Many of you are familiar with the story of Jonathan Krohn. He’s the Atlanta child conservative who was lionized by GOP bigwigs after giving a speech at 2009’s CPAC convention when he was only 13. Krohn was back in the news last week after Politico ran a story announcing he now considers himself a political progressive.
Until today I’ve made a point of avoiding writing about Krohn. I didn’t think it was fair to scrutinize him too closely for the words he spoke at CPAC, nor do believe it’s fair to give him grief for changing his mind. What’s the point of learning if we don’t allow what we learn to change our minds? We should venerate people who change their minds after being exposed to new information. Changing your mind should be as American as apple pie . . . or an American-flag deviled tray.
Back to Krohn. I’m breaking my self-imposed Krohnbargo not to talk about his politics or the jerks who say mean things to him and about him. Instead I want to draw attention to the fact that, holy crap, at 17 Jonathan Krohn is already a fantastic essayist.
His recent Salon essay on his political evolution is fluid, frank, and uncommonly self-aware.
I was tired of the right using me as an example of how young people “get” what they’re talking about — when it’s obvious that I didn’t get what I talking about at all. I mean, come on, I was between 13 and 14 when I was regurgitating these talking points! What does a kid who has never paid a tax bring to the table in a conversation about the burden of taxes? What does a healthy child know about people who can’t afford healthcare because of preexisting conditions? No matter how intelligent a person might be, certain political issues require life experience; they’re much more complicated than the black and white frames imposed by partisan America.
He’s also very funny:
So this is what this story boils down to: A 17-year-old has different opinions than he did at 13. People may be disappointed by how underwhelming that is, but it’s how the world works. Some people move on with life, mature, and realize that they don’t know everything nor will they ever know everything. Then again, some don’t. I would love it if a bunch of angry right-wingers stopped saying stupid things about me. I also want a six-pack, a mansion in the Hamptons and a beautiful woman with cans the size of my head. None of these things will happen, and I’m pretty comfortable with that. More accurately, I’m comfortable with who I am, which is all I can ever hope for anyway.
Instead of filing Krohn under “Republican” or “Democrat” in our minds, I propose we file him under “gifted Atlanta writer who crafts better essays at 17 than many adult, employed professional writers.”