What We Can Learn from the Boy who Snuck into the Democratic Debate
Amidst commentary on how Hillary Clinton has ramped up, pointed attacks on Bernie Sanders, and Sanders’ constant mention of how well he is polling, you may have missed one of the most interesting points of the Democratic debate this past weekend: a 17-year-old boy in a handmade silk jacket who–although he didn’t seem out of place–certainly wasn’t where he was supposed to be.
Louis Shenker, a 17-year-old from Longmeadow, Massachusetts was seen on national television as he walked on stage to shake hands with the presidential hopefuls, but that definitely wasn’t the most exciting part of Shenker’s night. In a blog post written by the teen himself this Thursday, Shenker talks all about the pains he went through to get on stage that night, which include some pretty impressive feats. From claiming to be Martin O’Malley’s son to worming his way into the debate hall, this kid may have just pulled off one of the most impressive break-ins of the century.
So, how did he do it? According to Shenker, the recipe for success–when it comes to making your way on stage with some of the country’s most important people–is apparently comprised of a couple of white lies, a slightly above average knowledge of attendees of the Democratic debate, and a hell of a lot of confidence. Or at least, that’s what he claims in his blog post. Apparently Shenker had also snuck into the Republican debate less than a week before, though, he made less of a splash there and mostly hung in the shadows.
The teenage hero–and supposedly qualified didgeridoo player–started his evening by walking up to the gates of the Gaillard Center and claiming he was told he would receive a ticket to the event at the gate. He mentioned he was a representative of several Jewish organizations and was quickly swept up in the crowd, given a staffer pass, and whisked away to help direct people arriving at the event’s entrances. He then weaseled his way inside the media room by announcing he was writing an article for the World Jewish Congress. Finally, Shenker made his way to the main room of the debate by telling security he was a seat filler–could this guy get any more ballsy? In a last ditch attempt to secure the world’s most impressive fake-out, Shenker made it on stage after the debate, writing in his blog that his motivation was as follows:
At this point I said to myself fuck it I was going to get on stage with the candidates. So I followed the families of the candidates through the side exit to backstage and past many secret service agents none of which stopped me. Then I was onstage.
The cameras went live, and there he was, on almost every TV in the nation, immediately gaining attention for his stylish fashion sense and youthful looks. Shenker said his phone was immediately blowing up with snapchats, texts, and tweets from his friends back home who were shocked when they saw his face, front and center, shaking Hillary Clinton’s hand. Some people questioned Shenker’s presence on stage (and his choice of jacket) at the end of the debate, taking to the internet to voice their opinions and surprise:
— David Lew (@davidlew) January 18, 2016
— Kyle (@semiserious) January 18, 2016
Honestly, this had to have been a pretty cool night and an experience we can all probably be jealous of. Shenker met countless celebrities, was featured on national television in a suave, retro jacket, and pulled off a pretty magnificent stunt. His blog has gone viral and he has gained almost instant fame–Killer Mike even gave him a shoutout on Twitter.
The moral of the story? Take some risks, I guess. Don’t be afraid to shoot for the stars because, sometimes, you may literally be able to reach them. As cheesy as it sounds, we can all probably take a page out of Shenker’s book and follow his words of advice:
If there is one thing this experience has taught me it is if you act like you are supposed to be somewhere people will believe you.
As the new year keeps rolling in, I know I’ll be keeping this advice in the back of my mind. And, hey, maybe if the presidential candidates start acting a little bit more like they belong in the White House, they too can achieve their dreams.