Filler #3: The Right to Vote [Happy New Year Edition!]

Posted by Whit Barringer , Tuesday, January 01, 2008 8:56 AM

I'm going to be leaving soon for St. Lou-ay to see Wicked (yes, I'm excited). So instead of laboring in what time I left between today and tomorrow morning to put up another heartfelt blog entry, I'll leave you with filler (and maybe a Firestarter) that will have to tide you over until I get back on Friday, if not Saturday. This is another article from Helium. Since the Iowa caucus will happen in the time that I am gone, I thought I would offer up a voting-themed entry.

Anyway, here's wishing you a Happy and Safe New Year! Many blessings upon all of your families. Enjoy!

Q: Is eighteen too young to vote?

A. No.

Eighteen is just old enough to die for God and country without parental consent. I don't understand why they can't vote for the people who would send them off to war for causes not necessarily their own. This isn't something as simple as full driver's licenses and being able to buy cigarettes. This is something much much larger than that, and it cannot be underestimated.

I understand the arguments. Teenagers don't really keep up with politics. That demographic is one of the lowest in the voting ranks. They are not really old enough to take full responsibility for themselves. Those who are going to college haven't had enough education to vote responsibly, and those who aren't going to college haven't had enough real world experience to understand what it means to vote and how it affects them.

Somehow, the millions of adults who don't vote, don't have experience, and don't have an education get whittled down to a bunch of kids who are about to graduate high school. When less than a third (compared to over 95% of France in their last election) of eligible voters are going to the polls, I think it's private interest that would rather see the voting age raised to exclude idealistic 18-year-olds. What else would please old despots and oligarchies more than to cut out new ideas and young minds.

Honestly, this isn't about Republicans and Democrats, Capitalists and Communists. This is about democracy and the rule of the people. It's long been held that 18 is the threshold that young girls and boys walk through to become strong women and men. So what does 18 become without the right to vote? It becomes a somewhat destructive milestone because it means cigarettes, gambling, driving, and military service. Make that age synonymous with responsibility and duty to one's country. Make it worth more than a pack of Marlboro Reds and a trip to the casino.

Coming of age should most certainly mean more than that, and the right to vote is one of the most positive ways to plant the seeds of responsible citizenship into the soil of the mind. Taking that away creates an entire class of disenfranchised youths who have the potential to give so much back to the world. Taking away the right to vote takes too much from those who haven't really had a chance to impact the world yet. If anyone deserves the right to be taken away, it's those who have never voted and are old enough to have done so many times. They've squandered their rights. Give the 18-year-olds a chance to prove that they won't do the same with theirs.

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