"[I]f I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week…The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature." --Charles Darwin

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Picket and be happy

Confession time: I once had a political cause. I campaigned actively for the 19-year-old vote. If that sounds funny, it's because our pathetic attempt in 1970 (when I was 14) to get a law passed in New Jersey lowering the voting age to 19 were utterly eclipsed by the 26th Amendment, which passed in 1971, lowering the voting age to 18.

Nonetheless I believe our efforts contributed to an overall political atmosphere which made passage of the 26th Amendment possible. And, I freely admit, it was fun going to meetings and making signs and pamphlets and stuff.

Now the scientists have confirmed my impression. Protesting makes you happy! It's good for you to go out and do something about the causes you feel passionately about. Doesn't matter what those causes are--left, right, center or any other variation. Political activism leads to greater satisfaction in life.

So it behooves us to urge our students not only to take a stand, but--in a safe, peaceful, responsible way--take steps to change the world as they see fit. After all, having more happy young people will make the world better all by itself!

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