The know-all pundits of the media, roundly criticizing President Trump for injecting political rhetoric into his speech to the Boy Scout Jamboree in W. VA on Jul 24, 2017, have again succeeded in proving the opposite: urgency to fully expose America’s youth, certainly those 18 or older and eligible to vote, but also those under 18, to politics in both their school curriculum and extracurricular activities.
The voting rate for the 18-24 group is dismal, in the 30% range, about half of the more mature groups. They are simply not interested, deprived as they are of initiation into politics, unlike rock climbing, by dimwits like Michael Surbaugh, American Boy Scout Chief, who sends out apologies everywhere for Donald’s corruption of the tender with toxic political fare (see Retract and Resign, typakmusings.com, 8-6-2017).
Why, then, have we made them vote at all? To allay the nation’s guilt for killing so many of them in WW II, Korean War, and especially Vietnam War. In the 1970’s the motto, “old enough to fight, old enough to vote,” becomes strident enough to make it the law of the land, though this motivation, felt somewhat crude, is often covered up by more highfalutin ideological drapery such as the argument that American youth at 18, more educated and mature in judgment than their forebears at 21, 25, or even 30 a scant generation or two ago, thanks to TV, deserve the franchise to be full-fledged participating, decision-making citizens. Curiously, their financial dependency is never an issue, because many geezers are on public dole, too, and yet are allowed to vote. Plutocracy is a definite no-no in America.
But by the same token the voting age should be lowered even further to 13 or less in the Information Age, the internet incomparably more powerful as a teaching tool than anything known before. Most people, however, will draw the line at 18, the draft age, demonstrating the fatuity of the ideology. A bunch of ignoramuses when it comes to politics, our minors can’t care less about the responsibilities of citizenship.
In contrast the voting rate for the 35-65 is 60% and that for those 65 and older over 70%, especially post-graduates pushing 90%, bearing out the Aristotelian dictum that politics is the supreme art, its material unruly humans, by nature greedy, envious, and treacherous, to master and savor which takes a whole life time and advanced studies.
We have therefore no time to lose to educate our young politically, maybe as early as kindergarten as they start speaking and reading. Instead of sweeping it under the rug and bringing on only music or sports politics should take center stage.
Schools should have teachers talk about politics in class, taking care to expose their students to the whole spectrum, so they gain perspective. Also politicians and political party representatives should be invited over as much as policemen, pastors, orphanage directors, prison wardens.
Outside school the current policy to insulate churches from politics seems wrong as far as the young members are concerned. Youth leaders of the church should devise programs to instill political awareness into their charges.
Likewise the Boy Scout Jamboree should have Donald over as often as possible and also, in fairness, Hillary and other adversaries, screening based entirely on their effectiveness in getting their point across.