The years I spent in high school were fraught with all the angst a 1960’s era teen could face. There were no cell phones, no fb, no internet, no texting . . . we rode the city bus to and from school because we could not afford vehicles. Blah, blah, blah.
There were a lot of things we did NOT have – but there were a lot of things we DID have as well.
Some of the discussions in our PoD (Problems of Democracy) classes (now called social studies) centered around the government and elections and the Past – because if we did not learn from the past we were certain to repeat the past. That’s what they said.
A big item of discussion was whether or not 18 year olds should have the right to vote. Mind you, ALL US citizens had NOT always had the right to vote. The RIGHT to vote was hard sought, hard fought, and hard won.
We were separated in our idealistic world of beliefs even then. Some held that 18 year olds were too young to know or care what was going on in the US – thus could not vote with knowledge. Some held that 18 = old enough to go to VietNam (many returning in body bags) = old enough to vote for the people sending them there.
1971 saw the 26th amendment passed giving 18 year olds the right to vote. I was 21 that year. I voted in my first presidential election in the Nixon McGovern race. I’ve not missed a presidential election since – have not missed many state or local elections, either. Voting is a PRIVILEGE and a RIGHT. My foremothers could not vote because they were women. I’m thankful that I CAN vote.
You know I’m going somewhere with this, right?
It is a presidential election year (REALLY? Gosh, Moosie, we did NOT know that) /sarcasm. I asked a young person near and dear to my heart – who recently turned 18 – about voter registration. Not only is this person not registered, but there is no desire to vote in the election.
The community that does not take advantage of its rights gives those rights away.
I am becoming my grandmother. She bemoaned the generation that was mine. We proved her wrong in lots of ways. I am not bemoaning this millennial generation, but I AM hoping that they will take the reins and go forward and BE the changing force our country needs. They can do it. I have that faith.
Go – register – learn the issues – vote your conscience (not what your mother or I say) – Go and make us proud.