Every election season, I like to give my political science degree some exercise as I try to explain to my pre-teen children what’s going on.
Often, my lessons are met by rolling eyes, but I approach this opportunity with the belief that no matter how dysfunctional the execution of our political process has become, it is founded on some of the most innovative ideals in human history.
As I entered the polling place, pontificating to my children on the difference between personal and economic freedom, I held the door open for another father exiting the building with his son in tow.
I couldn’t help feeling a sense of validation as he walked past my family in the midst of giving his own civics lesson.
It is with hope that we try to make our children understand why we vote — hope that when their time comes, they will get it right.
Sixty some years ago, on the day I turned 18, I motored to the county seat of Saunders County, Neb., to register for the draft. All my peers did likewise on, or shortly after, their 18th birthday.
The other day in the post office I noticed somepamphlets with “Do the right thing, men 18 through 25 register, it’s quick — it’s easy — it’s the law” on the covers.
I admit I was curious as to what had changed over those six decades.
Not much. Not registering still is a felony.
“Young men prosecuted and convicted of failure to register may be fined up to $250,000, imprisoned for up to five years, or both. One can lose eligibility for student financial aid, government employment, job training, and U.S. citizenship for male immigrants.
“All male U.S. citizens and immigrants, documented and undocumented, residing in the U.S. and its territories must register if they are age 18 through 25.”
How many young men are now “felons” as a result of the Selective Service requirement? How many will suffer any consequences?
Answers: “A whole lot” and “few to none?”