Say you were elected the first teenage president of the United States. What would be your top priority?
Sixteen-year-old Rayven Heath, from Dorchester, believes first and foremost that the brazen misuse of guns poses a colossal threat to America itself.
“As soon as I step into office,” says Health, “I’d institute a standardized state test where the person has to follow a specific protocol -- otherwise they face unfavorable consequences.”
Heath wants intense, ongoing scrutiny of the potential gun owner, including questions about why the person needs the weapon, and training for that individual about when and when not to shoot.
Penalties ranging from gun-license revocation to prison would be levied on those -- both civilians and law enforcement -- who betray their stated intentions of firearms use, says Heath.
Of course, as far as any teen actually topping the ticket, Article II, Section 1, of the US Constitution clearly states:
“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
Putting constitutional constraints aside -- as some of the major party candidates have seemingly already done in their quests for the White House -- teens say that by raising serious concerns about the future of the country, many youth have displayed more maturity than at least several of the clownish, adult contenders.
For 19-year-old Abbie Williams, of Mattapan, job one would be to repair the shredded state of race relations in America by putting those who feel left out and left behind on more equal footing with those who hold a superior power standing in society.
“Adults and children should see role models who have a high status, who have influential positions, and more importantly, these people should look like them,” says Williams.
Part of that could be accomplished, teens say, through heavy educational investment.
Sixteen-year-old Maya Alaoeasheg, from the South End, feels that building high-quality schools would help level the field for kids from different backgrounds and give them the same opportunities to advance.
“America has numerous disadvantage gaps between the rich and the poor,” she says. “In my opinion, the education gap is most detrimental. It’s expanding and it does concern me. I would build the best high schools all over the country and have the best certified teachers enlightening future generations.”
Here are other major issues on the minds of American teen members of Generation Z who were polled in 2014:
- • Equality for all;
- • Universal, free healthcare;
- • The right of everyone to become a US citizen regardless of where they were born or how they came to the country;
- • More college affordability;
- • Being better educated about personal finances;
- • Commanding their own futures.
Source: Northeastern University