Helping youngsters study voting – why the 15th Amendment matters NOW

This column appeared in several APG of East Central Minnesota newspapers during March, 2020, including the Star News.

The column begins,

Helping youngsters study voting

Pride, passion, cynicism and confusion – that’s some of what I’ve heard recently from people talking about voting. Given national, state and local elections this year, it’s a perfect time for families and educators to discuss this with their youngsters.

Once, as a teacher, I found that some youngsters were worried there could be a war in the U.S. immediately after the 2008 presidential election involving John McCain and Barack Obama. They had watched fiery TV ads criticizing each candidate. They’d also heard news reports about riots in another country immediately after elections. They wondered if this would happen here.

I reassured them that although this country has plenty of problems, one of our great strengths has been peaceful transitions from one president to the next.

Those fears helped explain why it makes sense to start a conversation with youngsters by asking “How do you feel about voting? What have you heard?” Before sharing your own attitudes and ideas, it’s helpful to know what youngsters are thinking. That helps you start with where they are at – and questions they have.

So, readers, how do you feel about voting? Do you feel any of the following?


The full column is available here: