Why we need young politicians

Onion, of the New Onion blog writes:

“When I see 20 year old candidates, twentysomething Senators who live with their parents… it makes me go “hmm – how, exactly are they supposed to understand life?” (not to mention “how are they representing labour when they have never worked to support themselves?”)”

Personally I fail to see how 60+ year olds, generations removed, can understand what the life of a 20 year old today is like and this is why I believe we should have more young representatives.  Despite their lack of wisdom and experience, what young people do bring to the table is a different perspective, one significantly lacking in people who are more ‘set in their ways’, often the old ways.

In Bermuda, unless you come from a privelidged background, it is entirely unrealistic to live in a $3000 a month studio apartment and expect to get ahead in Bermuda. It comes at little surprise to me that many youth are forced to live at home up to later ages, especially aspiring politicians.

“There are no 30 year old Statesmen for a good reason. ”

Incorrect, many great politicians halved started young and kept going. There have been many successful young politicians who became great statesmen.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy happened to became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives at the age of 30.  William Pitt the Younger became Prime Minister of Britain at the age of 24.  According to USA today, as of 2004 there were more than 800 politicians from city council up to Congress under the age of 35

Of the 20 most recent American presidents, 12 won their first elected office before age 35.  Notably, Theodore Roosevelt was 24 when he won a New York State Assembly seat. Former President Bill Clinton was Arkansas attorney general at 30.

Young politicians think further into the future. They look ahead 20 or 50 years because they will still be alive then, it is their future they are planning for and are more concerned with the long term picture than simply the next election like many older politicians.

“That is at least one major reason why I won’t consider running in an election and also publish this blog generally anonymously – it’s going to be years before I can be sure that I have the integrity and experience necessary to be the most effective I can be in a world of conflicting opinions, different viewpoints, personality conflicts, and a generally shared long-term aim to do the best for Bermuda (with notable exceptions).”

Nothing personal Onion, but integrity is not speaking while hiding behind the curtain. Integrity is standing in front of the crowd willing to speak for and stand behind what you believe in. Experience is learning from the mistakes you make along the way.

Oscar Wilde may have once said it best “I’m not young enough to know everything”.  Allow me to continue his words by suggesting that we should not let the ignorance of our youth be a deterrent to changing our island for the better for we’re still young enough to believe that we can always do better.

If anything, we don’t have enough politicians under the age of 30.

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