Friday, June 03, 2005

High school politics: All you need to know.

High school politics: All you need to know.: "It's amazing how high school social rules can go on to dictate political rhetoric."

Maybe those Republic of Texas guys aren't so crazy afterall.

I remember the cliques - the jocks, the band-nerds, the punks, the thugs, and the nerds. I knew everyone of them. I talked to them in the hallways. Life was just that way at my small high school. We seperated at lunch, but before the high school segregation, we grew up together. At some point, we were all just alike.

I remember middle school - when the cliques were still just starting to form - competing with everyone for the best grades. Imagine that, an entire class that cared about their grades. In those times, smart kids were cool. It was 7th grade that all that changed. Band and athletics were added to the curriculum, but in a small school, kids could do both. It was all about just participating - doing something other than going home after school and watching television until the parents came home and forced us to do our homework, which we didn't mind because it allowed us to go to our room and avoid our families until dinner.

In high school, what changed was who we hung out with on the weekends and what we did after school. This is what seperated us during high school. If you were involved in any extra-curricular activities - which most people were - then you were 'cool.' There was the jocks v band nerds rivalry, but when a quarter of the band participates in some sport, it was more a running joke between the two. Everyone had a "live and let live" policy regarding everyone else. And, really, we were all joined together by our disregard for authority. We all laughed at and made-fun of teachers and principals.

We were a group of kids that hated expectation. We clung together in this battle of us versus them. We didn't like being controlled and threatened; those acts of authority only fueled our rebellion. We weren't bad kids. That's what high school was about to us. There was the drama, but most of us were either drawn into it or volunteered for it - that's what we talked about while we sat around parent-less houses and drank and smoked. And most of the time, we always laughed at it. Tolerance was offering a beer, and respect was not taking someone's last cigarette. It didn't matter what clique you ate lunch with, those were the rules on Friday and Saturday night.

Maybe if politicians would learn lessons like these from small-town life, we wouldn't be so partisan these days. But everything now is I'm right and you're wrong and it doesn't matter if I don't have a stake in any of your concerns or not. In many ways, I was more grown-up then, than I am now. I stand for issues that don't affect me because they matter to others - it's respectful, but it shouldn't be necessary. If only politicians and their constituents would learn that any beer and smoke they offer, now, is going to come back around later.


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