Their sentiments ran from sympathy to outrage when asked about the Pelosi Plane issue that was inflated by GOP whiners like Adam Putnam, Fl-12 and Patrick McHenry, NC-10. The Mecklenburg and Stanly County teens who responded were almost all male and almost all sympathetic to the travel needs of Nancy Pelosi.
The Charlotte Observer has made my day with this piece in the editorial section. Let me give you a taste of what was said, but you do need to follow the link and read them all. This will look like a long quote, but it is only small snippets from some of the students.
Q. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, the first woman speaker, was criticized recently for requesting access to an Air Force transport plane. Former Speaker Dennis Hastert flew in a military jet as well for security reasons. The speaker of the House is third in line for the presidency. The transport is a bigger plane than Hastert's though and critics, including North Carolina's Rep. Patrick McHenry, called the request a luxury and environmentally bad. But the House sergeant-at-arms, who helps oversee security for the House, suggested that flying nonstop would be the safest way home to California for Pelosi. That non-stop flight requires a bigger plane. The White House has called the controversy much ado about nothing. Pelosi said she is "happy to ride commercial if the plane provided doesn't go coast to coast." Some have called the controversy sexist, noting that Pelosi deserves the same consideration that the male Hastert got. But critics persist, saying Pelosi wants a larger plane to fly cronies and top political donors. What do you think?
Bryan Grossman, 20, UNC Chapel Hill: I find it comical that a man such as Rep. Patrick McHenry would suggest something of that nature . . . Shouldn't a representative from North Carolina talk about North Carolina? Shouldn't he be talking about corruption within his own party that caused Republican seats to be lost in an election? Shouldn't he talk about a war that his party was responsible for directing? . . .
Alex Li, 17, Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte: I think that Pelosi has every right to request safe passage home, even if that means riding in an Air Force transport plane. If the sergeant-at arms believes that flying nonstop is the safest way home, then there shouldn't be much of an argument . . . Any criticism that she receives is either from sexists or from Republicans . . .
Julie Flanagan, 16, home-schooled, Charlotte: Frankly, I am a little upset that we are pouring this much time into such a non-important question . . .
Jacob Keady, 12, Marvin Ridge Middle School, Waxhaw: I think speaker Pelosi should have accesss to a larger plane, only for security purposes . . . The reason I think she is being criticized is because she is a Democrat. Of course, she could be being critized because she is a woman. Belive it or not, sexism has been in the United States since it's birth. [SD - He's 12 people . . . this kid is freaking 12 years old!]
Khevna Desai, 14, School of Math, Engineering, Technology, and Science @ Olympic High, Charlotte: Former speaker of the house Dennis Hastert flew in the military jet for security reasons. His plane was smaller because he needed transportation from Illinois, to Washington D.C. Pelosi needs a bigger plane because it has been found necessary for security reasons, to fly non-stop. Rep. Patrick McHenry is being childish instead of concentrating on more important matters. The criticism is misguided. If the critics have such a problem with the matter, instead of stirring up controversy they should talk to those in charge of her transportation and security. I think that Pelosi is being criticized because she is a woman, and a Democrat.
Peter Thao, 15, North Stanly High School, New London: If the House Sergeant-at-Arms office wants Nancy Pelosi to take a military plane, then why can't she take the C-32 plane? She said she would be happy to take a commercial plane, but the House Sergeant-at-arms office keeps urging her to take a military plane . . .
Evan Heilig, 14, North Stanly High School, New London: I do think that Nancy Pelosi should be able to have the Air Force transport to take her to California. I think that people are just being sexist, and they just need to back off. Mrs. Pelosi has got a really stressful job and one of the most important jobs at that. This is a new age, and I believe that women should have the right to have just as much as men. Mrs. Pelosi works just as hard as any other person with that job, so she should be able to have the rewards that come with it.
Believe it or not, there's quite a bit more. A large majority of the kids seemed to understand the issue as it was presented and a couple had knowledge beyond that presented in the question posed by the Observer.
Sure, there are some grammar and spelling problems, but more importantly it seems that these kids have a better grasp of this issue than most adults - including most of the reporters who acted as stenographers for the whining wingnuts in Washington.
Please head on over to the Observer and enjoy reading the responses. There are only a couple that appeared to be written by kool-aid kids and that's with a large number of responses from heavily Republican Stanly County.