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The Pro-Youth Pages
© 2003, Pro-Youth Pages

Hurray for Howard Dean!

5 Reasons Young People like this Presidential Candidate

After eight years of Bill Clinton's attacks on children and teenagers, many youth and youth advocates turned away from Clinton's Democratic Party. Howard Dean, now seeking the Democratic Party's nomination for president, may be the one man who can win them back. Consider these issues:

    Governor Howard Dean on microphone
    Governor Howard Dean
  1. Child abuse. According to the August 11, 2003 Newsweek, Howard Dean, as governor of Vermont, cut the state's child abuse rate by 30%. To be fair, Vermont has a small population, so this success might be the result of stopping only a handful of abusers. Still, Dean deserves credit for instituting programs that prevent child abuse, and funding those programs despite Dean's well-deserved reputation for being tight-fisted with tax-payers' money.

  2. Health coverage. Howard Dean plans, as president, to ensure that every American under the age of 25 has health coverage. He also plans to give coverage to the vast majority of Americans older than 25, but covering the young is at the top of his agenda. It should be. A child cannot help if she is born into a family too poor to provide her proper medical treatment. Howard Dean believes the government should guarantee health insurance for all people, but because youth are the most vulnerable and bear the least responsibility for their situation, youth should have top priority. If universal health care must be delivered to America in piecemeal fashion, as Dean believes it must, let children and teenagers have the first piece.

  3. Supporting the United Nations on children's rights. Despite America's image as a bastion of human rights, the United States is one of only two nations in the world that still has not ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. (The other nation is Somalia.) This human rights convention is so mild that it was accepted even by Saddam Hussein's Iraq, plus Cuba, China, and Afghanistan as well as France, Germany, England, Israel, Canada, and the rest of the world's nations. But the United States, under President Clinton and both President Bushes, has so far refused to support the modest rights and freedoms outlined in this document. (This convention guarantees children such things as the right not to be abused. Bill Clinton opposed it on grounds that it might be used to outlaw corporal punishment. Saddam Hussein wasn't worried about that.) President Bush's on-going refusal to ratify this human rights agreement has cost America prestige on the world stage. In May, 2001, for example, the United Nations voted to remove the United States from its Human Rights Commission. The other nations no longer trust us to protect human rights. Howard Dean can change this. He supports ratifying this human rights document.

  4. Abortion. Howard Dean is proudly pro-choice, and he opposes age-restrictions on abortion. Some politicians who advertise themselves as pro-choice, such as Joe Lieberman, support parental consent restrictions and other obstacles that force teenagers to bear children. Many who advertise themselves as "pro-life" share the same hypocrisy. President Bush, for example, proclaims that the fetus is alive and that all life is sacred. Yet Bush seems to believe life in the womb of a teenager is more sacred than life in the womb of an older woman; he too supports age-restrictions. This double-standard is not founded on any real moral principal. It is political game-playing. Politicians of every stripe see age-restrictions as a way to appease anti-abortion voters without upsetting those voters who want access to abortions. This is the same political game-playing that led America's fight over prohibition to end with an age-restriction on alcohol, and led the fight over violence on TV to end with the V-chip. Howard Dean, who practiced medicine until the day he was sworn in as governor, knows that the abortion issue is too serious for game-playing. He takes a position founded, not on politics, but on medical science and his own conscience.

  5. Defeating John Kerry. Analysts agree John Kerry, the most anti-youth candidate in this primary, is competing most directly against Howard Dean. The two men are targeting the same primary voters. Therefore, if Howard Dean does well in the earliest primaries, John Kerry will have to give up and drop out of the race promptly. If Dean does poorly in the early primaries, Kerry will think he has a shot and will stay in the race for the long haul and may even win. With Kerry's threats against youth, it is best Kerry disappear as soon as possible. Howard Dean can make that happen.
youth with Howard Dean

With all this, it is easy to understand why so many young people are excited about Howard Dean; not just willing to vote for him, but willing to volunteer time campaigning for him.

For more information on Howard Dean, including ways you can help Dean win the Whitehouse, check out Dean's campaign website at:

Update 2/04: Heartbreak

After a pounding from the mainstream media and Republicans, as well as some dirty campaigning by John Kerry, Howard Dean gave up his campaign for president.

To his credit, Howard Dean never turned against youth, as other desperate candidates have done in elections past. In Dean's speech announcing he would suspend campaigning, he rightfully acknowledged that he owed much to people "under 30 years of age" who supported him.

Thank you, Dr. Dean, for your courage and your virtue, and for giving us the hope that some day all politicians will rise above the cowardice that leads them to attack children and teenagers.

Update 2/05: Back on Top

Howard Dean has been elected Chair of the Democratic Party. He won't be able to help youth as much as he could have as president. But he will play a crucial role in leading the Democratic Party and shaping the values for which they stand.

If Dean moves the party in youth-friendly directions, and the party succeeds, the Republicans may soon match the Democrats by electing a youth-friendly Chair for their own party, and the whole country may move away from the current hostility toward youth. No results are guaranteed, but with Dean as the Chair of a major political party, at least there is hope.