Are you old enough to vote?

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old enough to voteRaise your hand if you agree that’s a dumb question.

Hmm. Okay, raise your hand if you never even think about it.

Hmm. The polls seem skewed.

First, a little background before I get on my ol’ flimsy upturned fruit crate…

Back from when, the constitutional voting age was 21. For Federal elections, that is. States always had the right to set their ages at the level they chose.

After World War II, there was a lot of grumbling that the age should be lowered to 18. Rightfully so, since 18-year olds were being drafted and sent off to defend (and possibly die for) a country they had no rights to express their opinions on during elections.

While a few states made headway on the idea. it wasn’t until the era of President Nixon that the 26th Amendment passed, lowering the voting age to 18 (in 1971).

The response was immediate, as younger voters flocked to the polls. That trend had diminished consistently until President Obama’s initial run for office in 2008.

Now, my question is, why only 18?

Set aside the varied views of today’s youth and their interest in participating in the determination of their (and their country’s) future.

The real question is, if engaged, would people under 18 be able to make wise decisions on the many serious election choices.

I believe, as with everything else, the answer is yes, for those who cared.

My further belief is that holds true for anyone, at whatever age they are.

Some might argue that younger people haven’t the experience or perspective needed to make the proper choices in an election. To those people, I suggest they watch the endless variations of “Are you Smarter than a 5th grader?” available all over YouTube.

If our youth, who sometimes are more socially and environmentally conscious, have an interest in officially voicing their opinion in who is going to run our country, I think that’s great. I would point out that they have a higher risk than us old-timers…they’re (hopefully) going to be in this world long after we get the heck out of Dodge.

To me, the question is not “are you old enough to vote” but, “are you old enough to care?”

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