Sunday, October 26, 2014

Six Days Short

On November 4th, millions of Americans will line up outside schools, libraries, and city halls to cast their votes. But I won't be with them. Not because I don't care-in fact, I think off-year elections are more important than the presidential ones because my vote might actually count for something. But on the fourth of November, my age will be seventeen years, eleven months, three weeks, and one day.
My friend Paige was born on November 1st, a week and a day before me. Three days after her birthday you'll find her at the polls.
At the Seneca Falls Convention, the first political meeting by and for American woman, most in attendance didn't dare push for the right to vote. This was 1848. Seventy two years later, they got it. Their votes had no profound political impact on the next election. As a whole, women were still less educated and less involved in life outside the homes. I'm sure thousands of them just gave their husbands an extra vote, just as thousands do it today. But that's not what matters. The point isn't what we say, it's that our voices can be heard.
There are adults out there who cast their ballot for candidates who have the same gender, race, religion, and home state. There are adults who vote for the candidate their husbands, wives, neighbors, bosses, and yes, parents choose. There are adults who will vote for a candidate just because they saw a sign with their name on it. If not, why advertise in the first place? Last week, while listening to the radio on my way to school, I heard an interviewer ask half a dozen adults one question: "Who is Joe Biden?" One woman managed to get close. "Uh...I want to say our state representative?" But there was a whole lot of "'ve got nothing."
Yes, I know how these types of surveys work. If a hundred people gave the right answer they'd still only show us the stupid ones. But these people can vote. They're the ones deciding my future.
I don't see that much difference between a twenty one year old and an eighteen year old. Or an eighteen year old and a sixteen year old. Or an eighteen year old and a seventeen year, eleven month, three week, and one day year old.
In the past, my Big Impossible Dream was a lower voting age. Now what gets my blood boiling is everyday things. I'd like to see a world where adults ask for our names before our ages. I'd like to see a world where younger students are crushed by the older kids. I'd like to see a world where teachers didn't rape students, where kids weren't scared to go home to their parents at the end of the day, where seven year olds can walk down a street without planning kidnapper escape routes.
But maybe, just maybe, there's a chance. Takoma Park, Maryland has already dropped the voting age to seventeen. I don't see more cities following in their footsteps anytime soon, but Lowell could be our Seneca Falls.

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