Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Goodbye Columbus

Congratulations to the football team at the Ohio State University, which won the first-ever national college football title on Monday night.  The Buckeyes were not kind to the web-footed Oregon Ducks in a 42-20 blowout, which was good for the OSU fans.

But then. Here's what was not good. Within minutes of the end of the game, held on the first day of classes for the spring term at State, students all over Columbus set aside their beer mugs   bongs   textbooks and decent upbringings to take to the streets en masse, jumping on police vehicles, burning couches and I don't know what-all else, and generally engaging in riotous behavior.

I don't want to be that man who stands on the front porch with his reading glasses in one hand, shaking his pointer finger at a group of adolescents eddying about by the Biscayne in the carport, hollering at them to "Get off this yard!"  The students of Ohio State, 136 miles from Kent State, have every right to assemble in a peaceable manner, congratulating each other on the team's victory.

I mean, if they planned to congratulate the team's individual members when they saw them in class, they would likely be waiting a long time to see them in a seminar on Euclidean geometry.

What they don't have the right, or need, to do is set fire to dumpsters or couches (why is it always the couches?) to mark the achievements of other people.

Yet, this is the new American norm.  You think of photos and newsreel footage of V-J Day, of baseball and football championships from the era in which people had a bit of respect for the property of others and their own dignity, and you see jubilant crowds dancing around and getting all happy.  You don't see overturned cars, 19-year olds dancing atop paddy wagons, clouds of teargas, Broyhill sofas becoming pyres to try to set the night on fire.

On the student paper website, students bragged and posted "sweet" pictures of dumpsters ablaze and crowds amuck.  These same students will decry lawlessness and savage vandalism to dumpsters and cars the minute they own dumpsters and cars, but for now, "We won!  So just let me make a mess all over your property!"

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