It is the time of year when campaign signs start popping up like dandelions on roadsides. As with Halloween scariness scenes, holiday lights, and Independence Day fireworks the Lakewood landscape takes on a new look which, as the candidates hope, will be etched in the minds of voters. I often try to think like a kid – which is a lot easier than getting my middle-aged body to act like a kid – and thinking so, I wonder what do youth gain from the “political season”. Although the primaries are relatively gentle, and sadly with poor voter participation, the general election is bound to be nasty with confusing ads blasted from all sides of political ideologies. This must confuse and alarm youth greatly.
It is not the role of Lakewood’s Promise to endorse political candidates, although, thinking like a kid and reading the voter’s pamphlet there are some real cool off-the-wall candidates out there – especially for the US Senate. But, I believe in the spirit of EFFECTIVE EDUCATION, it is OK for Lakewood’s Promise to let candidates know that youth and teens matter, and that one can become a better candidate by talking with, and educating kids about local issues.
To all those seeking votes:
- Have you visited a youth program lately?
- Do you know what youth programs go on in your own neighborhood?
- Do you know which programs are struggling and why? Is it funding? Is it transportation?
- Are you informed on health issues for youth? Do you know why kids miss school?
- Have you thought about a way to reduce the high school drop out rates?
- Are teen volunteers helping with your campaign?
- Have you sat down and had a heart-to heart conversation with a kid about his/her hopes and dreams and does any legislation that you have planned fit in towards achieving that child’s goals?
There are a few initiatives across the country to lower the voting age. Some believe it should be 16 – the age you can work and start paying certain payroll taxes. Most argue that a kid’s vote will be influenced by their parents; yet they said the same about the influence of husbands when women were struggling to get their own vote. What would be cool however, is if candidates treated young people as if they DID have the right to vote. Possibly, with voter participation being so low, the kids may influence the parents.
Candidates – let us know what you are doing for youth. You can post your comments here.