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Lesson from the most recent campaign? U.S. suffrage should start at 16

In Law, Politics on October 7, 2008 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , , , ,

A while ago I promised to restrict my comments about the U.S. presidential elections to important topics because my frequent comments on one of the VP’s were reportedly getting bitter…

Photo (c) Getty Images, via Google

Photo (c) Getty Images, via Google

If there is anything that many countries of the world can be mad about is that they can not elect their own president. The Americans CAN do it. The rest of the world can laugh at Dubya and say he is the least bright president ever [www.dubyaspeak.com], but any American can say, [warning, just an example!] Hey, he may be a dumb president, but he is OUR president.

In recent years presidents have been affecting lives of people in different ways than they did in 1990’s. Decisions are made about things that will affect people in the upcoming years but the people concerned can do nothing about it! In other words, everything is way faster… They can not call their Senator, they can not file a normal lawsuit without legal guardian representation [with some exceptions] and they can not even get drunk because of the political decision, for crying out loud. There is a Czech saying “O nas, bez nas”, which means “About us, without us”.

This is why I think that Americans aged 16-18 should have the general right to vote. And if not the regular one, than there should be some kind of recalculation system. Example: three votes from “teenage” voter would be as good as one from an adult voter.

A sixteen year-old can be sentenced to life in prison in some states. The same person can’t even buy a beer.

You can’t have sixteen year-olds start buying alcohol, but it can work the other way around. Instead of giving them the good stuff earlier, let them have the responsible stuff earlier.

Makes perfect sense to me and I think there would be way more 30 year-olds in the House.

You can do it, America. 🙂

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4 Responses to “Lesson from the most recent campaign? U.S. suffrage should start at 16”

  1. You are forgetting that Americans can drive when they are 16. This is the exact reason that the drinking age was raised in the early 80’s. i think it is as ridiculous as anyone else, but the fact is that alcohol related driving fatalities decreased dramatically after that was passed. Also it was not a mandatory action, but rather an opt-in choice made by each state. As a matter of fact some did not opt-in and still have the 18 age limit.

    I would argue that actually Americans are burdened with responsibility MUCH earlier than Europeans (generally). We get no government handouts, must pay for our own educations, and provide our own health-care.

    Although we must wait until we are 18 to vote and 21 to drink, don’t mistake that for a lack of responsibility.

  2. You’re right, Ryan. As for driving, I still have a Utah drivers license (invalid/expired by now). No doubt the stats are right, there IS a (let’s say positive?) connection between the legal age for drinking and driving slash fatalities.

  3. There may be some 16 year olds who are mature enough to know what is going on politically in the US and around the world but they are few in number. None were among my classmates. They only cared about athletics, girls, drivers permit, boyfriends, SAT scores, volunteering, although there were exceptions. I started to vote in every election since I turned 18 only because my parents took me with them since I was a child and I saw them cast a ballot. As soon as I turned 18 I filled out my voters registration card the very next day. My parents stressed to me the importance of democracy and my right to vote is guaranteed by the constitution. My parents moved to the US from communist Czechoslovakia so they stressed the importance of voting. If the parents do not vote and instill in 16 year olds the importance of voting then it is not practical. Minimum age to be elected to the house of rep is 25 and you can be a mayor of a town at the age of 18 if you win the election. Since the 1970’s 18 year olds can vote when they changed it from 21 due to the Vietnam War. There are other things they can do to make a difference in their communities to make an impact.
    At age 18 you can sign contracts, buy a house, buy a gun so voting should be included among those privileges.
    Even though they lack “representation” they are incredibly protected by the law. For instance Jamie Lynn Spears (17) was photographed breast feeding her baby. The photographer can be charged with publishing porn since she is under 18. Any crimes you might commit under the age of 18 can be sealed by the courts. As for paying taxes, when I started working at age 16 I personally did not make enough to pay income taxes so the only thing they could take out of my paycheck was Social Security.
    If they want to be treated like adults, they should act like it and accept the consequences of their actions: such as committing vehicular manslaughter or DUI because underage drinking happens.
    16 year old are not deserving of the privilege, their maturity is lacking.

  4. What an interesting idea. Maybe this would encourage teenagers to have conversations with their parents asking them why the parent’s generation is committing their children’s future earnings through public debt before the kids have even graduated from high school.

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