Change is Coming – And The Young Are Leading The Way
I am very impressed with the passionate protests and actions by the students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. On Valentine’s Day, a troubled young man entered the school armed with an AR-15 semi automatic assault weapon and killed 17 of their classmates and teachers. Rather than mourn the dead and comfort the families, many students have taken to political action demanding sensible controls on guns so this action is not repeated.
Then on March 14, led by the students at Stoneman Douglas High School; students all across the United States staged a 17 minute walk out of their classes to make a statement that it is high time for serious common sense gun control legislation. A sign at a protest recently said: “when our children act like leaders and our leaders act like children; change is coming.” I sincerely hope that this is true.
I am also pleased that so many of the younger generation are also becoming more active politically. Perhaps it was Donald Trump becoming President with his intolerance and bigotry that have caused many young people to become politically active. Or they just don’t like the world that they are inheriting from the older generations before them. Those young people who are becoming active politically are sending a breath of fresh air to the stale and polluted air of American politics.
As a baby boomer who remembers the protests of the late 1960s and early 1970s when I was a young adult; I hope that this younger generation continues to make their influence felt in the political process. As a college student fifty years ago, I protested the war in Vietnam along with many in my generation who were asked to fight the war. Many of us felt that the war in Vietnam was a war that we had no business fighting.
I am very disappointed with my baby boom generation where so many of us sold out to corporate America. But as we grew up and had responsibilities, we needed to make a living. Earning a living and attaining the “good life” became more important than protesting or becoming active politically. Besides, in 1973 our troops were brought home from Vietnam and our combat role there ended. There just didn’t seem to be any more causes that generated the passion for many to become involved politically.
But marches in the streets and protests, no matter how massive, won’t create the desired change unless those people protesting vote. The difference between 1968 and 2018 is that in 1968, people under age 21 couldn’t vote. Most of those college students and soldiers in Vietnam couldn’t vote. The 26th amendment to the constitution granting the right to vote to 18 year olds wasn’t ratified until 1971.
While large protest demonstrations make headlines and get the attention of the news media; they don’t effect change unless enough people back up their protests at the ballot box.Protests don’t count; votes are counted. When people back their passion in the streets with the same passion in the voting booth or decide to run for office themselves; then change will happen.
I hear the same complaints all the time about how our elected officials only care about their special interests and donors and that they are all a bunch of crooks. We talk about term limits for elected officials, but there is an excellent method to hold our elected officials accountable. It is called an election and they are held usually twice a year, every year.
In every election, we elect the people to run our government. The first words to the preamble of the constitution are “We, the People”. In a democracy, the people are sovereign and it is only when they vote that the people can determine the course of our nation, state and cities.
Every year there is a primary election. One is coming up in May. Primary elections are where the major political parties choose the candidates to run in the general election in November. If you don’t like the candidates who run in November, then vote in the primary and have a say in who runs in November. But throughout the United States, less than 20% of registered voters actually vote in primary elections.
From this baby boomer, who has voted in every election since I was old enough to vote; I sincerely hope that those young people back their protests with voting and continue to vote, even if they don’t like who is running. Vote for the candidate who best reflects your views or who you believe is the best person for the job. Because no matter how much anyone protests, it doesn’t mean a thing unless it is backed up by voting. Remember that elections have consequences.
Lee has been working with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance since he began working at the Erie County Welfare Department in January 1973 where a major part of his job was determining eligibility for Medicaid. He went into the private insurance business in 1977 with Prudential Insurance Company and within a short time had become one of the company’s top sales agents. In 1982, he was promoted into management where he managed two field offices and as many as thirteen sales agents. After leaving Prudential in 1986, Lee decided to become more focused on health insurance and employee benefits. He has advised many local employers on how to have a more cost effective employee benefit program as well as conducted employee benefit meetings and enrollments for many area employers. The companies Lee has worked with ranged from small “mom and pop” businesses to local operations of large national companies. Lee received his B.S. degree from Kent State University where he has been active in the local alumni association. He has completed seven of the ten courses toward the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation. He has taught courses in employee benefits and insurance at Cleveland State University and local community colleges. In addition, Lee is an experienced and accomplished public speaker. He has been a member of Toastmasters International where he achieved the designation of “Able Toastmaster – Silver” in 1994. He has also served as a club president, Area Governor and District Public Relations Officer in Toastmasters as well as winning local speech contests. Lee has also been a member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Speaker’s Bureau where he was designated as one of the “official spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” prior to the hall’s opening in 1995. He has given talks and presentations before many audiences including civic organizations, AARP chapters and many other community groups. With the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare drug bill) in 2006, Lee has shifted his focus to Medicare and helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing array of choices and plans available. As an independent representative, Lee is not bound to any one specific company or plan, but he can offer a plan that suits an individual person’s needs and budget. In addition, Lee is well versed in the requirements and availability of various programs for assistance with Medicare part D as well as Medicaid. While he cannot make one eligible, he can assist in the process and steer one to where they may be able to receive assistance.