I’d be surprised to discover there’s a parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or teacher (anyone who’s had contact) with a middle schooler who hasn’t heard the Great Whine, or forms thereof. It is a bit disturbing to hear the Great Whines emanating from the White House. For those who haven’t had a 12-14 year old in close proximity recently, the Great Whine comes with perfectly predictable elements.
I didn’t do it. Yeah, right. Like the sheets and towels aren’t blue-gray after a pair of denim jeans (just your size) were tossed into the washing machine?
Okay, but everyone does it. No. Only people immature and foolish enough to think that parents don’t notice other parents aren’t getting memos from the school about children who sling toilet paper around the rest room do it.
Yeah, but So and So was the one who made me do it. Please. This household believes in Free Will. You did it, you own it. We also believe in the Pottery Barn Rule — you break it, you buy it. Next time you might want to have a quick thought before succumbing to some silly antic or prank.
It’s no big deal. Uh, yes it is. When you screw up it’s a big enough deal. If it were not a big deal no one would be noticing it, much less commenting.
But, it’s not really bad. Wrong again me bucko. If it violates the norms of civilized behavior, causes harm to anyone or anything, is a misdemeanor or perhaps even a low grade felony…it’s bad.
It’s not fair. Oh yes it is. Even if your friend didn’t get his skateboard confiscated because he flunked his last English test, even if your friend didn’t get grounded for throwing tomatoes at the neighbor’s cat, even if your friend (real or imagined) didn’t get into trouble for leaving left-over pizza out on the living room table overnight… you are not the victim of a misinterpretation of Universal Divine Law. You screwed up, and there are consequences.
The problem with the Pennsylvania Avenue Junior High is that the stakes are so much higher than those associated with the usually small misdemeanors of young adolescents. Yes, there are highly questionable meetings with agents of a hostile foreign power. There are profound questions about the enforcement of sanctions imposed on that country for invading a sovereign nation, occupying that nation’s territory, and attacking the election processes of western democracies, and for egregious violations of human rights.
There are questions concerning the enforcement of those sanctions by a government the leadership of which may have financial connections of a nature as to make the desires of the foreign power of greater importance than the needs of our own nation. These questions need answers. Those findings may range from the inconvenient to the felonious, but applying the Cliché of the Day: We need to follow the facts.