LET YOUNG ADULTS RUN FOR LEGISLATURE
Measure 17 on the Nov. 5 ballot will not change the makeup of the Oregon Legislature substantially. It would allow, however, some of our younger citizens to file and perhaps be elected to the Legislature.
THE STATE constitution currently does not allow a person under 21 to be elected to the Legislature, even though citizens 18 and older can vote. Measure 17 would change that by allowing people ages 18 through 20 to run for the Legislature.
Will there be a host of young people filing if Measure 17 passes? Probably not. The measure simply gives 18-to-20-year-olds the opportunity to seek election to the House or Senate. Hard work could bring them success.
An 18 year old already has many rights and responsibilities. They can serve in the military and pay taxes. They can run for school boards and city councils. Yet seldom does any person fresh out of high school seek elected office.
Are 18-year-olds qualified to serve in the Legislature? The answer is for the voters to determine, the same way they would decide if any person in their 20s, 30s, 40s or older is qualified. Some 18-to-20-year-olds may be unusually equipped intellectually, socially and aptitude-wise to serve in the Legislature.
It is important for people to become politically involved at an early age, beyond casting a ballot in an election. Now we have an opportunity to permit aspiring young men or women to run for the Legislature if they desire.
Oregonians should vote yes on Measure 17. By making this constitutional change, they'll be eliminating an artificial barrier to service. They'll be further empowering young people in the political process and telling them that, if they have the desire to serve, they should make a run for it and let the voters decide if they're qualified.
"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Mark Twain's American masterpiece, again has become controversial. This time the Portland School Board has been asked to pull the novel because 19th century America tolerated the N-word and Twain included it numerous times in his book.
School board member Derry Jackson, responding to an African American high school student's objection to the repulsive ethnic slur in "Huckleberry," is pressing to have the book dropped from the reading list.
All Americans should find the N-word objectionable. But tossing "Huckleberry" out, or editing Twain's work to delete the word is not necessary. Teachers can use "Huckleberry Finn" as a means of putting the N-word into historical perspective and contemporary terms. It could be a good way for teachers to share with their students the importance of sensitivity and respect.