17 y/o Primary Voters in Ohio? Why Not “14 or Fight”?

“Who in America really can resist the clarion call of youth? … down with experience.”
Wild in the Streets

For most of my life, I have felt like 1968 had never quite disappeared — that it had not quite played itself out, and we would see it again, showing up in politics and the culture at some point.

Recent events, most particularly college campus demonstrations and street violence, has brought around that old feeling again, and it stepped up a bit at the news that Bernie Sanders has succeeded in getting 17 year-olds into the primary voting booth.

I waited to see if anyone else remembered this movie from 1968, called Wild in the Streets but no one seems to have mentioned it. It was released in the heyday of the Vietnam war, Boomer self-idolatry, The Who’s “My Generation” and “don’t trust anyone over 30” sloganeering. As a ten year-old I watched it on television not quite understanding that it was meant as political and social satire. I didn’t get it all, but I always remembered the scene when celebrity boomers advocated lowering the voting age to 14. “Fourteen or Fight,” sang the pop star, Max Frost, to the roaring approval of the mindless mob. It was a pretty catchy tune.

Of course, the blindly ambitious politician Frost had previously agreed to endorse makes a deal; he’ll get on board. “Change ’14 or Fight’ into ’15 and Ready’, and I’ll support your demonstrations…”

You can watch the whole movie here for now.


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