Welcome to real life

student_in_class_3618969705Hampshire College is probably a lovely little place for the intellectual manipulation of young minds.  They have a fancy website and their location in Amherst, Ma looks quite attractive.

However, these days they don’t have an American flag – or at least they aren’t running the one they have up the flagpole.  It is a long and rather convoluted tale that recounts why this is so.

In a nutshell, about a year ago the college starting flying the flag at half-staff to mourn deaths, oppression, discrimination and (I suspect) a Nutella shortage in the cafeteria.

It may not surprise you to learn that following the presidential election there was much flying of the flag halfway up the pole, as students and faculty dealt with the grief that a politically incorrect billionaire won.

Oh, the agony of defeat.  And in such agony, it would be just too upsetting to fly the American flag.  After all, if the person I want isn’t elected, can the nation still be valid?  How can I accept such a terrible injustice?

Interesting questions – and questions that likely entered the minds of some voters four years ago and eight years ago.  But most people understand that when you lose an election, well, you lose.  And if you want to win the next cycle, you work hard, donate to your candidate and try to convince others of your point of view.

Unfortunately, I expect most of the students at Hampshire College and other similar places are part of the “participation” generation.  This is the generation where kids played on sports teams where they don’t keep score and everyone gets a trophy just for showing up.  The kid who runs the 100-year-dash in 10 seconds isn’t any better than the kid who took half a minute.  They both ran and we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by pointing out that one kid was a stallion and the other a sloth.

Instead of trying to persuade the participation generation they have unpopular views and need to stop whining, why not just give them ribbons for election participation.  They don’t even have to vote, but simply report to the dean’s office, say they really care deeply about global warming and world peace, and they will be given a participation ribbon.

It didn’t matter who won the 100-year-dash – why should it matter who wins an election?

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