To the child crusaders of the “Royal Oak Park Youth Action League”: 

Quit kidding yourselves. You have no power and no influence. You’re being exploited by a small group of adult cowards who are using you as shields. Those people are right out of Dostoevsky’s novel Demons where 19th-century Russians from a hick town like to play at revolution, as if they are in Moscow or St. Petersburg. 

Oak Park is a similar Podunk village, pretending that the two nearby “universities” have any significance, and that we’re some Midwest cultural Mecca. When Oak Park speaks, the nation listens. After all, we’re a Nuclear-free Zone, and we’ve had no bombs dropped. 

You claim that “Black Lives Matter” and you’re being oppressed by the police, but they stop and question suspicious people only one-and-a-half times a month, on average. Most of the “protestors” at the Village President’s home were white females too young to vote, or so the photos show. Then they went back to the safety of Mommy’s house. Evidently, you’ve been deprived of a deprived childhood.

Has the Village President listened? There are 52,000 people living here, and he obviously can’t talk to everyone. Why are you special? You wrote him and the trustees, and they voted on similar matters. You lost, and you won’t be getting your way. The vote was 5-2, and those two have already made such jackasses of themselves by their behavior at board meetings that they may not be re-elected. As JFK said, “Life isn’t fair. Get used to it.”

Non-negotiable Demands. Any group that starts with “non-negotiable demands” has already indicated that it doesn’t want to have a dialogue. Read some American History. Oh I forgot, we have a legislator who thinks that we should stop teaching history in the schools because it’s all just white-biased opinion. Read Richard Hofstadter’s book on Anti-Intellectualism in American Life and his book The Paranoid Style in American Politics. You might learn something. You are practicing the McCarthyism of the Left, and you find a white racist under every bed here. If we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem (from Kwame Salter, who’s simpatico with you)? Most of us, presumably including Black people, just want to get on with our lives, with no messianic urge to save the world by next Tuesday.

The Children’s Crusade. You have done great damage to your cause, which is playing at revolution. Shame on the adults who use you. Quit imagining that Oak Park is Bogalusa, Louisiana in the ’60s with police dogs, firehoses and Bull Connor as sheriff. We have a Black police chief. 

The Children’s Crusade ended with the children reaching Marseilles and then being sold into slavery to the Arabs. You’re halfway there already.

Kevin Peppard

Oak Park

Join the discussion on social media!

6 replies on “The child crusaders of Oak Park”