White House “bullying summit” plays to the cheap seats

President Obama launches his 2012 reelection campaign with a triple attack against young people, a legacy of former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s cowardly Clinton-era politics of generational fearmongering. The White House’s calculated efforts to win “values” voters’ support by cynically trashing America’s young as bullies, rapists, and violent criminals—and its conspicuous silence on genuine but impolitic issues like youth poverty and child abuse—demonstrate the growing dishonesty of an administration that promised change and hope to win young people’s enthusiasm, then delivered the same old bigoted anti-youth clichés and exploitation. The White House summit on bullying, like the President’s sudden concern over gay teens’ suicides, really shows how limited and selective Americans’ compassion for young people is. Poverty, family abuses, and abandonment kill far more teens, gay and straight, but we rarely hear about these distressing realities amid politician, expert, and media eagerness to exploit easy crowd-pleasers like “student bullying.”