Magazine article The New Yorker

Act Your Age

Magazine article The New Yorker

Act Your Age

Article excerpt

Last week, in St. Paul, a band of antiwar protesters outside the Xcel Center confronted a group of stiff-looking guys in business suits as they tried to make their way into the Convention. There were chants of "Shame! Shame!" and a little pushing. Eventually, a flying V of mounted policemen came to the rescue, helping escort the men through the security gates. But the pin-striped guys, it turns out, weren't Republicans; they were a group of teen-agers from the Junior Statesmen Foundation, a nonpartisan student group that helps high-school kids become informed voters. The next day, outside the Ron Paul rally, most of them were still exhilarated by their brush with violence.

"It was fun," Kylar Park, a seventeen-year-old from Guam, who had a faint trace of a mustache, said.

"Yeah," Jordan Shelton, fifteen, from Irving, Texas, said. "We ran over one of the protesters with the horses!"

The demonstrators could be forgiven for their confusion. It was a week when young Republicans acted like old ones; old Republicans acted like giddy teenagers; and, over all--as John McCain's ninety-six-year-old mother made stump speeches, and the new candidate for Vice-President morphed, overnight, from mother to grandmother-to-be--it was hard to keep the generations in order. At the Arkansas party, Mike Huckabee worked a crowd of middle-aged men into a lather with his electric-bass playing on "Sweet Home Alabama," then tossed handfuls of glow sticks from the stage. CNN staffers debated the meaning of MILF versus GMILF at a party for the Louisiana delegation, and an Alaskan delegate who works for Merrill Lynch hatched a plan to flee the Convention hall for the Water Park of America.

At a party given by Rudy Giuliani, on the roof of the Hotel Seven, amid a cloud of cigar smoke, Craig Eaton, of Brooklyn, and Vince Tabone, of Queens, were calling Sarah Palin the new Giuliani. "I think she's great!" Eaton said, over loud Paula Abdul music. "She's got executive experience, and she rallies the base," Tabone said. "I think she's an attractive candidate."

"You can't say that," Eaton said. "It's sexist."

The next morning, Miss Texas, Rebecca Robinson, explained Palin's appeal. "Here's the deal," she said. …

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