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Jelalian: Why's everyone being so childish?

I’ve got two kids, both boys. They’re three and one respectively.

The oldest is incredibly high energy and leaps first and thinks later. He loves making people smile and is always performing.

The younger one is much more methodical. He’ll slowly ease his way into things so he does get hurt. The youngest also doesn’t give a crap about performing. If he wants to do something, he’ll do it, and if he doesn’t want to, best of luck getting him to do it.

I love both of my kids, but almost every day there’s at least one moment where I want to put them in a box full of fruit snacks and packing peanuts and mail them to grandma’s house for a week.

You see, the thing about kids is they’re dumb.

I don’t mean they’re unintelligent. My oldest will talk your ear off and the youngest has found ways to convey fairly complicated ideas without yet uttering a word.

What I mean is that their teeny tiny brains are not fully developed, and frankly, won’t be fully developed for another decade or two.

This isn’t unusual. In fact, it’s normal. Study after study shows that human brains take a long time to mature and develop.

We’re used to giving kids more and more responsibility as they age, which is good, but we oftentimes forget that they’re still undeveloped hoodlums that can’t always think things through.

Hence the packing peanuts.

Because their noggins are undeveloped, and we’re civilized human beings, we have rules in our family so we don’t end up killing each other.

The kids are allowed to have their doors open at night, but if we catch them outside of their room for a non-bathroom-related reason those doors get shut for the rest of the night. They can have a pb&j for dinner if they have at least one bite of whatever we made and they decide they don’t like it. Alexa’s timer setting is the ultimate authority of when it’s time to stop or start doing a thing.

That’s right, we worship at the house of Bezos. That’s what happens when they cancel normal church.

These rules are there because my kids aren’t old enough to make their own decisions yet. Their brains are still made of pudding. Not only do these rules keep them safe, but they help us (the parents) out as well.

Naptime rules are important. They give everyone a break to cool off, get some chores done, and they give us some added daylight hours to work from home so we don’t have to work as late into the evening as we would otherwise.

We can’t do any of those things if the kids aren’t in their rooms. This means everyone’s more on edge, the house looks more like a disaster than usual, and the work piles up for my wife and me.

Everyone loses.

As the kids get older, they’ll hopefully spend less of their time sneaking into the van at night to play during bedtime (a real thing that has happened) and those rules regarding staying in their rooms can change. But first, they have to earn those open doors.

I’ve been thinking about this in relation to the argument of whether or not masks should be made mandatory in the state.

When all of this COVID-19 stuff started in the U.S., it barely seemed to affect Utah. So much so that we started opening up the economy a lot faster than some other states like my home state of Michigan.

The problem is, so many Utahns have taken the reopening as an end of the pandemic, and not an indicator of trust.

Now we’re at a point where our hospitals may be overtaken by COVID cases, nobody wears a mask, and Typhoid Gary still hasn’t quite gotten to the point where he’s willing to make some hard decisions about mandatory facemasks.

Where we were once sitting pretty while Michigan was taking a hit, we’re now about to be overwhelmed and Gov. Whitmer has the coronavirus almost completely under control.

Their longer-term precautions worked where our early reopening has seemed to fail.

Now, I’d love it if the state didn’t have to require its residents to wear masks.

It’d be great if we all just did it because it was the right thing to do. Between masks and social distancing, we could mostly eliminate our COVID problems like everyone else who’s adopted that strategy.

But we clearly can’t be trusted to do it on our own.

The numbers show that much.

I think we can all agree that there are a lot of dumb laws and policies that are just dumb.

But making sure people wear masks during a pandemic that threatens to overwhelm our hospitals isn’t.

Maybe after we’ve collectively shown that we can be trusted not to spread disease, the rules can change, but until then, something needs to.


The only good people in history

Truly, we live in auspicious times.

Those who have sinned will be cast down; those who are sinless will set new social standards for the rest of us. After all, we now live in the only generation ever to produce truly virtuous human beings.

What else should we make of the graceless religious wokeness promoted by our moral betters, such immaculate moral personages as Robin DiAngelo, author of “White Fragility,” and Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of The New York Times’ pseudo-historical 1619 Project? DiAngelo informs us that all white people are sinners by nature, inculcated in the evils of whiteness and utterly incapable of repenting such sin ... unless, of course, they purchase a diversity training course. DiAngelo says that it isn’t enough to oppose racism: we must “interrupt” the systems in which we live in order to become “anti-racist,” a vaguely defined term apparently meaning nothing so much as parroting the more purple writings of Ibram X. Kendi.

Hannah-Jones, meanwhile, happily takes credit for the rioting and looting that has wracked the country and that she has spent time justifying — she recently thanked a critic online for terming this unrest “the 1619 riots.” Furthermore, we are informed by this arbiter of the great and the good that we must never say that figures like Ulysses S. Grant — a man who wrecked the Confederacy and devastated the Ku Klux Klan but also held one of his wife’s slaves in bondage before freeing him — were “men of their times.” After all, “Hitler was a man of his time. Osama bin Laden was a man of his time,” she said in a now-deleted tweet.

We, however, live in an age of true heroes — people who live outside of time; people of sterling quality who need no context, require no nuance and brook no dissent. All who stand before them must bow or be canceled. Old tweets will be resurfaced; old comedy sketches will be censored. All those who came before were complicit in the system, and thus, must pay.

So young woke leftists cheer as they tear down monuments of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson; Generation Z college students chide their parents and grandparents — many of whom, in minority communities, experienced actual discrimination and hardship — as insufficiently committed to the cause of anti-racism. Gisselle Quintero, 18, told The Washington Post about her grandparents.

“(T)hey were prohibited from drinking at ‘whites-only’ fountains after long, hot days of working in the fields,” The Post wrote, and “tried to distinguish themselves by their hard work and achievement.” But, clearly because they lacked enthusiasm for the current woke revolution, “They just kind of suppressed those memories.” Quintero’s grandparents may have overcome actual racism, but she posted news of a protest at a local mall on her social media.

Perhaps we have truly reached the apex of humanity. Or perhaps we are living in a particularly arrogant and self-serving moment when dissociation from America’s history and from other Americans substitutes for actual decency; when canceling others is the point, not a means to an end; when joining the woke mob isn’t about building something better but merely signaling your own saintliness.

Perhaps in reality, those who pull down statues of Washington and Jefferson have accomplished little other than feeling special at the expense of the most special country in human history, and at the expense of their fellow citizens.