Paul Smith vs. The Millennials
The other day I found the following post on Paul Smith’s campaign Facebook page:
He has zero respect for educated millennials. The “3 young kids” he is referring to are a 32 year old attorney with an undergrad in economics with a wife and three kids (not to mention 6 years experience as an elected official in Sterling Heights); the other is in his late 30’s and VP of government affairs for Wayne State school of Medicine with a masters and numerous political endeavors and experience; and the third is also in his late 30’s and is a high school economics and government teacher with a masters degree teaching our truly young kids, who has a wife and two kids with another on the way!
Of course, she’s absolutely right, but it goes deeper than that.
This isn’t just an anti-Millennial bias at work. This doesn’t speak very well of his opinion of senior citizens, either. It’s apparent he’s courting the senior vote with comments like this. In his attempt to get elected, he’s looking at the people most likely to vote for him, and apparently has come to the conclusion that they’re more likely to be older than not. Talking about “those young kids” should play well to that group, right? After all, it’s the young people who are screwing up the country, er, I mean city, with their tolerance for gays and their anti-xenophobic sentiments, right Mr. Smith? So what does he do? He attempts to make age an issue in the campaign, despite the fact that the people he’s trying to belittle are indeed fully-fledged adults.
It takes a certain cynicism to assume that you’re going to be able to sway a majority of the electorate based on a jingoistic theme such as “those young kids.” For one thing, you have to believe it yourself. For another, you have to hope that everyone else in your own age group will buy into it too and just vote for the older man because “he’s one of us” regardless of any of his other qualities.
It is a precariously one-dimensional view of the world that informs this sort of behavior. It means that you only look at the world superficially, without the insight required to remember that these elderly folks have adult children who are about the same age as Mr. Smith’s opposition. A lot of these people are quite proud of their kids, adore the grandchildren they have brought into their lives, and are old enough and experienced enough to look favorably on times changing. I have met Mayor Taylor’s grandparents; they are not young people, but they stump for him at a polling site regularly every other November. I would not be surprised to find out the same is true for Mr. Nate Shannon or Mr. Doug Skrzyniarz. At the very least, I am sure they receive the support and good wishes of the elders in their own families. And I’m sure that they all consider themselves to be young at heart.
Significant amounts of time, money and effort are being expended by everyone in this race, including by “those young kids”. Two of them have been elected to office in a year when Mr. Smith’s own attempt to be elected failed. Nobody is taking this election as a joke. Nobody. Comments like this just further exemplify the sort of biased, bigoted thoughts that rattle around in Mr. Smith’s brain.