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Indiana University students on strike over tuition increases and the privatization of colleges services. April 11th, 2013)
       Looking back in the history books, we see that from the 1950s until the 1970s, youth were rebellious and fought for progressive change.  Sadly this movement like all movements eventually fade out, and the movement of progressive you ceased by the 1980s.

    Examining back when the movement was alive, the youth fought for the right to vote at the age of 18, queer rights, women’s rights, and for peace and the environment; and many of those viewpoints began to exist in legislative policies.

    Ever since the 1980s, the government has made a noticeable hard-turn to the right. Under Reagan and the first President Bush, the progressive policies put into place since FDR began to dissipate. Instead, the United States embraced deregulation and promoted the free-market which has now come back to haunt us.

    Activism of the youth has risen tremendously over the last few years, and I believe part of that increase came from the concept of “change” that every candidate offered during the 2008 election and the then there is the growing cost of tuition.

    Occupy has been led by the youth who at the same time have been learning from the older activists who were the counter-culture in the 60s and 70s.
What bewilders me is that for some reason our lawmakers feel like that when someone turns 18, they have the political consciousness to vote, but not run for office as if the two things don’t relate to each other at all.

    As someone who is 19-years old and has involved himself in campaigns against poverty and violence as well as in movements like Occupy, I have experienced and learned so much from the interactions of people that I would have never gotten from simply watching the news, going to some fancy law school, or watching a political debate.

Although civil rights leaders like King and Malcom X were great leaders, it was young people who rallied around them and did most of the organizing. Many young people were told by their elders to just simple accept the racism and don’t risk any danger, but instead those young people formed groups like Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

Tottle House in Atlanta, GA, occupied during a SNCC sit-in in 1963.
    The problem is that we haven’t moved past the stigma that young people don’t understand the world yet and only have egoistic motives to their actions and viewpoints. But look at how young people have been affected by the current economic crisis; young people face higher-unemployment and higher tuition costs, many teenagers have been force to get jobs in order to help their parents provide food for them and their younger siblings. As I have been involved in actions and campaigns against higher tuition costs, I’ve met people who can’t afford college who are working, and yet can’t get financial aid because each year the government, on both the federal and state levels, keep on cutting back the financial resources to students.  These are the stories that you don’t hear on the news.

       Not allowing my generation into Congress makes us unrepresented. Congress has shown no interests in fixing the student-debt crisis or the high unemployment of young people. The only time politicians have shown any interests in the issues of the youth is during the election when they want the youth to vote and volunteer on their campaigns.

    The youth today are more progressive and do favor things like gay rights, women’s rights, income and wage equality, low-cost or free education and healthcare, laws and protections preventing racism and sexism especially in education and with the way that the police treat people.

    Until we allow these progressive thinkers into Congress, the progressive ideologies that the left holds will continue to disappear as the right continues to overturn things like the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Roe V. Wade.

    Young people are usually the innovators of society; they haven’t been subjected to the doctrine of boundaries and the mindset that “things are the way that they are and there’s no need to change it” yet.  Look at people like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates who in the 70s help push our technology far beyond what anyone could have dreamed of. A more recent example would be websites like Facebook or Twitter created by young people who had an idea.

    Now, let’s ask ourselves what would happen if we were to put progressive and innovative youth into our government; maybe they would be able to come up with ideas that no one would have thought would have worked.

    Until we allow young people into Congress, a whole generation of thinkers and citizens are not having their voice heard.  

Originally posted to Alex Forgue on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by Youth Kos 2.0.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Cant be any worse than having old coots ruin (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alexforgue, commonmass, AnnieR, Urizen, Tool

    the country.

    I would be concerned about a population of teens entering the American Political system and being changed into soulless plutocrats before the age of 22.

  •  The Constitutional Limits are 25 and 30 (14+ / 0-)

    25 for the House and 30 for the Senate.  I would think anyone under those ages who want to run for office would probably be better off going to school and running for local offices. That's probably a better way to get experience and contacts for support anyway.

    •  And what about State offices? (5+ / 0-)

      I get many of us want to jump to the national level, because that is where some of the biggest fights are.  But there is another side, which is we need good state government and local government.  

      •  I agree! (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Urizen, jlms qkw, MadGeorgiaDem, Tool

        State Offices are just as important, but they have the 25 and 30 limits also.

        State offices and Congress are the ones that make decisions on things like gay rights,women's rights, environmental policies, healthcare and education. (The policies that most young people care about)

        Although local government is a good start, it is important to have representatives from each generation in each. I don't think young people are as interested in deciding where a stop light goes than they are in the other issues that I listed above.

        :)

        •  21 to run for the PA State House (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adam B, jlms qkw, Tool, Neuroptimalian

          I know, because I helped manage a campaign of one 21yo waaay back when.

          and there's mayors, councils, and more that don't have any requirements.

        •  most states don't have age limits (0+ / 0-)

          I could find no hint of an age requirement for office in Washington, except that one has to be a registered voter (and therefore at least 18).

          Age just plain isn't a consideration in Washington state politics.

          BTW, as I noted in my report on my Electoral College experience, one of the state's 2012 Electors was 18 years old. At the time he was chosen by his Congressional District caucus in May 2012, he wasn't yet old enough to register as a voter.

          Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

          by N in Seattle on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 12:02:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'd be all for it. (6+ / 0-)

    Only trouble is, electing an 18 year old progressive to Congress isn't going to be any easier than electing a 30 year old progressive to Congress.  

  •  No…No…No…this will never do! (5+ / 0-)

    How are lobbyists going to take you out for a free and full night of drinking and carousing legally?

  •  someone had a username (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, Neuroptimalian

    runningforcongresswheniam25 or something like that.

    go to college, run for local office or state office.  

    Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

    by jlms qkw on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:39:32 AM PDT

  •  also (0+ / 0-)

    please consider replying to comments in your diaries.  

    Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

    by jlms qkw on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:40:33 AM PDT

  •  That's too young for national office, but I think (3+ / 0-)

    for local and some state offices that would be fine. I think young people need to get an education first and foremost, then spend a few years working and gaining life experiences before heading off to Washington.

    There are some under the age of 25 who could handle being a represenative or a senator and excel, but I believe people need the benefit of education and experience which they would not have going into Congress straight out of high school.

    Guns are never the principle in the commission of a crime, but they are usually an accomplice

    by MadGeorgiaDem on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:41:22 AM PDT

    •  "There are some..." (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Urizen, MadGeorgiaDem
      There are some under the age of 25 who could handle being a represenative or a senator and excel...
      Looking at the current Congress, I'm thinking that you're setting the bar a bit high there.  We've already got way too many there who can't handle the job and don't excel.

      This problem is likely due to a system where the requirement to win the job, i.e. the ability to raise tons of money and win an election, has little to do with the ability to perform the job.

      •  I respect your opinion, but (3+ / 0-)

        I think 25 is plenty young enough to run for Congress and 30 is plenty young enough to be a senator.

        I've spent all of my adult life working with people in the 18-24 age group in the military and in teaching college and I think most young people need a little more time before running for Congress. In as much as I believe the current minumum ages are OK, I also believe there should be an upper age limit to hold public office, say 70. In fact, that's where I would start before lowering the minimum age. I don't disagree that we need to clean out the old coots in elected office and on the Supreme Court, we differ on where to start.  

        Where we probably agree is on the campaign financing system, which is atrocious and I believe your observation is correct.

        Guns are never the principle in the commission of a crime, but they are usually an accomplice

        by MadGeorgiaDem on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:16:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  To begin with, I'm a little leery of having (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnny wurster, Neuroptimalian

          someone who hasn't had a few years of experience actually being an independent adult taking such high level offices.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:57:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Especially if they don't understand ... (0+ / 0-)

            that they're supposed to represent the full age range of all their constituents, not just "youth".  Can a youth possibly represent the interests of an experienced adult without actually having been one yet?  Heck, the human brain isn't even fully formed until about age 25.

            "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

            by Neuroptimalian on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 03:16:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  As I mentioned above in the article (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MadGeorgiaDem, Urizen

      We have to remove the stigma that young people don't have any stake or understanding on how things work.

      A college education is great, but going to law-school is going to making you a better politician when it comes to making decisions that are going to affect people's lives.

      Today the youth have become more active and affected by current decisions so to say that someone who is 40 automatically understand the world better than someone who is 20 is wrong.

      Everyone experiences different situations so you can't assume that all young people are apathetic and egoistic citizens who have no life experience.

      •  I don't disagree with your premise. (0+ / 0-)

        I disagree on how to go about it. As I mentioned in a reply, before we start lowering the minimum ages, we really need to discuss a maximum age limit to serve in elected or appointed office. We also need massive campaign finance and lobbying reform to clean out some of the old geezers in both parties. I've never been much on term limits, but I am starting to rethink my position on that given how broken this system has become.

        Whether a person is 18 or 45, they will face the same pressures and temptations and nothing will be solved. The problem in my view is not age; the problem is that we have a corrupt system that spares no age group it's temptations. While I think some young people could handle the job, I don't think many could. The organizational challenges alone would be pretty daunting for most middle-aged people, let alone someone just out of high school. Not to mention a young person having to take on far more skilled and cunning legislators and lobbyists.

        I think this is a great debate, but I believe allowing 18-24 years to serve in Congress would essentially be throwing them into a den of lions without the benefit of experience and education (which can come in many forms).

        Guns are never the principle in the commission of a crime, but they are usually an accomplice

        by MadGeorgiaDem on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:28:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There are enough brats in both the house and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MadGeorgiaDem

      the senate to make this a nonargument for me.

  •  A thought (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neuroptimalian

    create an email with a link to this diary, then schedule it to send to yourself in six years, and again in 11 years, when you're 25 and 30. Seriously, you'll get such a kick out of it.

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:46:49 AM PDT

  •  I'm Not Sure the Age Limits are the Problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlms qkw, johnny wurster, Tool

    For example:

    The minimum age at which one can become a member of the House of Representatives is 25.  Patrick Murphy--the youngest representative--is 30.  The average age of the House of Representatives is 57.

    The youngest age at which one can become a member of the Senate is 30. Chris Murphy--the youngest Senator--is 39.  The average age of the Senate is 62.

    The real kicker is the average age of newly elected officials--49.2 for the House and 53.0 for the Senate...

    It would be an interesting experiment to see if lowering the age at which someone could run would have the effect of lowering the actual age of congress (since right now the limits are 25 and 30 and nobody of those ages is getting in).

    I don't think I could ever vote for an 18 year old, because I was 18 once. :)

    Too Folk For You. - Schmidting in the Punch Bowl - verb - Committing an unexpected and underhanded political act intended to "spoil the party."

    by TooFolkGR on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:49:37 AM PDT

  •  You underestimate what service requires (4+ / 0-)

    It's not just believing the right things, but having the real-world credibility of accomplishment to persuade people that you can succeed once elected. It encompasses demonstrated solid work habits, ability to collaborate with others, so much more than what you suggest. And then you have to be credible with your fellow legislators.

    Also, who are the first funders for candidates?  Their friends and business colleagues.  Being older gets you more of them.

  •  Well said, but unlikely (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tool

    I thought, judging from current occupants, that the minimum age was 4-years-old.

    We all stand submissively before the global ATM machine network like trained chickens pecking the correct colored buttons to release our grains of corn. Joe Bageant

    by Zwoof on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:06:13 AM PDT

  •  I have experienced and learned so much from the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlms qkw, Adam B, Neuroptimalian
    interactions of people that I would have never gotten from simply watching the news, going to some fancy law school, or watching a political debate.
    Now, you have six years to learn even more.

    The biggest difference between being 19 and being 25 is that time moves faster the older you become. You think that two years is an eternity, but two years flies past at 35, let alone 55 or 75.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:10:30 AM PDT

  •  We can trust (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alexforgue

    our youth to serve in the military and kill but not have any influence on the policies that are created to send them there? There will always be exceptions to the rule in terms of life experience, management skills and ability to organize an effective campaign. The biggest bar to running for office is money and connections. You tend to have those later in life rather than at 18. Who was the asshole in congress that recently said "since when do we base policy on what 18 year olds wants?" I dunno - maybe you should as it is my generation that has fought the wars of choice in Iraq & Afghanistan, more likely to live pay check to paycheck & have progressive social values.

    President Obama would have been a republican in the 1980's & 1990's. Go figure.

    by Tool on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:45:03 AM PDT

    •  Well, if it were up to me, nobody would be (0+ / 0-)

      allowed to serve active duty under the age of about 20. Join the Reserves, and train? Sure. Be sent to kill or be killed? No, I don't think so.

      In fact, now that I think about it, I really wouldn't have a problem making that age cutoff 25.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:00:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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