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Young US mayor might be on to something

Ruth Swanson | Interrobang | Opinion | November 28th, 2005

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
Michael Sessions isn't old enough to buy beer. Soon, he'll be putting long hours in at the library, studying for winter exams. But one thing is sure; he wont have a hard time finding a date to his senior prom, now that he is the mayor of Hillsdale, Michigan.

Sessions was sworn in as mayor of the small town south of Detroit last week after beating the town's incumbent mayor, Doug Ingles, by only two votes. At 18, he was barely old enough to even vote in the election. Even John F. Kennedy, the youngest US President in history, was 29 when he began a career in politics; ancient compared to Mike.

Michael Sessions

I have this tale unfolding in my head about who those two voters were that secured the victory for Mike. A classmate perhaps, or a guy that he used to smoke pot with; a teacher who always liked the cut of his jib; his mother's sewing circle friend; maybe even the school bully that had always taken his lunch money by the monkey bars.

I'm sure some of the 8,200 people living in Hillsdale are a little nervous about having a teenager calling the shots. How will he react to the pressure of responsibility that comes with such a position? Will he sit back, too scared to make decisions that affect so many people, or will he rise to the challenge and make the town proud? Most 18-year olds are too busy playing xBox or drinking in a park to even clean their rooms, let alone govern a town. But people seem to think this kid has what it takes, and he is already starting to generate some national interest in the small town. He was on Letterman, and surely there is an Oprah appearance in his future — between classes, of course.

Personally, I think the town of Hillsdale, Michigan is onto something here.

Electing a teenaged mayor is the first step towards the ultimate political strategy that I've thought up; a strategy that is so foolproof that in one day could end all wars, destroy all nuclear weapons, find funding for AIDS programs and uncover the cure for cancer. I call it Operation: Sparks. I figure that all it would take to solve the world's problems is to send a group of eight or 10 Sparks and Brownies into a UN meeting, armed with a box of Girl Guide cookies and an innocent smile. Get them to ask for world peace — who could possibly say no to a Spark?

No one thinks twice when Kofi Annan asks for clean water. But get little Ashley with the pink Sparks tee shirt to ask, and world leaders won't be able to reach their chequebooks fast enough. Want Israelis and Pakistanis to get along? Send in Rebecca with the pigtails and a box of Mint Thins.

Seriously, has anyone ever been able to pass by these kids selling cookies outside the Blockbuster? I haven't met a person yet that is capable of resisting their innocent charm. The cookies aren't even that good, and are way overpriced. But every year we buy them out, because, face it; kids have power.

So will Michael Sessions, the 18-year old mayor do his job well? As long as he remembers that he's just a kid, he'll get more done than any over-the-hill politician ever could.

Willing to help Ruth execute her Operation: Spark plan? email her at
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