He’s young, black and says he supports Donald Trump.
If you haven’t heard about him, he’s 14-year-old CJ Pearson, a ninth-grader from Georgia who has criticized Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Not surprisingly, he’s faced an onslaught of vitriol from Democrats and other leftists. But some conservatives, such as RedState’s Erick Erickson, see Pearson as a social media wannabe who should sit on the sidelines until he grows up.
In a column this week in Time, Pearson offered his view of the presidential race.
“I believe that the future of America is post-party politics. I hope that in 10 to 20 years, the near constant issue of partisanship will be a distant memory,” he wrote.
That sounds about right to me.
“As a young black male, I’ve seen my community flailing and struggling due to the disastrous impacts of the Obama political agenda, and I refuse to allow the possibility of a Clinton presidency to extend that suffering,” he added.
I can’t say I disagree with him there.
“Trump’s message to young people of color is simple: what do you have to lose?
“In my young optimistic eyes, after the last eight years of the Obama presidency, there is little left to lose. There is only room to do better, and there is only one goal: to make America great for every American.”
The entire column can be found at http://time.com/4470565/teens-for-trump/
Erickson criticized Pearson when he announced that he was leaving behind the failed campaigns of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, where he served as head of “Teens for Ted,” and joining the ranks of Bernie Sanders’ supporters.
“[S]top 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,” Erickson wrote last December. See the entire column at http://www.redstate.com/erick/2015/12/09/dear-cj-pearson-shut-up/
Erickson has a point that Pearson’s conservative bent may blow with the wind, but I see the underpinning of Trump and Sanders’ campaigns as quite similar. The two presidential candidates demonstrated the disdain Americans have for the political status quo.
What’s important to me about Pearson is that he asks a critical question about the lives of black Americans: Are they truly better off under Democrats?
Pearson realizes he and his fellow black Americans are not better off. I couldn’t agree more.
Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org
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