Little Women – and Littler Women

March 28th, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 25 comments

Last week Jews around the world celebrated the holiday of Purim. Starting two weeks before the holiday, we revel in a party-like atmosphere. Jewish elementary schools hold silly hat and pajama days, and you can find an abundance of singing, antics and humorous  spoofs in high schools. So, forgive me for thinking that someone was pulling my leg when they mentioned that Nancy Pelosi advocated lowering the voting age to sixteen.

But Purim has passed and those same news reports persist.  It is hard to hear this being discussed as a serious civic suggestion rather than what it really is—a desperate grab for power.  I mean no disrespect to the teenagers in my life, some of whom happen to be better-informed and more stable than many of their elders.  Still, perhaps this raises the question of whether it is time to see beyond the abuses of the past and restrict voting to those who can pass a basics civics and history exam. While this is probably politically untenable, unlike lowering the voting age it might actually result in a government more capable of maintaining the republic our Founders envisioned.

Recently, in a Wall Street Journal interview, actor Mark Hamill, best known as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movies, made a pertinent point. He spoke of how as a teenager he thought it was awesome that the Beatles in the movie A Hard Day’s Night had hordes of girls running after them. It sounded like a pretty good situation to him. A few decades later, when he found it difficult to have a quiet outing because of  fans approaching him, he saw things a bit differently. As he put it, “What strikes me now is that it’s like a horror movie. These guys are absolutely trapped.” Funny how real life can differ from our adolescent dreams. Life experience doesn’t automatically convey wisdom and maturity but limited life experience makes wisdom and maturity almost unattainable.

A classic book not only stands up to the test of re-reading, it is a different book each time you read it. Most young girls who read Little Women, for example, identify with Jo. Who doesn’t think of herself as clever, talented and a bit feisty?  Yet, a few years down the road that same young woman might identify a bit more with Meg or even with Marmee. And, Heaven help us, at some point crotchety and cantankerous Aunt March seems closest to one’s own stage of life though, hopefully, not to one’s temperament.

Thinking of Aunt March actually brings my mind back to Nancy Pelosi.

Perhaps it is time for the Ms. (what exactly is the plural of Ms.?) Pelosi and Waters, to pick two names,  to lead by example. They could  resign in favor of others who are more popular with the sixteen-year-old crowd. After all, would Senator Taylor Swift or Senator Kim Kardashian really be any worse than what we now have? 

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25 comments

Jean says:

I find it interesting that the people now championing the right of 16 year olds to vote were the same ones arguing that a 16 year old violent offender shouldn’t be held to the same standards as an adult when sentenced. Their rationale for the latter was that the 16 year old’s brain hadn’t fully developed, so they were incapable of understanding the consequences of their actions.

Susan Lapin says:

Jean, it sounds like you’re asking for consistency, which is in short supply today.

Joanne says:

Love your musings…fabulous perspective…thank you…!!!
🎶Joanne

Susan Lapin says:

Thanks, JoAnn. I really didn’t think it was a serious suggestion until I checked it out.

James says:

What an excellent suggestion, Ms. Susan! Let the Old Female Guard retire and clear the way for a new generation of Young Turks who would slash and burn the Establishment and brand their glorious, radical Neo-Marxist dialectical roadmap into the hearts of young Millennials and Generation X-Y-Z or whomever under age 21. Forget the findings of professionals who strongly caution that the human brain does not become fully competent until age 25. Disregard the imperative governing the lives of the last three generations, i.e., that they postpone all fiscal and financial responsibility until they exit the university and in the interim live rent-free in Mommy’s or Daddy’s basement, and then catastrophically grant them full cognizance and recognition as Titans of Industry. Let the part-time bartenders or fast-food speculators who worship Global Warming or Climate Change ascend as dictators of public policy MINUS grounding in scientific fact or precedent and let them steer public policy by their hearts and by the seat of their pants. The Romans chose Senators (the OLD ones). Let us now choose Juvenators (the YOUNG ones). NOT. The human brain does not nature until age 25 (at least). Who was it who once said: “If you’re young and not liberal, you have no heart. If you’re mature and not conservative, you have no brain?”

Susan Lapin says:

James, I know it is an impossible proposition but since the vote was lowered to 18 because of the draft and there is no active draft today, raising the voting age is actually what we should be discussing.

James says:

Yes indeed, I hereby second your motion.

bob blochowiak says:

Ms. Susan, Rather than raising the voting age from 18 to 21 why not reinstitute the draft. Two years for every graduating high schooler would help some to appreciate life in a broader sense, I know it jerked some slack out of my line when I was drafted in ’67. As a side note, I really love Ancient Jewish Wisdom found you several years back and make every attempt to watch and listen.

Susan Lapin says:

Bob, I think that as a country we do lose when young people are encouraged to be takers rather than give some years to their country. However, neither reinstitution of the draft nor raising the voting age is about to happen, realistically speaking.

L Maslonka says:

I liked Jo when I was 12. I also thought Romeo & Juliet was romantic. But I grew up.

Susan Lapin says:

Well, I still like Jo. But, yes, you see things through different lenses and the ones you have at sixteen are not the best ones for making decisions about society.

Kristin M. Grose says:

My thoughts precisely at every level, Susan, and written beautifully.

Susan Lapin says:

Thanks for writing, Kristin.

Sheldon Dan says:

Technically, the plural of “Ms.” is “Mlles” (Mesdemoiselles) or “Mmes” (Mesdames), and now that you mention it, there is no good plural for “Ms.” because it is an intermediate between “Miss” and “Mrs.”

Susan Lapin says:

Well, this is the first time I needed to use the plural, but I imagine that magazines and newspapers have run into the problem, Sheldon.

Sherry G. says:

My thought is that as long as you can be claimed on someone’s tax return as a dependent, you shouldn’t be voting. And maybe that could include those who remain on their parents insurance until the age of 26.

Susan Lapin says:

Sherry, there used to be a property requirement in some states, I believe. That was abused and times are different, but having some stake in the game does change things immensely.

Pat says:

I seem to recall a group of young people descending on Diane Feinstein’s office to tell her what to do and she basically told them she knew more than they did.

While Nancy knows a 16 year old voting age won’t happen, she knows they have to create a trail of breadcrumbs to attract the youth. I’m so happy to see the walkaway movement, Blexit, Jexodus helping to expose the truth about the high cost of turning over your thought process to politicians who claim they want to help you, yet actually need to have you stay angry and static so they have a cause to rail against.

Susan Lapin says:

Yes, Sen. Feinstein did respond well to them, so perhaps I should have left her out of my mix. I’m afraid that like Hillary Clinton found out in the last election, Democrats are finding that you cannot stir people up and then explain that they mustn’t be upset at you, you only meant to get them angry and riled up about the other guy.

Mark says:

Susan,

Barbara Boxer is, mercifully, already out of office. Unfortunately, she has been succeeded by Kamala Harris.

What has always baffled me about “Ms.”, beside the uncertainty of how to pronounce it, is that it is the only abbreviation I can think of for which a full, unabbreviated form of the word does not exist—which perhaps reflects its artificiality.

Susan Lapin says:

How embarrassing, Mark. I should have known that. Thanks for the correction. I’m going to edit the Musing.

Jim B says:

I would just like to mention that “more capable of maintaining the republic our Founders envisioned.” is not what the “progressives” have in mind for our country.
On a much happier note, judging by the comments so far, you really have some wonderful readers. I love their contributions.

Susan Lapin says:

Jim, we love reading the comments too! Progressives are quite open about not wanting to maintain the republic of our Founders. That, at least, is better than pretending otherwise and then acting differently once in power.

Edward Rubinstein says:

According to Dictionary.com, as well as many other sources, the plural of Ms is Mses—pronounced miz-uh z (accent on the first syllable.

Love all your musings, Susan.

Susan Lapin says:

What a quaint idea, Edward :), looking something up in the dictionary. Funny, how now that I can do that with a click of my finger online, I use a dictionary less than I did when it was on my shelf. Thanks.

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