CITY NOTES: How to win friends (and future elections)

Imran Khan should dismiss any suspicions he may have entertained of his Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood, after the burst of popularity he enjoyed among schoolchildren after he announced that the winter break would be extended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Shafqat Mehmood has lost in popularity ever since he announced a phased reopening of schools. The children in senior classes are angrily asking what they did wrong to have to go to school early.
I think we old people don’t realise how much the pandemic is designed to target adults. First, the sysmptoms get worse with age. The young may not even catch it, while things have just got scarier for older people, what with the new variant from the United Kingdom apparently sweeping the world much as the original virus did. While adults go around worrying about the worldwide loss in education, children look on the pandemic as the closer of schools and the averter of exams. Meanwhile, the younger ones have pinned their hopes on a meeting Shafqat chairs on the 15th this week, that is to take a final decision.
That will determine the youth vote of the future. How do you think Imran won the youth vote apparently forever? It was by winning the World Cup in 1992. If Shafqat can’t win the future youth vote now, he can cash it in sometime in the future.
There’re two things going against him. First, the children of today may favour schools opening when they’re parents themselves. Free from any prospect of being thrown in durance vile themselves, they would have grown to see schools as places to dump the kids for a few hours of peace. You know, the pandemic has been harder on kids because not only do they have to go to work, and face the risk of death, the kids are at home all day, and you can’t send them out to play.
I wonder if the pandemic is partly to blame for the attempt to take over the US Capitol by Trump supporters, in an attempt to get Congress not to do what it was supposed to, and certify that Joe Biden had won the presidential election. People tend to get overexcited when they leave home after a long time. I also noticed from the footage that they didn’t even pretend to do any social distancing. As for masks, forget it.
The attack on the Capitol was really a poor advertisement of democracy at work. Next thing you know, members will start brawling in the chamber, like in Taiwan. And Taiwan has strict gun laws. The US does not, if you see what I mean… Americans might like to think they’re still hardy frontiersmen who eat only what they’ve killed, but it isn’t like that anymore.
Those who attacked Congress had guns aplenty, but no one seems to have lent them to any Congressman, but then there has been at least one hostile takeover of the Capitol. Before, British troops occupied the Capitol back in 1814. But what came to my mind was the ransacking of the White House at the inauguration of Andrew Jackson back in 1824, by all of those people who had come to attend it. Jackson was one of the first ‘outsiders’ elected on a pledge to clean up Washington.
I was also reminded of the 1933 Reicstag fire, which was started by a Dutch communist, and paved the way for the anti-communist decrees that allowed the Nazi takeover. Then there was the storming of parliament by Imran Khan’s PTI during the 2014 dharna. So, it’s not just the pandemic in which the world learned from Pakistan.
I’m not arguing about right and wrong. But while democracy is the way adults have to settle things (looking solemn, smoking pipes and nodding at each other with little frowns on the face). Coups are the way children have: throwing a temper tantrum. All the protesters left out was bringing loaded nappies to the Capitol.

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