Don’t Look Back

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Barack Obama

Don’t Look Back

In this, I take full advantage of my lengthy years on this planet. In my lifetime I have seen changes in society and wonder why we don’t look at those changes and decide if they were for the best.

Starting with no punishment from teachers to the student, this idea popped up and was embraced by all of society about forty years ago. It was good, it protected the child and it was suggested that a teacher might face criminal charges for punishing a student.

Well, did it work out for the best? Someone who is a thirty-year-old now would have grown up in this environment. Are the thirty-year-old, twenty-year-old, ten-year-old people better off for not being held accountable?

What was a good and progressive idea, then implemented with some zeal, has now been applied for a long time. Will we stop and look to see if this was for the best?

By the way, has a child been left behind? Does testing improve education?

How about the drinking age? In my lifetime, the drinking age when up from eighteen to twenty-one. The idea, I think, was to protect those too young to understand the perils of drinking? I don’t know but we do see terrible binge drinking in colleges with heart-breaking reports about it every day.

We made the drinking age choice but maybe we should look at it. We know that in other countries with more lax laws that binge drinking is not a problem, how about moving the drinking age to sixteen for forty years and see how that goes?

The voting age change was the opposite of the drinking age, sweet irony. In the mid-70s the voting age went from twenty-one down to eighteen; partially because someone could be drafted for a war and it seemed monstrously unfair that they had no say about war in the voting booth.

I’d guess that the students in Parkland, Florida would like to have a vote, especially in gun laws since seventeen of their friends died last year at school. The idea that a sixteen-year-old is too naïve to vote or whatever the reason might be, I reject it. Give those high schoolers a chance to vote.

Here’s a big one: age of consent. I remember when Jerry Lee Lewis married his thirteen-year-old cousin Myra Gale Brown. We were all shocked! In fact, it ruined his career. Since then, the age of consent has gone up in America. As of August 2018, each U.S. state has set its age of consent at either age 16, age 17, or age 18.

The question remains: is it for the best? We have put into law the minimum age of consent and, it seems to me, that our kids today are much more savvy about the world than they might have been fifty years ago. But, I’m just guessing.

I see changes made and in every case the intentions are for the good of the people. Once made, we never seem to look back at those changes and decide if we did the right thing. We keep living with our laws even as our perspective on living and lives have (or seem to have) expanded with greater awareness.

It feels foolish to always be stepping forward and never looking at our back trail to see if we are leaving a clean line or a messy one.

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