I met a crazy lady at Coffee Klatch today. Let’s call her “Butthead.”
Butthead, Dad, and I all had an unhealthy exchange of ideas while we were waiting for my iced vanilla latte to be made earlier today. She made a comment about her distrust of Los Angeles Times and all of “left wingism” (this is not a real term, by the way. Take it from someone who just spent tens of thousands of dollars getting a degree in politics) in general. When Dad expressed his appreciation of the LA Times before she had a chance to embarass herself more, she continued on her rant…either not aware of how much of a butthead she was being or simply insensitive to Dad’s taste in newspapers.
She somehow made the jump from “left wingism” (I can’t even type that without cringing) to the lack of quality in college education these days. She said college isn’t what it used to be. She said students are being spoonfed lies and they don’t know what they’re missing.
I took this moment to explain to Butthead that I just graduated a few weeks ago. I said I felt the tens of thousands of dollars I spent on my degree was well worth it. She told me that it was all lies and that my experience was terrible. I asked her how she could possibly know; afterall, it was my experience. Not hers.
She didn’t really have an answer. She said something about how college just isn’t the same and that it’s all lies.
She went to some college with the word “Nazarene” in the title. Her daughter went to Bob Jones University. She said more people ought to get degrees like hers and her daughter’s. She said BJU was one of the toughest schools to get into and that most students who go to it who are from the California public school system drop out in the first semester. She was attempting to take a dig at me, saying my Californian education was worthless. I didn’t bother telling her I went to school in a conservative, rural village in upstate New York.
She even insulted Dad’s education without asking where he got his from. She said education has been getting worse with time, and since she had twenty years of age on Dad that hers was better. By the way…BJU is only accredited by a Christian college accreditation group. By most people’s measurements, it’s not a real school.
Ah, I remember how the education rant started. Butthead made the leap from “left wingism” to education because she said that it was “left wingism,” afterall, that led to homelessness. She said there weren’t homeless people in America until we started having liberal presidents. I called her out on it and said there have been homeless people throughout all of history. She said it was my faulty education that taught me that.
Her overarching theme was that young people are getting dumber and dumber, and it’s due to liberalism. Even my dad, who is in his sixties, is dumb because he’s so much younger than her. There is no reasoning with Butthead or buttheads.
Unfortunately, Butthead represents only a small fraction of buttheadish people I’ve met and conversed with. I think of it as a sort of ageism. It’s as if because I’m young, my opinion is worthless. I get the feeling that many think to themselves: “well of course she’s a liberal…she’s 21, afterall. She’ll grow out of it when she sees what the world’s really like.”
Young people are still people. Does the rest of the American population think that the opinions of the youth should be dismissed because we’ll grow out of them? Are we to be ignored until we’re 30, 40, 50 years old?
Bishop Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has a pretty cool outlook on young people’s involvement in the church. I have heard him express his thought that we should not treat young people like they’re the church of tomorrow, because they are the church of right now. They’re members today.
This extends throughout every aspect of society. I have a 4-year degree in Politics; something I worked incredibly hard for. Roughly 35% of the American population has an education at least as high as mine. And I earned it in 3.5 years. While paying out-of-state fees. And holding two jobs. Tell me I haven’t earned a place in society where I can have my opinion not only heard, but respected.
Butthead had quite the nerve. After each of her comments, my superhero of a dad kept insisting that we simply had a difference of opinion…to which she responded that it’s not opinion, it’s fact. She was telling me, as a matter of fact, that my education was worthless and that “left wingism” has destroyed America.
Thank you to every adult that has been willing to have a civil, healthy, idea-sharing conversation with me. I love talking to people with a different viewpoint. I love shaking their hand afterward. I love that many people who don’t always agree with me read my blog, because they know I’m not just a pot-smoking, video game-playing, bra-burning young person. I don’t even like pot or video games or burning my $50 Victoria’s Secret attire anyway.
Thank you to Butthead, who was the motivation I needed to get this post written.