How old do you have to be to act responsibly?

How old do you have to be to act responsibly?

The recent unearthing of an interview with Schwarzenegger in 1977 has created a lot of buzz about whether or not it is relevant to his campaign for governor in California. [Article] But what interests me more are the methods by which this information is dismissed by his supporters.

The most common answer? “He was young.”

What a crock. He was nearly 30 years old when he gave the interview! He was certainly older than that when he finally started controlling himself. This gets me wondering — how old is adult? We are supposed to accept that something someone said publicly when they were three decades old is off-limits and shouldn’t be looked at to examine their character? You can say “it’s the economy, stupid” all you want, but the fact remains that at SOME point it must matter what people say and how they act.

Obviously our culture has pushed adolescence well into the twenties. Instead of expecting young men to become reasoned, responsible individuals in their teens, as was once the custom, degrading behavior is now excusable all the way into graduate school, where drinking and partying is the “social interaction” that is supposedly so necessary to human development. Now it looks like adolescence needs to be pushed into the early thirties in order to not be embarrassed by the disgusting, misogynistic opining of a body builder who wasn’t “liv[ing] [his] life to be a politician.” How about common decency? Not so common I suppose. But hey, can people change? Of course.

Yes, people can change. And they shouldn’t be judged by things they did in the past if they have really, honestly changed. But you would think that someone who has matured past animalistic activities would have something deeper to say than “I haven’t lived my life to be a politician.” What about living your life to be a father? His response really bothers me. I wouldn’t want to be so harsh about this, but this dismissive attitude is repugnant.

California Republicans are just happy that someone with an R after their name might actually win in October — either that or they just can’t get past how “cool” it would be to have the Terminator or the Kindergarten Cop in Sacramento. But unmitigated party loyalty is not an excuse for saying “he was young, it was 25 years ago” when something bad comes to the surface about their anointed candidate. Make arguments about the economy and about running as “the people’s governor.” That’s fine. But saying that a 29 year old man is just “young” is ridiculous.

So how old do you have to be to be expected to act responsibly?

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