living room of Neal Grunstra's house discussing the lack of youthful political energy in this country.

"How can Congress shut down the government twice without anybody wanting to do something about it?" Bonnie Kyte asked.

"Why would anybody do anything about it if it doesn't involve O.J. Simpson?" Carolyn Ehrler said.

Grunstra claimed he knew why there was no one in the streets. "Our children only go out to find a movie. They won't march on Washington or stage sit-ins in the Capitol. They can't stand pain."

Michael Kappaz agreed. "When the Vietnam War became ridiculous, all of us in this room were screaming for the president to quit and the Congress to resign.

"There were riots, arrests and protest banners hanging from buildings. Our government heard us loud and clear.

"Now the legislators shut down their own capital and there isn't one kid screaming for their hides."

"Why?" I said. "Why?"

At that moment Cara Bobchek walked through the living room with a Walkman plugged into her ears.

"Cara," Neal asked, "why won't your generation go out in the streets to protest the government shut-down?"

She looked puzzled. "What government?"

Neal yelled, "The American government. It's been shut down, and in most countries the youth would be demonstrating in the streets and calling for their leaders' heads."

Cara said, "I can't do that. I have to listen to the new Beatles CD."

Joanie Bishow said, "Doesn't your generation care about anything but yourselves?"

"Of course, we do," she replied. "We care about having a car."

Rick Bishow said, "In France the students were in the streets and they forced the prime minister to cave in on economic reforms. The least you could do is raise some hell when your

representatives don't know up from down."

"I would, but I have to go to a party at Russell Eckel's house. His mother has invited a bunch of girls home from Sweetbriar for the holidays," Cara explained.

Bonnie said, "Well, I guess we can't count on your generation to save the country."

"Why should we go out in the streets and demonstrate when we can stay home and do it all by e-mail?"

Art Buchwarld is a syndicated columnist.

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