Havre High School students who traveled with teacher John Ita to President Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremonies in January addressed Hill County Democrats Tuesday night, regaling the political leaders with stories of the good times they had in the nation’s capital.
But when Havre City Councilwoman Bonnie Parenteau asked them if the trip made them consider the possibility of a career in politics, they gave a one word reply: No.
That’s understandable, but very sad.
What our political system needs today is the commitment and energy that these young people offer.
Sadly, too many young people see the shady sides of politics, and they immediately run away.
At the national level, political leaders have been charged with putting their hands in the till.
Too many pols are old-timers fearful of looking at new ways of solving problems.
Too many are set in their ways and are unwilling to study new ways of thinking or to compromise with political opponents.
It’s enough to scare people away from politics.
Or hopefully, it will be enough to challenge young people to get involved and change things.
Some of the most exciting members of the Montana Legislature are those under 30. Their ideologies range from liberal to far conservative, but they show emotion in what they are doing, they use modern technologies to communicate with constituents and they are willing to come up with solutions that are outside the box.
We hope they can move up in politics while holding onto their enthusiasm and integrity.
And we hope that many students like those at Havre High School will see the opportunities as well as the challenges in politics and realize that they are in the best position to get into politics and change the public’s opinion of this once-fine profession.