TIME Magazine lent its national platform to a 14-year-old Georgia boy whose political tint changes more often than a mood ring. In his “ideas” piece, where he pledges support to Donald Trump, CJ Pearson criticized Erick Erickson for writing “Dear CJ Pearson: Shut Up” last year. It was one of Erick’s last RedState posts.
It is not a healthy thing, I think, for most kids to be obsessed about politics. Having an interest in politics is not bad, but making it your focus as a kid, when you cannot even vote, distracts you from things like having fun and relating to people your own age — most of whom are not into politics.
Let’s cover the basics here. Pearson achieved Internet fame by recording some quite erudite and true criticisms of President Obama. Coming from a young boy (12 at the time), it was seen as precocious and got Pearson a lot of press. Then he decided to turn that into permanent fame as some kind of teenage mutant ninja pundit.
First Pearson supported Rand Paul, then Ted Cruz. Then he hooked up with some fairly nefarious characters for “management” and engaged in outrageous Twitter wars with random liberals. Then he tweeted a lie that the White House blocked him on Twitter.
Then he left conservatives completely and supported Bernie Sanders. Now he supports Trump.
The future and stability of America are far more important than ego and party.
That’s why I’ve decided to support Mr. Trump, and it’s my sincere belief that flocks of other young people will soon follow.
The support of a young teenager, while good for P.R. (which is everything to Trump), does nothing at the voting booth. Trump is unconcerned with building the GOP, a movement, or any lasting legacy for future generations; Trump only wants to get into office right now. Pearson will find himself disappointed for his efforts.
Getting back to the premise here: political punditry is unhealthy for young teenagers. Pearson should be out playing baseball, riding his bike, playing video games with his friends, and concentrating on schoolwork. It’s a terrible distraction to be published in TIME just for having a political opinion, which seems to change as reliably as the seasons.
Erick was absolutely, 100 percent correct in his advice to Pearson. As a parent whose kids know I write about politics, we have our share of political discussions in my home. My young boys know all about Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and Donald Trump. They know my opinions. But I don’t encourage them to get too involved. Most of my time with my kids is spent on normal dad and kid stuff. Erick is no different. His kids know he’s on the radio, but you don’t see them obsessed with it.
Far from ignoring Pearson’s opinions, or minimizing the boy’s right to have one, Erick was much more concerned with CJ becoming the man he can and should become. Here’s that advice from last December:
So stop embarrassing yourself, shut up, and go live life. Pay attention to politics, but also pay attention to movies, sports, girls, your parents, your preacher, and your surroundings. Come back when you are eighteen, your voice has deepened, and you’ve passed your final growth spurt. Because about the time you stop growing externally, that’s when you really start growing internally. Your body takes the intellectual nutrition you are consuming now as a kid and grows it into the man you will be. Social media attention is not intellectual nutrition.
The editors at TIME who published a 14-year-old’s punditry did him a disservice. They are adults, and they should know better.