Give the vote away

“If these kids want to really impact the way the government works and how the country works, give them the VOTE!” NPR editorial

Give.  16 year olds. the. vote.

ARE YOU INSANE?!!!!

They’re Children!  It’s like handing the reins of the household to the elementary aged children.  “NO you cannot watch TV, you have Homework to do!”  “I have a vote, Teddy has a vote, and Joe has a vote…We’re all equal in this family!  It’s 3:2 we win!  Turn on the TV Joe!”  “Joe is 4.  He’s not in school yet, and Teddy doesn’t have homework in 1st grade.  They don’t know how important homework is.”  “That’s ageism!  You can’t deny me my television rights just because you think homework is important.  I already get A’s without studying and pass all my tests with ease.”  “You’re right.  I’m sorry.  Here’s the remote.”

How foolish is that?

I grew up with marches.  We were protesting dress codes in high school.  We were protesting the war in college.  We were fighting global hunger.  We were fighting for youth autonomy, women’s rights, and legal and safe abortions.  Gay people were coming out of the closet.  The media was active in these marches, and they prepped their people well.  At Columbia University, during the riots, the news crew would come upon a group of people just standing around and ask them to do some action for the background of the story and hand them the bricks.  They were going to be on TV!  So they did.  Then when the news crews left, they went back to standing around doing nothing.  Funny how none of that was reported.  We voted at age 18, and nothing that we marched for was ever on the ballots.  We were voting, we thought, for the representatives who would solve these issues.

16 year old voters?  Are you kidding me?  They’re playing video games where they blow people away with astonishing ferocity.  They’re stealing cars and shooting at police from the safety of their living rooms.  All their news they get if from Facebook and Twitter.  All the news available now (except BBC) you have to already know what you want to hear and then tune into that channel.

On Super Girl, as she applies for a job as a journalist, the editor says, “Facts!  No adjectives.”  Find ONE news show that doesn’t amplify aspects of the story by their choice of adjectives.  It can be as silly as a description of the movement of the DOW which nobody understands anyway.  “The Dow PLUNGED 20 points today.  Investors were backing off due to the Labor numbers.”  News flash, none of the individual investors had the slightest idea what the Labor numbers were or what they meant.  The institutional investors looked at all the numbers, including the Labor numbers, and decided they might make a profit if they sold some today.  20 points is not even a drop in the bucket.  The next week, “The Dow was up only 20 points today.  Investors were cautious on their trading due to last week’s devastating plunge.”  No they weren’t.  So when it comes to news of substance, information we need to run our businesses, policy changes in the government, local situations we need to know, it’s all colored by the political bias of the agency that presents it.  It makes it difficult for adults to discern the facts from the news and the fake news.  We go on witch hunts trying to find quick fixes for everything because we are overloaded by the seriousness of all that is going on around us.

I’m a mom of 5 kids.  This is how I relate to this:

Ben is playing a video game, Pat and Jo are fighting about who is taking too much space in their bedroom.  Ward wants to have some friends over and is nagging to get a date and time set.  Baby Sean is screaming for mom because he’s wet/tired/hungry or all 3.  Ben isn’t causing any problems, ignore.  Pat and Jo are threatening to break furniture–handle 1st.  Stick head into bedroom and yell “SHUT UP!  Behave!  Get along!”  Put off Ward because Baby is still screaming.  Change/feed baby.  Ward is pouting, leave alone.  Girls are whispering urgently and vehemently in room, but no longer threatening furniture.  Too many things coming at you, and reaction is immediate but incomplete.  The problems are not solved.  Only symptoms are addressed.

North Korean situation, Russian situation, Afghanistan situation, Syrian situation, LGTB rights protest, economics situation, GDP situation, International trade situation, School regulations, bullying, suicides due to cyber-bullying, piercings, tattoos, all this is being unloaded unfiltered and biased into kids’ heads.  What can they get their heads around?  Killing kids their age in schools.  No brainer.  This is a bad thing.  Kids should not be killing kids.  How do we stop kids from killing kids?  March!  There ought to be a law that protects kids from getting killed at school.  (There is.  Murder has always been against the law.)  There ought to be a law that keeps kids from getting guns.  (There is a law that requires background checks and a waiting period.  Guns can be borrowed, stolen, and bought illegally, or bought legally for purposes other than killing kids.)  There is no question on the application that says, “Do you plan to use this weapon to kill as many people as you can in a short amount of time?”  If there was, would people answer this truthfully?  But it is an easy concept…kids should not be killed in school.  Anyone that would oppose that is seriously lacking in the common sense department.  Does it get headlines?  Of course!  Big ones!  So if you wanted to advance your point of view, put your face on the front of the movement, and get good ratings during sweeps month, hitch your wagon to this pony!  So yes, adults can take advantage of naive and active kids.

There is no way in the world that a 16 year old child has any inkling about how things should work, and 18-year-olds are not much better.  The difference is, 18-year-olds can be pressed into military service and have to volunteer their lives for a premise they might not even understand.  The information available to 16-year-olds is incomplete and sometimes incomprehensible.  They cannot see years ahead because they don’t have the wisdom or the experience to do so.  We didn’t in our 20’s!  They do not have the moral basis to make ethical decisions.  They get no instruction on morals from school, the community, the media or their parents.  How would they be suddenly qualified?  Heck!  If we are realistic, we should RAISE the voting age to 50 or so.  Let people with wisdom, the gift of hindsight and foresight, experience, and a logical mind do the voting.  There would be fewer knee jerk reactions to situations and more pondering on the deeper implications of proposed legislation.  How ridiculous is that?

I’m sorry, but if I had been a gun toting teen watching all those privileged kids who had bullied me since I was kindergarten marching on Washington and making righteous indignation noises about my right to have any gun I pleased, I would have gone with them and set up in a hotel or parking garage and sprayed the whole group.  I’m kind of surprised no one thought of that.  Did the nerds and the geeks and the undesirables ride on a different bus…in the back seats?  Did the poor kids that were the brunt of the bullying get to make the trip at all?  The only ones marching were the ones that were afraid they’d be on the top of the hit list like mine.  It’s self preservation, nothing more, nothing less.  They could care less about all the kids they destroy because they can without firing a shot.  They’ll never be judged.  They’ll never have any consequences to face.  I’d be glad that they’re being trashed on social media like they’ve done to the rest of us.  I’d be delighted that their every move was scrutinized by an unforgiving public, because none of those dirty secrets ever comes up in the school; they’re too popular and too savvy to allow that to happen.  Will any of those snobs get to the point of considering suicide like the kids they subjected to this treatment?  I certainly hope so.

But I’m not a gun toting 16 year old kid.  I don’t think like that.  I don’t believe they should have the vote.

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