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Next year the youth should debate the 18-year-old vote

FeaturesNext year the youth should debate the 18-year-old vote

by Colin Hyde

Belize’s youth were in the news this week, as select members of the group reported to the House of Representatives for the annual mock debate. This one was the 4th, and the Bill up for debate this time was about increasing the marriage age from 16 to 18. On the excitement scale, that’s a big step up from last year, when the matter before them was the boring Education and Training (Vocational Development) Bill.

I think I beefed about the topic last year, but looking a little deeper, you can see its merit. There are many important points that could be brought out in such a discussion, and at the end of it the respect for the different fields should have increased. Having been provoked to deeper thought, I’m wondering if a full printed report of that debate exists. If there is, it should be made available to those of us who are outside of the education system, so that we can see what important points they raised.

At the end of the debate, someone up top, like a Minister Dolores, or the Speaker, always remarks about how well-behaved our young people are when discussing matters that affect the lives of our people. Really, though, they need to take off the gloves, get their blood circulating. Who cares about behavior; we don’t eat that. Oh no, no, no, I’m not talking rudeness, and disrespect. But stomping the floor, raising the decibels, and pounding the table, let’s all say aye for passion.

I must register my complaint with this UNICEF, a big sponsor for the show. Big props for the support, but please stop calling our youth the wrong name. UNICEF’s sick insistence on referring to youth as children, yes, the objective, to protect them, isn’t bad; but you’re not allowed any deception with youth to achieve your end, because telling fibs to that age group harms their relationship with and their respect for their parents and society. We know it is fair to tell the children about Santa. But that game must end when they enter the world between childhood and adulthood.

Fifteen is two years beyond the beginning of puberty, you know. How can you look at a 15-year-old and call them, pikni?

The youth period, between 13 and 18, gives us five years to explain why we were into so much fantasy, why at times we had to be not so up front with them, when they were children. Much of that valuable period is lost if we perpetuate a false description, calling them children. The time to start telling the truth begins at 13.

Returning to that call for taking off the gloves, my vote for the 5th Youth Parliament is for a debate on 18-year-olds having the franchise. My position is that it should be taken away bikaaz dehn noh ready fu that.

The justification for the 18-year-old vote was that many countries draft people of that age into the army, and that many in that age group are working and even starting families. Indeed, at that age the issues concern them, should concern them. But they are too much in the lacking-in-information-and-the-experience categories to decide on the future of Belize. There shouldn’t be a problem with young people expressing their views, kicking up dust. But it should end there.

Hn, you know it’s Jesus who staat this ting. According to Bible reports, at the age of twelve He was acquitting himself with the scriptures. In Luke 2:41-52, we find Him in the temple listening attentively to the elders, and asking them pertinent questions. Let’s look at some facts there. He was Jesus. And some children are quite precocious. As I told you already, much that comes out of the mouths of the youth comes from their influences. Little of the wisdom of young people comes from their own experiences; most of it is regurgitated talk from the people around them. Leave the voting to the ma and the pa.

The giving thing

I heard this story about an athlete who gave 10% of his winnings to a cause he considered worthy, and how the athlete felt he had done great. From time to time, you hear these stories about artists, athletes, entertainers being altruistic. I’m not about telling anyone what to do with their money, but sorry: in my books that athlete didn’t do so great; that athlete did the bare minimum.

The successful ones have enough, more than enough, and that’s only because of the system. In another system, one that insists on being humanitarian, you would have butter on your bread, but not on two sides. I think 10% is a small mercy, nothing to go home and brag about. Ten percent is like tithes to your church to make sure the pastor has enough to eat. Ten percent of your millions for the people is just a trifle. You would have raised my eyebrow if you had given all of the check. You have more than enough. All that you have, it’s just because of the system.

Dolly Parton invested in an apartment

For a brief period, I thought Dolly Parton sang “Apartment #9”, which was a top-of-the-charts hit song. When I found out that it wasn’t hers, that she was just 9 to 5, bah, she went down a peg for me. It turns out that Dolly did sing “Apartment # 9”, but it’s not hers. That song belongs to Miss Tammy Wynette.

That 9 to 5 might be Dolly’s worst song, according to my ear. But it appears I’m the one who’s out of tune here. Wow, the Wikipedia says “With “9 to 5”, Parton became only the second woman to top both the U.S. country singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100 with the same single (the first being Jeannie C. Riley, who had done so with “Harper Valley PTA” in 1968.”)

Dolly disappeared from my sight for a while, as a singer. I don’t recall the song that made me say, wow, this Dolly isn’t run of the mill, but after that I became aware of some real smashing songs in her album, that she had sung and written. After checking out her song list, I realized she might be the most accomplished singer/songwriter ever, definitely top ten.

The lady was in the news recently because she performed a duet with a vulgar fellow, called Kid Rock. This Kid Rock, from what I’ve read he is a full-blown white supremacist who regularly insults people who aren’t white, and the LGBT. In the story I have, Dolly said she did the duet before he came under major heat, but she would have worked with him anyway because she liked the song, and she isn’t into criticizing and condemning, she is into loving people. In the story, Dolly said she isn’t into cancel culture.

I don’t look to artists for wisdom, because they are so into their art they usually don’t have the time to study and understand the issues, especially when they are complex. Originally, what drew me beyond her songs, to take a peek at her life, was a report that back in the 1960s she had stood up for female singers who weren’t white. I am to read, if I can find the time, and if I remember, the online story, “The Parton Paradox: A History of Race and Gender in the Career of Dolly Parton”, by Lindsey L. Hammers. He said, “As the host of her own variety shows in 1976/1977 and, again, in 1987/1988, Parton featured several acts and performers of color, a striking contrast to the white male establishment that defined country music.”

A big story about her is that she wrote Whitney Houston’s hit, “I will always love you”, and, according to Joe Hernandez on NPR, “she used some of the royalties she earned from (that song) to invest in an office complex in a Black neighborhood in Nashville, Tenn.” Hernandez said that in her appearance “on the show Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen,” she said “she thought it was an apt way to honor the Black singer, who boosted the song’s popularity with her cover.”

Mucho love to you, Dolly. Remember “Apartment # 9” belongs to the late Miss Tammy.

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