Children’s Suffrage Now

We the people. Yea right, at first it was effectively “We the white land owning males.” Then the poor, then women, then minorities, so now it’s we the people, over 18. They are allowed to be beaten, because they are powerless, because they have no vote. The argument that they are immature and would not understand the issues could and should be applied to adults. Voting requires a level of reasoning, yet adults are not tested if they possess it. Immature logic and being easy to coerce were arguments used in attempts to prevent blacks and women from voting as well. Anyone can be coerced regardless of age, gender, or race. Given the right conditions. All societies distinguish between an adult phase and a immature phase of life where rights are curtailed. And no society has managed to produce a peacefully unifying culture. Could there be a link? The 26th amendment lowered voting age which shows that it is arbitrary, or fluctuates. Children as young as 12 get tried as adults. The argument is made that children are growing and thus their opinions will change over time. That is of course correct but it is no reason for them to be barred from voting. Many adults change parties, many adults vote irrationally because they liked how one candidate looked in a suit, or because their pet told them to vote a certain way. Many adults throw their votes away on candidates they know won’t win, or write ins that have no meaning, many vote for two people, some intentionally. The point is, people make mistakes, and age is really no indicator of how likely a person is to make them. Mental ability varies from person to person. Some are geniuses, some are not. Some are 10 and some are 90. 18 year olds if raised traditionally are in many ways new children. They bridge the gap between the life of school and obedience they have experienced all their lives, to the life of decisions and freedom that is entirely new in their experience. This effect is well known, it’s why many adults look fondly back on their freshman year of college, their first year not under a thumb.

They also laugh at the memory of this awkward stage, and the mistakes they made. The traditional American gets two childhoods. And the second one they are allowed to vote through, so I say why not the first? How many perfectly rational level headed adults do you know? If your experience is anything like mine, they are in the minority. If you are a citizen, have an opinion, are subject to the rule of law, you should be allowed to vote, period. No rational argument can be made against that position without admitting to some form of support for totalitarianism or discrimination. People should be allowed to begin participating in the political process as Americans as soon as they demonstrate an interest. Weakness corrupts, some of us had political interest since we were 10. Spending years being bossed around by the government through the school, makes us lose taste for the whole country. It makes us cynical. Because we hear all the garbage about everyone having a voice, while being told not to talk in class. We’re told about freedom of speech only to be punished for being “disrespectful”. We’re expected to know algebra and made to feel stupid if we can’t name every president between Washington and Lincoln, yet we’re told that an opinion on healthcare spending is beneath us. And you wonder why half the population doesn't vote. If you treat children like children, the adults they turn into will act like children. If we started voting soon enough, we wouldn’t have that cynicism, if we had just a little respect as human beings. Churches don't wait, why allow churches and other organizations with clear political agendas to influence children and not let them vote? Do children who grow up in the church not vote in its favor the overwhelming majority of the time? Children also have unique concerns that require representation. I would like to form the children’s lobby, but I know there is no funding for it. I have to be rich first. Examples of these unique issues are very real. For example, children have a much greater stake in environmental policy than any adult because they will be exposed to the future environment much longer than policy makers and polluters both, they should be allowed to vote for the protection of the environment that only they will see. As long as school attendance is compulsory it is unfair to deny children the right to vote in favor of better educational funding. Children daily risk their lives because of legal threats, and lack of standing. How would you vote

on education if you were forced through metal detectors and risked being shot? Imagine being forced to fly somewhere every day and go through airport security and then wait for 6 hours in the most crime ridden area you can think of, all the while having no opportunity to improve your conditions, or even be heard as a human being with an opinion. Now imagine that you tried to speak up anyway, and someone came and hit you for it, and you could do nothing legally or physically about it. Welcome to being a typical child in America. Kids who work, pay into social security, yet they have no right to vote with regard to how the fund is managed. Poverty among children exceeds all age groups, while the government spends 10 times as much money on each poor senior as it does each poor child. Can we tell the Gov is run by old people yet? Children have no AARP, no meaningful lobby yet there are millions of them. This really needs revision. Criminals too, it’s quickly becoming a crime to have vocal disfavor with the government, if labeling someone a criminal -or terrorist if one wants to be topical- is all it takes to strip them of their right to vote, then the government is in a position ripe for the formation of tyranny. I'm told that at this rate, by 2050 half our population will be in prison. We already have the largest prison population in the industrialized world. What will be the democratic implications of a country that claims to be democratic yet imprisons half its population and does not allow them to vote?