Voters should look out for children’s best interests.
What grade did they earn Tuesday? We’d say a solid “C”
Have you started thinking about what to get your kids for Christmas yet? South Sound parents had a great opportunity this week for an early round of gift-giving — accessible to all adults regardless of income, guaranteed to bless children long past any manufacturer’s warranty.
Exercising our voting franchise responsibly is one of the most precious gifts we can give the youth of Washington, who aren’t old enough to vote (except by casting pretend ballots during mock elections at school) but are acutely aware of what’s at stake.
How’d we do this year in representing their best interests? Let’s just say Tuesday’s election results were a mixed bag, with some unmerited lumps of coal distributed to kids in rural and suburban Pierce County.
On the bright side, Washington voters took an unequivocal stand for child safety by supporting Initiative 1639 with a more than 60-percent yes vote. I-1639 will raise the purchase age on assault-style weapons from 18 to 21, enact tougher background screenings and establish safe-storage precautions.
Sensible gun reform that allows young people to feel more secure at school and in their communities was on many wish lists this year. The Valentine’s Day massacre that killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida unleashed a wave of youth activism from Puyallup to Tacoma to Gig Harbor. Threats of violence like the ones at Lincoln and Franklin Pierce high schools on Thursday magnify the sense of vulnerability.
I-1639 will also provide a check against the self-destructive impulses prevalent in our youth. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among Washingtonians age 10 to 24, and firearms are the chief means of suicide.
Tacoma voters mustered an even larger winning margin for local Proposition 1. The citywide sales-tax hike, which will expand arts, science and other enrichment activities for marginalized youth, was above 64 percent Thursday.
“Tacoma Creates” is a generous gift with a lifetime of benefits; studies show children exposed to the arts at early ages are more proficient in reading, writing and math; better disciplined in class; and more engaged with their feelings and connected to their communities.
Read the full article on The News Tribune website.