There’s a picture hanging on the wall at my parents’ house—it’s a beautifully ornate wedding certificate that makes mine look like a piece of trash (no seriously—mine looks a piece of paper you might find on the floor of the copy room at work, whereas this one looks like this). It’s got to be at least two feet tall—and it’s from the wedding of my great-great grandparents. The two people are clearly teens; if I recall correctly they’re not much older than 16 or 17.
It seems ludicrous to think about today. Married at 16?
In those days, by that age you were often married or close to it, with a child on the way and a farm or job to hold down. Today, for the first time in 130 years, more 18-34 year olds live with their parents than with a spouse. And yes, I realize there are layers to that reality (like a bad economy, joblessness, etc.) but I’ll spare you the digression. The fact is that most teens and 20 somethings of today are in a drastically different place than the two kids hanging on the wall at my parents’ house.
With that in mind, here’s a stunner: Washington D.C. is mulling over the idea of letting 16-year-olds vote in the presidential election of 2020.
The idea, according to supporters, was “inspired by the high schoolers that came to D.C. to protest at the March for Our Lives,” including the likes of David Hogg and others.
Now look, before we go any further let me make one thing very, very clear: I’m not about to throw a blanket across an entire age group and call it 100% absolute. I realize that there are exceptions to this rule (heck, I went to live and work in a foreign country—successfully I might add—at the ripe old age of 17), and I’m certainly not about to suggest that teenagers are stupid, ignorant, unable to possess opinions, etc.
But here’s the reality for MOST young people of that age: most are simply too young, inexperienced, immature and impressionable to make decisions that impact the nation. And while we’re at it, these are people whose brains are literally not yet fully developed. We’re talking about people who haven’t been out of grade school more than a few years. We’re talking about people who have either a) never held a job or b) are just starting to dip their toes in the world of work. We’re talking about people who still come home and slam the door to their room because their parents won’t let them have the car to go to the mall. I’m just saying.
To you, it may sound preposterous. But it’s a very real discussion happening in our nation’s capital.
To that end, I just want to give you a few things to chew on. Let’s discuss:
- Let’s get this straight: The push to lower the voting age is, as mentioned, predicated on the idea that young teens have impacted the nation’s entire gun control/Second Amendment debate, so shouldn’t they be able to vote in a presidential election? Except the March for Our Lives protests were hardly organized by the teens at Parkland; the movement was set up by the same organizers and agitators that put together the vulgarity-laced, often X-rated Women’s March, complete with genitalia hats and all. It was also backed by Planned Parenthood (oh the irony; after all, they’re “marching for life”) Everytown for Gun Safety (backed by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg), Hollywood elites and Move On. And it was attended in large part by adults; indeed, “only about 10 percent of the participants were under 18.”
- Let’s get this straight: The left is demanding that guns be illegal to purchase under the age of 21 because, you know—too young—but somehow it’s acceptable to let a person five years younger than that help permanently affect the direction of the country? (Side note: isn’t it funny that the very same political persuasion that demanded that 18-year-olds be given the right to vote during the Vietnam War because they carried a gun and fought the war are the same ones that claim a person isn’t mature enough to handle a gun until 21?)
- Let’s get this straight: These are kids that won’t be allowed to smoke or drink for another two years and five years, respectively (because once again, growth and maturity) but they can choose the next leader of the free world?
- Let’s get this straight: The very same city facing a SERIOUS teenage/young adult literacy rate is the same city that would allow a 16-year-old to vote? I’m just
- Let’s get this straight: We’re talking about a generation wherein the word “adulting”—which refers to young adults performing adult responsibilities as if this were remarkable—has now entered the lexicon,” and “the entire developmental path from infancy to full adulthood has slowed.” The way young people are raised today is significantly affecting their ability to grow up. Indeed, and I refer you back to the staggering number of 20-somethings still living at home. Fact is, we don’t raise young adults anymore. We raise very large children. We withhold discipline, cater to their every need and demand, plug them into phones practically in the labor and delivery room, and yell at their teachers when we don’t like our child’s grade on some a subpar piece of work. But yes, let’s let them choose the leader of the free world.
- Let’s get this straight: A shocking number of college-age citizens can’t name important presidents, express understanding of critical points in history (i.e. what were the two sides of the Civil War, etc.), or do math without a calculator. They can tell you which Kardashian got cheated on or what they named their baby, but—as James Crotty of Forbes writes of a study done on college students—“the current crop of college students failed to grasp perennial and essential facts of geography, history, science, math, and the arts.” And readers, those are college students. Rewind a few years to high school. How much do you suppose a 16-year-old knows about common sense, history, and the world around them?
No, not every teenager is a mindless follower, poorly educated, or totally oblivious to the reality around them. But even the most level-headed among our teenage population still fall vastly short when it comes to life experience, basic education, and overall mental and emotional maturity. In other words, they’re easily manipulated.
And call me crazy, but I think supporters of this push to lower the voting age know exactly what they’re doing.
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree