I came along at a time when the fight was on to allow 18 year olds the right to vote. The War in Vietnam had been raging for years but looked to be settling down. Nixon was President. With all the turmoil that had occurred over the last several years the forces seemed to be colliding at the right time to make it happen. It did.
I was in that first group of young Americans to have the privilege of voting at age 18. I was proud. I knew it had been a long hard fight and voting wasn’t something that should be taken lightly. I cast my ballot and held my head high.
As an 18 year old I couldn’t see what the fuss had been about, not to allow 18 year olds the right to vote. After all, you could get married, own a business, property, and above all serve our country. Actually, the draft was ending around the same time, but that didn’t matter. 18 year olds were adults and that’s all there was to it and we deserved every right anyone else enjoyed. Period.
Over the years I didn’t think too much about that issue, 18 year olds voting, but when I did it was to acknowledge that I was among the first and I wore it as some sort of badge of honor.
Somewhere, probably in my late thirties and surely in my forties I started to notice that there seemed to be a huge disparity between how young people voted and how older people vote. Youth seemed to be far more liberal than the older more settled crowd, but as that youth aged and became more a part of the ‘settled crowd’ their voting habits changed… well, a large part of them did.
Was it inexperience with life? Were they being somehow influenced by the campus crowd? Was it a peer thing? Naivety? What?
I suspect it’s a little bit of it all. Seems they easily buy into theories and doctrine that in a lot of cases has already been proven false, or at best, unworkable. A lot of this doctrine is still spoken fondly of on our college campuses. Well, what ever it was for many it wore off with age, thankfully.
I suspect that a lot of people believe that old saw about if it feels good do it, and with politics if it sounds good do it. Trouble is both of those philosophies can set you up for a lot of heartbreak and misery down the road.
Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll, while a part of the mantra of my youth, came with the flip side of rampant STD’s and the death and destruction of an out of control drug culture. (RIP Jimi & Janice & too many others to name)
With politics it Socialism.
One of the biggest problems we are facing right now is the fact that there is a new generation of voters that’s come along over the last 5 years or so that don’t remember what the world was like before the Iron Curtain fell. They missed seeing the absolute joy on the faces of those that had been trapped by socialism and were finally able to embrace freedom. Just how big a deal that was.
To this new group of voter socialism can sound wonderful. After all, they have recently left home where they were taken care of by their parents and had most of their needs provided. To them the state taking over that roll seems very legitimate.
They fail to realize just how hard somebody had to work to provide for those needs, wants, and desires of their youth, and at the same time don‘t realize where the vast majority of tax dollars come from that would provide for them now. They haven’t yet learned that for every give there is a take. There is no free lunch.
Many are now confronted with the bill that comes with their education. Confronted with the cost of providing themselves healthcare. A slim job market and skyrocketing cost of energy. They had no idea that the world was like this. They awake to the real world, and sure, it’s a scary place. I woke up there myself once upon a time.
They thought they would step out into a world full of promise with a bright future smiling down upon them. The world was supposed to be their oyster, wasn’t it?
At the same time that the forces of reality collide with the dreams of their youth, and are perhaps more confused about the world they find around themselves then they’ve ever been before, they are handed one of the most powerful things a person can have – the ability to vote.
While I’m not sitting here advocating taking away the hard won voting rights of 18, 19, and 20 year olds, I don’t think we’ve been nearly vigilant enough about what influences them.
Maybe it’s the schools. Maybe it’s the evening news… I don’t have the answer to that. But what I do know is that they are a dangerous force in the world of politics and what can happen to our country. There are forces out there that sing a sweet song of promise to this group, and they can easily buy into what those people are selling.
When your young you see the world through rose colored glasses. Right and wrong collide into a world of wishes and dreams. Concepts of what the world should be… flowers and puppies and all men brothers. Everybody is a winner and there are no problems that can’t be overcome if we just put our mind to it. Reality teaches otherwise.
The history of the world is that there are forces out there at don’t want those problems solved… at least not in the manner you might wish them to be. Freedom is something that many oppose. There are people out there that don’t want to be your brother, they’d rather have your stuff. Or at least control of it.
We spent years and years fighting socialism around the world. It’s practice and philosophy runs contrary to freedom and liberty. While it sounds good to release responsibility for some of the harder things in life to the state what you get in return is a net loss.
Loss of the ability to control what is personally best for you and yours. Loss of the ability to excel and be rewarded for that excellence. Loss of control of how you interact with your government and your fellow man.
Nowadays some of the things we find ourselves protesting the most in our everyday life comes from giving up just tiny bits of that control to the state. What you have to go through just to board an airplane is an example of that. We’ve always complained about the long lines and the inane things we have to do when dealing with government bureaucracy. Yet when you embrace socialism you give yourself over to more and more of the same.
Be it ‘Obamacare’ and it’s promise of a better healthcare system, or determining how much a persons “fair share” of what they earn should go to ‘redistribution’ is, we need to be careful of who is the master and who is the servant when it come to our government.
Bureaucracy is a intolerant taskmaster. It has no heart or soul and will always desire more. That’s the nature of the beast. You’ll never find any bureaucracy that isn’t seeking to grow and gobble more power and funding. It loves the collective for it thrives on rules and regulations, not humanity. Individualism is the bureaucrats enemy.
Will we really see a better healthcare system when the incentive to work in that field is gone and there are few or no doctors to serve the need? And just what kind of hoops will it decide we must jump through for that care?
Who gets to decide if you can even get that care? You? Your doctor? The lady behind the desk that’s ready to get to the house cause it’s Friday and her feet hurt?
Is it better that we take from those that have and give to those that have not, or should we provide a way for those that have not to get to be among the haves? Doesn’t growth happen via success? Isn’t a hand up still better than a hand out?
Is it better for a rich man to give his money to the government or to a new factory that will hire more people? A new factory that will earn that rich man more money to be able to build more factories to hire more people.
Socialism is a siren song that can sound so good. Oh, to be taken care of from cradle to grave… your every worry provided by the good graces of the government.
The reality is that under socialism the Russian’s couldn’t even produce enough toilet paper for the masses. Long lines formed for most ever staple. They had the raw ingredients, the factories, the people to run them, yet they couldn’t produce what was necessary, much less any extra.
Why? Because under socialism it isn’t ’your’ problem’ but somebody else’s. Without the freedom to excel, and be rewarded for excellence and success, there is no incentive. No desire to do more. To go the extra mile. Put in the late hours. Take the risk. When the fruits of your labor become someone else’s fruit, well…
Without incentive most will fall to the lowest common denominator. Most will do only what it takes to get by. There is no point to do more. Mediocre is built into the socialist system.
I remember when the walls came down. I remember the joy that people had when they tasted freedom and liberty for the first time. Those same people look at us today with bewilderment. They ask us if we know what we are getting ourselves into. The lived it. They understand.
Like Reagan said, we are just one generation away from losing our freedom. One forgetful generation.