On a Wagon to Nowhere

I had another great talk with the smart, introspective 13-yr. old kid, at church. This time, he expressed an interest in going into politics. He asked what was wrong with politics these days? I started in on one of my goofy parables.

DJ: ” Let me see if I can simplify this. Do your parents agree on everything?”

The Kid: “They don’t agree on anything.”

DJ: “Forget I asked that. Now, next year, you’ll be going to high school. Let’s say your parents disagree on WHICH high school you should attend. Do you think they know you need to GO to high school?”

The Kid: “Yes.”

DJ: “Now, lets say the day school starts, they’re still disagreeing and discussing WHICH school you should be in, while you’re laying around in your room, eating CheetosĀ®, drinking grape soda and playing video games. If you don’t go to school, do you think your development might just be affected.”

The Kid: “Yes, but staying home, playing XBox would be awesome.”

DJ: “Shut up, boy.”

Then, I drew a crude illustration of what was supposed to be an aerial view of a Conestoga-style wagon, facing up (North), On one side I drew a donkey, pulling East. On the other side, an elephant, pulling West. I told him to imagine North was uphill.

The Kid: “Brother De Juan, you can’t draw.”

DJ: “I’m a writer, not an artist! Focus, son! Which way does the wagon NEED to move?

The Kid: “Forward…uh…up.”

DJ: “Exactly! Now imagine the donkey and the elephant spending all their time arguing about stuff like what they should eat before pulling, how much energy they’re going to use to pull the wagon and where they’re going to park the wagon when they arrive…all while pulling in separate directions and neither is forward. What’s happening there?”

The Kid: “That wagon’s not going anywhere.”

DJ: “That’s what’s going on in America, son.”

The Kid: “You call THAT ‘simplifying?”