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Vail Daily column: Why kids don’t want to be senators

Jill Marchione Papangelis
Family Matters
Vail, CO Colorado

One of my sons once wrote letters to President Bush (“W”) and Prime Minister Tony Blair. He was 8 years old. Not only did he know who Tony Blair was and where he was from, he thought Mr. Blair was a talented speaker, listening intently when he was on CNN. When they were still small, my children knew about many leaders around the world and what was going on in the respective countries they governed. They were genuinely interested in what was happening globally and in this country, even politics.

When he was younger, my oldest son counted the years until he could vote; he wanted to campaign for Obama. My next son eagerly anticipated voting as well. He wanted to one day be President (or a school bus driver). Now that he’s finally on the brink of 18, he’s indifferent.

It’s wonderful to have a child who is excited, shocked, interested, appalled, proud, or even disgusted about his country or leaders – any of these emotions at least displays knowledge and involvement. The adjective we don’t want to associate with kids and the world is apathy.



What exactly is it that turns children into apathetic citizens? After hearing the brutal television ads all month, I think I have an idea; and I don’t even watch very much TV (except for Sunday football). I find myself looking forward to The Wednesday After (the elections), just so I don’t have to listen any longer to the negative rants of the people running for office in this state. Is this really the creme de la creme of our nation?

Why would any child want to grow up to participate in this career? My parents’ generation raised its kids encouraging them in civic duty; how can I possibly persuade my children to consider moving in the direction of barraging politicians?



Simple Tips for Politicians:

How about dispensing with pointing out your opponent’s evil deeds and simply stating which constructive and earth-shattering things you intend to do or correct should you be elected.

Kindly stop stooping to the level of your opponents just to compete. Be the bigger man. Also, kindly refrain from becoming corrupt once responsibility is handed to you. Maybe if our leaders were worthy of admiration and respect, less children would want to be Lady Gaga and more would want to be senators.



Don’t confuse being a politician with being 13. Be a true civil servant; be worthy. You should be beyond peer pressure by now and capable to stand up to the bullies trying to get you to do the wrong things. How can we expect our children to make good choices when their leaders can’t?

Remember, you are running for office after the discreet Kennedy era. What you do in private will be revealed and hideously shown on every broadcast network over and over and over. My kids will see it.

Voters should have the right to be picky. We should have a slew of great men and women to choose from and we should be able to put the best and brightest into our government offices. You should be able to prove you can lead based on your integrity and your record, not by twisting truths and instilling fear into voters.

For conservatives, please remember that being a liberal is not the same as being Satan; for liberals, please stop talking about what should be done and do something about it. And, perhaps, get out and vote.

Bill Maher said the only way to get young voters to the voting booths is to put marijuana on the ballet. While this may be a bit degrading, it’s probably true; let’s get young men and women out of their various stages of government angst by providing these voters with some other reasons to be involved.

The American People are courageous, tenacious, resilient, inspirational, hard working, reputable, and hopeful. You are our representatives; be those things. Our children will be more likely to follow in your footsteps.

Jill Marchione Papangelis is a freelance writer and mother of four. She lives in Edwards with her family. Send column suggestions or comments to-jillscolumn@gmail.com.


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