“There are not many times we feel sorry for the young,” the editorial, titled “The search for leaders,” begins. After a lazy start slobbering over the virtues of the “Greatest Generation” and how they “won the Second World War” (tell that to the Russians), the editorial somehow becomes even lazier as the cranky writer (that would be Editor and Publisher Joe Bradley) does the journalistic equivalent of yelling at the kids to get off his lawn.
“The sorrow we feel for the young of the day is they believe their parents’–and grandparents’–accomplishments are now their rights,” he lectures. “They are more comfortable arguing for their inheritance than working for their future–and fighting for a better life for their children.”
No evidence, no quotes, no names. Just the hackneyed voice of an oldster bashing youth with a hammer etched with that damning “they.” Without a shred of evidence, he’s saying kids today don’t measure up to people like Harry Truman or Dwight Eisenhower (both mentioned favorably in the editorial, though both were too old to be in the “Greatest Generation”).
“Where are the leaders–and the followers–who will pick up the mantle of post World War II optimism and build a better America for the 21st century?” the op-ed asks at the end as though Captain America is a real person. “So far, they are in hiding.”
Will someone please get Bradley a newspaper other than The Maui News? Or, at least, a computer that’s hooked up to the new-fangled Interwebs thing?
Perhaps if he reads news from other organizations–some even located in Hawaii!–he might just find a few of those future “leaders” he says don’t exist. And far from being “in hiding,” they’re actually out in public–some even in elected office! But then he’d actually be conducting a real search, rather than just regurgitating his own lazy biases and conclusions.
Seriously, it took me the whole of five minutes to come up with this list of individuals I believe meet the standards to be called a “leader” (there are many, many more out there, but I’ve got other things to do today):
• Tulsi Gabbard, 33. Democratic US Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd District. Captain in the Hawaii National Guard. Iraq War veteran.
• DeRay McKesson, 29. Teach for America alum. Former New York City math teacher. Founder/co-editor of Ferguson Protester Newsletter. His live-Tweeting of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri (@Deray on Twitter) is electrifying and inspiring.
• Bao Nguyen, 34. Recently elected mayor of Garden Grove, California. Born in a Thai refugee camp, he’s the Vietnamese-American mayor of a city with more than 100,000 residents.
And that’s just what I found using the Internet. Imagine who I’d locate if I actually worked at it?
Locally, we’ve also got people like state Rep. Kaniela Ing (25) and former state Senate candidate Terez Amato (37). Ing got himself elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives not long after he left graduate school and Amato, a mother of four, is an up-and-coming activist in the Maui Democratic Party.
All of the above are leaders. Their methods may vary substantially from the white men who ran the U.S. in 1940s and ’50s, but they are nonetheless out there in the nation right now trying to “build a better America.”
Photo of Captain America lunchbox: Visitor7/Wikimedia Commons