The Youthful Inexperienced Fallacy

              There is nothing wrong with a person’s age. Whenever a younger person as an opinion, or takes a stance, there is criticism about the person’s age. Yes, young people make mistakes, they can be naïve, ambitious, foolhardy, and full of themselves, but so can everybody else. The consensus is the older one gets, the wiser one acts, this isn’t always the case as witnessed the numerous politicians, their elderly supporters, and those who constantly bash millennials and post-millennials as being lazy, entitled, naïve, full of themselves, and lacking experience in the real world.

                Some of the three youngest heroes of the American Revolutionary War are John Laurens, son of Henry Laurens, who was in the Continental Congress and later its President. Next is Alexander Hamilton, and then Layfette, all of them in their late teens until mid-twenties from the start to end of the war. Though the life expectancy of people was a lot lower then, and norms way different than today, it does not change the fact that three young people were very fundamental in serving General Washington as aides, advisers, and field commanders in winning the war. They were surrogate sons who made up the military family of the commander and chief, and their opinions were valued.

               Shortly after the Parkland school shooting, a common criticism lobed against those who spoke up is they were young teenagers who knew nothing about the world. Yes, it is a common complaint about younger generations, they are ignorant, they don’t have much experience in the world and how it works, and so forth. In their defense, we were all teenagers once, and our dreams reached for the stars. We do grow up and see our dreams tempered by setbacks, by whose who wish for us to fail, and because the economy and great game of life has been stacked in favor of the rich and those who are already in power.

               The young people of today have the most to lose from inaction taken by politicians and business leaders who currently control the halls of power. Climate change is the biggest challenge, one which a lot of older people seem to ignore. The world is certainly changing, and yes it has always gone through periods of change, but the rate of change is something we have never experienced before. Younger people are pushing businesses to be more aware of their environmental impacts, and businesses have responded by launching recycling initiatives, redesigns of products to use less plastic, and making products from alternative energy sources like wind and solar. The green revolution is still young, but AOC’s Green New Deal is promising because it will not only help Americans in trying to stave off the direst effects of climate change, it will create a lot of new jobs. Green energy employs more people than coal, which even without the expansion of alternative energy was losing jobs.

               The millennial and post-millennial generations are not only trying to save America (and humanity) from climate change, but from the massive income inequality. There will always be income inequality, the top echelon of management will always make more than the lowest worker, however it doesn’t need to be a massive 300 times more. The young people of today overwhelmingly support legislation which will help restore the top rates to closer to the times when the government invested money into policies which made life better for people. Higher tax rates in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s allowed for expansion of Medicaid and Medicare, the Interstate Highway System, the Space Program, and research and development of other technologies, leading to arguably one of the most important: The Internet.

               The youth of the nation is important and there is a dire need to make sure the current and future generations are well served by a government that cares for their wellbeing. Everybody deserves the chance to go to school and succeed, to progress to technical schools or universities free of cost. Everybody deserves affordable healthcare for themselves and their children, and should not have to worry about missing a day of work and pay for calling in to care for a child, and elderly parent, or themselves.

               I don’t think youth and the perceived lack of experience from youth is as bad as people make it out to be. I believe by being young, you aren’t exactly set in stone about how things operate, how things have always been done, you are willing to try new things. In America, the youngest president we have ever elected was JFK at 42, and before him, Teddy Roosevelt was 43 – though he wasn’t elected president until he was older (he became President on McKinley’s death). Currently Mayor Paul Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana is running for President in the 2020 cycle, he is 37. Sure, there have been other young contenders like William Jennings Bryan aged 36 in 1896, and Al Gore aged 39 in 1988. Age isn’t everything and the way the baby boomers have run America since acquiring power, really makes me believe we need the millennials in power to help save the country and the world.

Political Reform

               Talking politics and how government work is not sexy, but when you studied political science and write a political thriller, it is kind of necessary to explore.

There tends to be two types of democratic systems of government, the presidential system and parliamentary system, both have their strengths and their weaknesses. There are aspects of both forms of government which are good. From the presidential system, fixed terms allow for in theory a stronger continuity of government, with no official votes of no confidence or immediate or surprising resignations of prime ministers. From the parliamentary system, allowing the chief executive and ministers are held accountable by the legislature, however there are no set terms. There is an additional problem with the parliamentary form of government, is the members who are selected as executive ministers are still responsible for executive and legislative duties.

               In the United States, our system of government was created to have, in theory, three equal branches of government, the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial. However, our system of government is at least in the modern era not achieving much. People elected to the House of Representatives are there for 2 years before having to face re-election. In practice, if they are elected in November 2018, they are sworn in January 2019 and by January 2020, they are in an election year. In theory, the 2 years to a term is supposed to allow the electorate to have a say in who represents them but in reality, 90% of incumbents win re-election.

               The Senate is a bit different as senators are elected to 6-year terms, and 1/3 of the seats are up for re-election every 2 years, compared to every 435 seats in the House of Representatives. This sets up in every non-presidential election year a “mid-term” election, which is seen as a referendum on the current presidential administration, generally the President’s party loses some seats in the Legislature.

               It generally takes a year or two for a newly elected lawmaker to get the hang of the way the House and the Senate works. In the House, this means their first term is pretty much spent learning the ropes then facing re-election. A good alternative would be to expand the term of a Representative from 2 to 4 years, but every 2 years one-half of the house would face re-election. This would still preserve the traditional “mid-term” election and referendum of the current political party in power.

               This is only one alternative to current government. In Within the Grasp of Ordinary universe I created, there is a mixed presidential/parliamentary system. There are three branches of government, the Executive, Legislative and Judicial. The Executive is headed by the President who is elected to a six-year term, the Legislative is divided between a Senate and House of Representatives, but executive responsibility does lie in the domain of the Senate. The Senate advises and consents on the President’s nominations for filling Executive Branch positions and Judicial nominations. In addition, the Senate has a special committee the Senate Executive Committee, whose chairperson is in the Presidential Chain of Succession. There is the Judicial Branch, which really isn’t much changed from how it currently works in the presidential or parliamentary forms of government.

               Another contentious debate in the modern system is the call for term limits, I’m in the middle of the road on this issue. I believe the President is rightfully term-limited at two 4-year terms, though a President can technically serve close to 10 years. If President A were elected and started his term on January 20, 2017, the halfway point would be January 20, 2019. If President A were assassinated on January 21st, 2019, the Vice President would be sworn in and finish out his term – without the term counting against them for term-limits. However, if the President was assassinated before the halfway point of their term, the Vice President would have the rest of the term count against their term-limit.

               Getting back to term limits, for lawmakers it is generally good to have experienced lawmakers, who understand the system and how to craft legislation. It is also good to have young, inexperienced people get elected and bring new or different ideas into the legislative body. This rarely happens under the current political system in the United States since 90% of incumbents are re-elected. The idea is to impose term limits to force change. While I don’t disagree with the need for change, I believe the background of a lawmaker needs to be changed. It currently requires hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to get elected to the House or Senate, there is no real publicly funded election system. If there was, there would be more candidates from less well-off or poor economic backgrounds. I think having a more economic diverse Legislative body would do the nation wonders.

               In the Ordinary universe, all Executive and Legislative positions are capped at a total of 24 years, with Representatives serving 4-years and Senators at 6-years a term. A person can be elected as a Representative for 3 terms, total of 12 years, then decide to run for Senate and serve 2 terms. If the person decides to serve 4 terms as a Representative or 16 years, they can still serve 2 terms as a Senator, they aren’t just kicked out after hitting 24 years, they will serve the remainder of their term but won’t be eligible for re-election. The President is capped at two 6-year terms, and a person can easily serve 24 years as a Representative or Senator before deciding to run for President.

               I know it’s not fully in-depth about how the full political system in modern America needs to be reformed (that would be a very long, time-consuming project) or how the whole political system in my Within the Grasp of Ordinary and sequel novel works. It’s just a small glance at the system and there are parts which are there to be explored – by reading the book(s).

Political Ideology and Writing

            I best define myself as a person who is center-left, a progressive, a liberal, however my ideology is not a firm hard stop. I have read many different works by authors who have different political beliefs than me and their works and thoughts do influence my thought process – if their arguments are made using facts from reputable sources. My father is a diehard Republican and him and I have had numerous civil discussions. My former step-dad is a moderate Republican, a principled one, which though I have disagreed with, deeply respect. He is challenging of my beliefs and supportive of a wide world view.

            When it comes to writing, I do not favor one political ideology over another. I’ve written a character who works with the Nazis but plots to overthrow them. His own political viewpoint is constitutional monarchy like Great Britain’s. I’ve delved into the inner workings of Hitler’s regime and style of government which was highly fractured and everybody in the inner circle battling to get a bigger slice of the pie. Hitler ruled by a whim, which is no way to run a government efficiently.

            In the Ordinary Universe, major and mid-major characters’ political leanings are slowly revealed through the chapters. There is a General who once believed in democracy but has become disillusioned by it and wants to install a government very similar to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, where only veterans can vote and run government. A Senator running for President, strongly believes in democracy and believes while it has flaws, it can only be made a better system of government through reform. Meanwhile, the current President (in the story) battles against the limitations of democracy while fighting off a insurgency movement clamoring for planetary independence.

            There are characters who harbor no political leanings, like Nathan, the youngest son of Senator Welch, but is trotted out to help his father attempt to win the Presidency. There is Philip, who is just beginning to develop his own sense of political views before his career military father trots in and attempts to reconnect. There are people who harbor different political ideologies who work together (shocking in this day and ages environment).

            The point I’m trying to make is, it is okay to harbor political leanings – we are entitled to our thoughts and opinions. We can share them and if people want to listen, that is their right. It is their right not to listen. As an author and writer though, when I make a work though, I don’t right from one ideological position because the world is simply far more complex than that. We will never be a species which sees eye to eye on everything and the stories and worlds which we create should reflect that.