Local News reports that at least one 18 year old has decided to run for a local political office. No matter the persons' ideology or their intentions, let's talk about why 18 year olds running for political office is probably a bad idea.
While running for office can certainly be chalked up to being a learning experience, when you are 18 years old, on average your next few years are going to provide you with countless opportunites for experiencing--for learning, and growing. You are legally an adult and have to make some really big decisions. You are still having fun but you are hopefully thinking about who you are, what you want out of life, a career path, maybe honing a job skill or two.
When you are 18 you still have an open calendar, that you can fill with whatever you want. Why would you want to fill it up with anything other than fun, friends, family and self-improvement through work?
Being a candidate for public office means you have to go door-to-door and sell a message. If you want to suffer with blisters on your feet and repeating yourself 200 times a day, then at least try a career in sales before politics. Sell something like Cutco Knives or vacuum cleaners to your friends then your neighbors and then strangers living on other streets. Work hard at selling and be rewarded with some serious money in your pocket. If you can learn to sell products door to door, then maybe you will be ready to be an actual political candidate. However, you might enjoy the rich bank account a successful career in sales can bring a young person. Its a fact, people like youthful enthusiasm.
And here's another reason why its a bad idea to be a 18 year old candidate. If you actually win, you are stuck in one place for at least 4 years. What if you miss once-in-a-lifetime opportunities just because you were dutifully performing an elected position you are probably not that great at? You would probably feel bad about that. I still regret not taking an offered one week trip to Alaska when I was only 22 years old. Those missed opportunities really can sting!
An 18 year old interested in politics ought to consider volunteering for a candidate they believe in. But honeslty, that is where the commitment should stop. A very long time ago, a wise Greek by the name Aristotle, had the peculiar belief that college should be for people aged 30 and up. Now I don't know if I agree with that, but I do know that it takes life experience to create a strong mind that can correctly discern information. When things happen to us we reflect, when we reflect we build a collection of experiences and it forms decisions like what political party we join, what issues we are passionate about and what kind of future we want to see for our community.
If you have no experience, how can anyone have faith in your ability to make decisions that affect city government?
I know what some of you are thinking: Wow Anthony you are really being a jerk this time.
Nah, I don't think so. I'm just bestowing the honest gift of one man's opinion. My guess is anyone running for office at such a young age doesn't have a friend or family member working hard enough to talk them out of it.