Election Day has finally arrived. You know what that means: the annoying phone calls are over at last. I've seen plenty of teenagers at my high school walking around with slogan shirts hoping to sway over a few seniors. Hardly any of them can vote anyways because the election happens to fall in November. It makes me wish we could lower the voting age to sixteen. I wouldn't be able to vote then anyways. My birthday is four days after this election. I won't be able to vote my senior year either. I'll miss it by a week. But I don't support it just because I want my own voice to be heard, there's a whole world out there.
Of course, whenever I mention that, I brace myself for a half hearted put down too doubtful to even be called an argument. They usually go one of five ways:
"Sixteen year olds aren't mature enough to vote."
And that's going to change with two years? Is a thirty seven year old more mature than a thirty five year old? A little, perhaps, but does anybody care?
That's the same argument they used in 1971 when Congress was debating lowering the age from twenty one to eighteen. It dropped three whole years. Gasp. Did they ruin the country?
"They'll just vote stupidly."
And what, tell me, is a stupid vote? Was it stupid for the democrats to put Obama in office? For republicans to elect Bush?
"I mean, they'll just vote for whoever their parents want."
Ah, the family argument again. Congress decided to ignore that back in 1920. Ever since then, we've had legions of female voters giving their husbands an extra vote. What a mistake. Let's make that same mistake again.
"It doesn't affect you anyways."
I want to laugh at this one. At sixteen, aren't we driving and working and paying income taxes? And even before then, are our parents getting laid off? Does a ten year old leukemia patient know anything about health care? Maybe she doesn't understand all the political technicalities, but she knows how the treatments and bills feel. That's enough to have an opinion.
But say you're right. Sixteen and seventeen year olds are completely unaffected by the state of the world. Adults elect a president for them. A year or two after that, they're moving out. Going to college. Working. Some of them getting married. Serving in the military. Twenty and twenty one.
Are they affected now?
"You'll be old enough in a few years anyways."
Yes. And there will always be somebody younger than me.