The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, May 23, 2008

Western Tribune Column...New Graduates

This is my most recent column, published Wednesday May 21, 2008.

Last week I had the privilege of attending my youngest child’s graduation from public high school. Young is a relative term as he is about to turn eighteen, but then again, old is relative as well but I won’t reveal my age here.

Anyway, as we sit through graduation ceremonies we hear speeches meant to encourage the new graduates but regardless of our age we can always learn (or be entertained) from others. Thursday was no exception.

The bright young man who was honored as valedictorian managed to garner the participation of the entire senior class as he discussed Pooh (that’s Winnie) and the sound of racing car engines while encouraging his classmates to set their own goals and establish their own limitations as they pursue what they feel in their hearts is their calling. Included in this, he pointed out, was protesting the war in Iraq, if one felt so moved, thus indicating that he might make a wise decision as he casts his first vote for president in the fall, as well as increasing my confidence in public education.

Young people today are more progressive than many of their parent’s generation, but oddly enough, most of us were much more progressive than our own parents as we protested another war and fought for the rights of others.

According to a recent MTV/CBS poll two thirds of today’s young voters want a president who will end the war in Iraq within 2 years. And a flurry of polls shows that about 75 % of young people are in favor of either same-sex marriage or civil unions. We can almost rejoice in realizing that every day thousands of kids in this country turn eighteen and if they vote, most will cast a progressive vote.

When I was young people my age protested by marching and at times through civil disobedience. Today this age group is more educated and is more likely to exert influence through the education of others and (I am still hopeful) voting.

New graduates are also here in Bessemer, of course, and they should all be congratulated. Finishing high school is indeed an accomplishment, but it is not an end. College, trade school or gainful employment are all future steps that will be taken by this year’s graduates. Assuming the responsibility of becoming a registered voter is as well.

Graduates: continue to educate yourselves and vote. An educated person at the ballot box is a good thing.

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