I listened to some of the Minnesota governor’s “State of the State” address this week. Most of it was pretty standard ‘normal’ republican fare about cutting taxes, increasing opportunity etc., and as such I agreed with some and disagreed with the rest. I’m sure Gov. Pawlenty will shoulder the burden of my disapproval quite handily.
Anyway, one section struck me as add for two reasons. He introduced a 17 year old, still at school, who is also a member of the armed forces (I presume through the national guard). Now it may just have been my lack of attention, but the first odd thing was that he didn’t really seem to have a point. Yes, he wanted to thank this person and her colleagues for their service, which is a good and decent thing to do, but the way it played seemed more like a way to get the crowd in a clapping mood before getting into the substance. But I’ll excuse him this, and just assume that there was actually a policy about paying soldiers enough that they don’t have to rely on welfare or something.
The second, even more puzzling thing to my ears was that he picked a 17 year old. Many groups class anyone under 18 as a child soldier. I’m not convinced of that logic (my cousin tried to join up when he was 16, and seemed mature enough to me to make that decision), but if you accept as a nation that people can make that decision when they’re 16 or 17, they should also be able to do all the other things that adults do, like vote, drink, and make up their own minds on Spongebob Squarepants. The fact that we have people who can choose to die for their leader, but can’t choose their leader, is a joke. Only not a very funny one.