Sunday, June 11, 2017

How children view the current state of politics

I once met a third grader who flashed a card in my face and said "FBI!"  I was thinking about her when I was watching James Comey testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. I couldn't help but wonder if she was watching.  She's too young to hear about J. Edgar Hoover but she might understand what Comey was talking about. 

Above is a photo of a bracket of a competition for the most influential American of all time in an NCAA tournament bracket format at Johnstown Middle School this year.  Martin Luther King ended up beating out George Washington for the title.  Students made presentations for their favorite candidate at each round and students voted on who would advance.  Bernie Sanders beat out Presidents Madison, Johnson, and Reagan to make the elite eight before losing out to eventual winner Martin Luther King.  I'm sure Bernie's not too disappointed in losing out to King.  

Young voters are idealistic.  I saw plenty of that working on the Bernie campaign (pictured above).  The challenge is what happens to that idealism when it runs into realpolitik.  My group was working to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance for LGBTQIA citizens for Johnstown, PA (pictured below).  The council voted to table it in two straight meetings and then after the primary election voted it down 6-1 in a hastily called meeting.  Even Councilman David Vitovich who introduced the bill voted against it. 

The student movements of the 60's (of which Bernie Sanders was a part) did have successes in rolling back discriminatory laws in the south but when the movement turned north and against the Vietnam War it ran into stiffer opposition.  The challenge when running into opposition is keeping one's "Eyes on the Prize" as the classic PBS series exclaims to keep the momentum going.

Next on the council's agenda is the creation of a hate crimes bill.  Will the council act responsibly?  Keep making your voice heard to make sure it does.

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Paul Ricci, Independent for Johnstown, PA City Council

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