Monday, April 25, 2016

Those Young Whippersnappers ARE going to lead!

Weekly Opinion Editorial


By Steve Fair

     On Saturday, the Oklahoma Young Republicans presented me with the inaugural Steve Fair Young Republican at Heart Award.  This will be an annual award given to someone who has been a mentor, role model, or benefactor to the YR group.  Hope Sutterfield, the Stephens County GOP Chair, presented the award.  It was a complete and total surprise.  I had been in Florida for three days at the RNC Spring meeting.  The YRs had asked me to conduct an auction at the first annual fundraiser.  I agreed, even though it had been a long week and I was exhausted.  When I arrived at the venue, my son and his family were there.  They live in Tulsa and while somewhat political, their presence tipped me off that something else was afoot.  When Hope announced the award will be given annually, I was simply blown away.  I have been politically active for decades, but I don’t believe I have earned the honor of having an award named after me, but I so appreciate the thought.  Three things

     First, young people are the key to America’s future.  I know we say that all the time, but so many older people refuse to let go of the reins for fear the ‘young folks’ will screw up what they have built.  George Orwell said, “Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”   I understand that sentiment, but I give it no quarters.  Every organization must have younger leaders developing and taking increased responsibility or that organization will die.  Hope Sutterfield is a classic example.  She is one of the youngest county GOP Chairs in the country and arguably is directing one of the most active.  She has exceptional leadership skills and is guided by her strong conservative values. Democrats understand that young people are the future.  That is why Sanders is able to fill huge arenas with young people, but that fact reveals a problem. 

     On Friday former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield said “If that(Sander’s socialist philosophy) is our future- we have no future.”  He went on to point out that Sander’s socialist philosophy will fail.  It always has.  Socialism is not sustainable.  Margaret Thacher said, "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money [to spend]."  Rumsfield pointed out the failure of American education to teach simple economics to young people.  For years, economics was a required basic course in college.  Today less than 4% of colleges require a student to take Economics to earn a degree.      

    Second, mentors, role- models and benefactors to young people are in short supply.  Some older folks simply don’t want to invest the time and energy to develop the next generation of leaders, but if not you, then who?  When parents and people in leadership positions, particularly in education, fail to educate young people on basic economic principles, they are doing them a great disservice.  Cashiers can’t count change and young adults can’t balance a check book, but it is because they haven’t been taught.  No one took the time to sit down and explain simple economics.  And in politics many young people are pushed aside because they haven’t ‘paid their dues,’  Not all young people want to be mentored.  Some just want to lead without proving they have leadership skills, but there are plenty of young adults who want to learn.  They just need an older person to take equity in them and show they care.

     Third, the millennial generation WILL lead America.  Millennials are those who were born after 1980.  They number over 83 million in the United States.  They are the largest block of consumers and voters in the country.  They tend to be less religious and more liberal in both social and fiscal policy than either the Baby Boomers or Generation Xers.  Make no mistake- they will lead America.  Older leaders can complain about their lack of understanding and how if they are given the reins, they will fail, but rest assured, they will get the reins.  By ignoring them and failing to come along side and mentor them, credibility and rapport with them is often non-existent. 

     It is an incredible honor to have an award named after you while you are living and I am even more humbled when I consider this award is for mentoring the next generation. Reagan said that freedom is just one generation from extinction.  By the grace of God, I don’t want it to be the generation after me.

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