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Teenage Politicians. WTFO!?!

Posted by aaron on May 26, 2008

The city of Muskogee, Oklahoma recently elected 19-year-old John Tyler Hammons as it’s new mayor. He also just finished his freshman year at the University of Oklahoma. To perform in his new post as mayor, a non-paid position where he will lead the nine-member city council, Hammons will move back home with his mother and father. He says being elected is the “most awesome experience I've ever had in my life.” Dude, you’re 19, you haven’t had that many experiences but I’m sure it rates right up there with that spelling bee you won in fifth grade.
Hammons does have some political background. While in high school, just last year, he was the president of both the Young Republicans and their arch rivals, the Young Democrats. He threw his hat in for both positions and, well, they both elected him. That’s certainly an I-feel-very-strongly-both-ways kind of statement.
There is a precedent for not trusting these teenage politicians. In 2006, Hillsdale Michigan elected an 18 year old mayor, Michael Sessions. After falling out with his former campaign manager, Brandon Thomas, Sessions, using his personal computer, hacked into the Eastern Michigan University computer network to eliminate Thomas’ Myspace and AOL AIM accounts. Sessions, posing as a concerned student, also sent e-mails to University officials and Thomas’ mother making disparaging remarks about Thomas’ character. Sessions, the little cyber-Nazi, charged with a misdemeanor, received 40-hours community service as punishment.
OK, so where does that leave us with Hammons, Muskogee’s new 19-year-old mayor. Let’s get some things straight here. If your voice still cracks while in the final stages of puberty, you’re too young to be a mayor. If you have to live with mom and dad to support you while you hold office, you’re too young to be mayor. If you still use Clearasil on your zits each morning, you’re too young to be mayor. If you don’t earn enough money to require you to balance your own checkbook, you don’t get to have a say in balancing the books of the city.
People of Muskogee, are you nuts? How about electing a person with some life experiences that include more than high school and middle school. How about electing someone who knows about hard work, paying bills, displays evidence of a determined commitment and demonstrated an ability to lead. How about electing someone who’s last big budget decision wasn’t what tux and corsage to get for prom.
Some will say old enough to vote, old enough to fight, then old enough to lead. Being able to vote is no indicator of leadership skills and just because you’re old enough to serve in the military doesn’t mean you get put in charge of the brigade. Others will say, hey, he can’t do any worse than the politicians we already have. Yes he can! Inexperience and immaturity are a recipe for municipal calamity.
Hammons says he wants to be the Oklahoma governor and eventually president of the US. Maybe he can ride this inexperience thing all the way to the White House, at least then he won't have to live with mom and dad.  


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