Grow Up Time II 

Life ain't just a bowl of cherries, junior

I've been saving this thought for when we know definitely who the Democrats will settle on as el Grande Enchilada. Before the year turned, I—along with about everybody else— figured it would be Hillary, and I intended to direct it (this thought) to what appeared to be a gathering head of Obama steam among young people.

Then came the Iowa caucus, which only made this thought more pertinent because it was suddenly obvious that the Barack mojo was transmuting from a mere whisp into some solid flesh and blood. The visit he made to Idaho, followed by the amazing Idaho caucus, only confirmed it: Barack was the real deal, and so was the ginormous support he was receiving from independents, disaffected Republicans and, most notably, the throngs of young Americans who had never before given much interest to the political sea in which we all bob. (Notice I use the hep-cat, super-modern adjective "ginormous?" I'm hoping that if I speak some of their language, I can keep those youngsters interested enough in what I have to say that they will read the entire column.)

Then Barack went on a mighty roll for ... what? ... 12 or 14 state elections, and it looked like Hillary was in deep shit. (I beg your forgiveness, old people, for using such a crude image. But you see, young people use the phrase "deep shit" all the time ... or so I am told. It's second nature for them to say, "Hey dude, I'm in deep shit here, man. You gotta help me out, dude!" And since the message of today is directed primarily to those young people who have invested so much energy and optimism in the campaign of Barack Obama, surely you can understand what I must do to communicate with them, even if it seems crass and offensive.)

But then came the Texas and Ohio primaries, and Hillary is back. She's the real deal, too. Barack still leads in the delegate count, but her victories have shown that nothing is going to come easily to either of them. We have five more weeks to go until we know any more, which leaves us with five weeks to worry about what might happen to all those young, enthusiastic, pumped-up Barack backers should Hillary eventually win the nomination. I am by no means the only Democrat on pins and needles at the prospect of them going all outraged and indignant that their man didn't win—should he not win—and that's why I don't believe I can save this thought until the nomination has been decided. I believe it must be said now, instead of later.

This thought (coming soon, so hang on) is nothing you haven't heard before, young people. I've no doubt your parents told you the same thing over and over while you were growing up, just as I did to my daughter, and just as my parents did to me. In fact, the Rolling Stones even made a song about it—not that I expect you to be impressed with anything a bunch of stodgy old farts like the Rolling Stones have to say. I mention that simply to let you know this thought has been around for a long time—possibly forever—and it's something none of us can escape. So please, I beg of you, don't blame me for telling you something you don't want to hear.

So here it is—the thought that I was going to save until we knew who gets the nomination—the thought I truly do believe you young people need to think about, especially if things don't turn out as you hope—the thought that, I pray, will keep you involved and excited, even should Hillary win. Here it is:

"You can't always get what you want."

Now, don't get me wrong, young people. I'm not saying you won't get what you want. There's every possibility that Barack will be the Democrats' nominee. Every probability, in fact, given his lead in the delegate count and the continuing passion so many Americans feel for him.

Nor am I saying that Hillary would necessarily make a better president than Barack. Early in the year, I endorsed her, and I'm not backing away from that endorsement now.

But see, I don't always get what I want, either. You bet, I was (and still am) excited by the prospect of her becoming the first woman president, but I am fully prepared for the prospect of her not becoming the first woman president, too. And if she doesn't get the nomination, I am prepared to throw all my support to Barack. There's not a Hillary backer out there who won't do the same, of this I am certain. For us, the contest between Hillary and Barack is like having to chose between delicious and scrumptious. Yum yum to both of 'um.

So it's not disappointed Hillary backers I worry about. It's disappointed Barack backers. I'm sorry to have to say this, but the plain truth is, I don't entirely trust you, my young friends. And I'm not alone in this. I've spoken to many others who share my distrust. Granted, everyone I talked to was an old person, and therefore, it's natural for them to hold the opinion—to one degree or another—that today's young people aren't worth the sweat off a pig's ass ... as we used to say back in the day.

But honestly, how often have we seen you youngsters get all hopped up about something, then leave it out in the sandbox to rust whenever the next big thing grabs your attention? For instance, what if on November 4, Steve Jobs comes out with his latest marvelous gadget? Or what if on November 4, Sony releases Playstation 4. Or what if the two-hour season opener of Lost is broadcast on November 4, or American Idol begins a new round of tryouts, or Dave Matthews concert tickets go on sale? Huh?

What I mean is, can we really count on you to show up at the polls on November 4, and not be camped out in front of a Best Buy somewhere, waiting to be first in line for a Blue Tooth ... Ray ... Fairy ... something or other?

More to the point, can we count on you to be there for Hillary like you can count on us to be there for Barack? Or, if she gets the nomination, are you going to roll your eyes, pout out a snotty "Whatever ..." and go text message buddies for the rest of your life? Because if that's the way you're going to act, I gotta tell ya', we're in some ginormously deep shit here, dudes.

And, incidentally, don't piddle yourselves out over the prospect of those superdelegates silencing your voice. I am confident their ultimate decision will reflect the popular will, whatever that proves to be. No, Skippy ... it's not the superdelegates we old people fear. It's you.

One more thing: Should you be in the least interested, the rest of that stodgy fart Stones' tune goes " ... but if you try some time, you just might find, you get what you need."

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