I hardly focus on politics much on this site anymore, but I got into one of those political discussions in college (which I actually enjoy being part of), and got introduced to some new ideas.
I engaged in the topic of voting, and I eventually heard, and later adopted, interesting conclusion, that many younger people simply aren’t educated enough to make an informed decision on who to vote for because they don’t really know much about the issues facing society.
This, of course, bring me to the topic of today’s post. I think that, because of the relative inexperience and apathy of today’s youth, the voting age should be raised back up to 21.
At first, the very idea sounds crazy, but hear me out. There are a number of valid arguments supporting that idea, just as there are plenty of arguments for lowering the voting age. Here and now, I’m about to list my arguments for why the voting age should be increased.
Argument #1 – Younger people have less experience, and are therefore more naive
This may sound very contradicting and quite self-hating, due to the fact that I am still 19 years old, but the point I’m expressing remains valid.
My point is that people’s votes are influencing the direction of government in a certain way, but many people both young and old don’t know what they’re voting for. They just listen to the propaganda coming from the party political ads and vote based on what has the biggest emotional impact.
I know from experience that teenagers can be quite naive. If they weren’t, then they wouldn’t have fallen for the whole Kony 2012 nonsense last year (which was spread by dumb celebrities). My point is that young people can easily be swayed by people who take the moral high ground and appeal to their idealistic view of the world.
Argument #2 – They’re not really adults yet
Obviously the issue of the voting age is tied up with the age at which the law recognizes people as adults. Personally I don’t think there should be a universal age for adulthood, but that’s another issue entirely. In the days of my parents, you weren’t really considered an adult until the age of 21. That’s why 21st birthday parties usually end with the birthday boy/girl getting p*ss-ass drunk.
Besides, if you give an 18-year-old the vote, they’d be more worried about who would lower the drinking age if at all (again, that’s a different issue I want to explore later), or who would keep the clubs open, or who would let them smoke weed. All younger voters would want is for politicians to give them what they want without any regard for how it would affect the rest of society.
A real adult would make an informed decision, and would know what they’re voting for. For younger people, I doubt that this is case. Feel free to prove me wrong, I’ll still stand by it.
Argument #3 – The common argument for lowering the voting age is utter nonsense
The common argument for lowering the voting age reads like this:
“If you are old enough to have sex, marry, or even join the army, then you should be able to have a say in politics.”
Just because you can have sex and raise a baby at 16 doesn’t mean it’s okay. Likewise, just because you can vote at 18, doesn’t mean you ought to.
Let’s remember that the voting age was lowered at a time when some people actually still wanted to join the army. Nowadays, I don’t know anyone who would want to join the army. Similarly in America, the voting age was fixed to 18 in all states in 1971 solely because they were sending young boys of that age to die in Vietnam.
Apparently the other reasons for lowering the voting age was to deal with voter apathy. The major political parties lowered the voting age so they could secure more votes, and they thought they could get young people interested. Which leads me to my next argument.
Argument #4 – Young people will never be interested in politics
Obviously the main idea behind lowering the voting age is, supposedly, to get younger people interested in politics. In an ideal world, that would succeed, but in the real world, it will fail horribly. Why? Because many young people have never been interested in politics. I know that there are more young people interested in politics today than 43 years ago, but many young people still aren’t interested.
The attempts to get young people interested in politics have gotten pretty desperate in recent years, particularly in 2010, when BBC Radio 1 actually got tabloid prostitute Peta Todd to do a video showing first-time voters “how to vote”.
If you want my honest opinion, I bet the people watching that video were paying more attention to Peta Todd’s breasts than what she actually had to say. This and the domination of electronic pop music can only prove my argument that young people aren’t interested in politics, and as long as the next hip thing comes along, they won’t be.
Argument #5 – Raising the voting age could make young people want to vote more
This may sound odd coming from the guy who would gladly advocate voter apathy as a way of punishing the politicians. In fact, my theory is that increasing the voting age will mean less people voting. However, I also believe that this will have the side effect of encouraging young people to get into politics.
Think about it. When you are forbidden from doing something, you want to do it more. It would also work in favour of getting less inexperienced voters in the polling station, which, in theory, would mean less people making the wrong decision, and more people making the right decision.
Some people say that more experienced voters will make the right decision, but what really is the right decision? The way I see it, the only right decision is to not vote at all. After the 2010 election, it took me two years to reach that conclusion. But then again, I’m not like most people.
I believe that we shouldn’t be giving the decision of electing a politician to people who don’t really know what they’re getting into. Yes, if the voting age is raised, it would mean that people under 21 would lose the vote, but I think they’d gain something more. They’d have the freedom to not have to give a crap about politics for at least three more years.
Frankly, if there were any justice, then only intelligent people aged 25 or over would be voting, but I realize that it might be a step too far.