HomeWorld NewsPreston Xanthopoulos: Call to change voting age driven by politics … – Foster’s Daily Democrat
Preston Xanthopoulos: Call to change voting age driven by politics … – Foster’s Daily Democrat
September 9, 2023
Playing with our Constitution for the purpose of partisan advancement is wrong.
For years we’ve heard Democrats champion the idea of lowering the voting age to 16. This would have to be by Constitutional Amendment and will not happen, but the reason is transparent. As the old, yet misattributed, adage goes, “If you are not liberal when you are young, you have no heart, and if you are not conservative when old, you have no brain.” (There are several variations of this quote, often claimed to be spoken by Winston Churchill, but no one seems to be able to verify that. It’s basically folklore.)
Personally, I think if your parents still have to be legally responsible for the basic tasks of feeding and housing you and making sure you catch the school bus in the morning, you don’t get to be responsible for who our elected officials are. Adults are adults. There’s good and bad that comes with that. Wait for it. Those championing it are simply trying to pad the voting boxes with young people’s ballots because, well, whoever said the quote above, is right. Young people are more liberal and will vote for Democrats en masse.
Now, here comes the reverse of that effort, with Presidential-wannabe Vivek Ramaswamy wanting to raise the voting age to 25. Despite all claims of wanting “civic engagement,” the actual reasoning is quite obvious — it’s to disenfranchise young adults because they tend to vote Democrat. There are several reasons they vote that way, but that’s for another day.
Ramaswamy’s non-starter plan to change the Constitution would require you to be eligible to vote only if you are 25, or 18 if you serve in the military, as a first responder or pass the immigration test offered to incoming citizens. I took that 100-question test the other day and 6th graders currently learning these things probably have a better chance of acing it than any adult over 25, who long forgot these things. I’m not quite sure knowing how many amendments to the Constitution there are (28 if Ramaswamy gets his way) is pertinent in determining who should write tax laws or engage in foreign diplomacy, but, if that’s the determination, we need to lower the voting age to 12, they remember that stuff better than we adults.
As for serving in the military or as a first responder, I’m all for encouraging that kind of civic engagement, but not by holding one of our greatest rights as Americans hostage in exchange.
I’ve heard some championing this noting that, “An 18-year-old today and an 18-year-old when the Constitution was written are very different.” That is absolutely true. However, 236 years ago, the voting age was 21. It was changed in 1971 after decades-long discussions from WWII to Vietnam about how a government can draft 18-year-olds to go to war, and they don’t have the right to choose who sends them there.
Moreover, a 25-year-old isn’t what one was in 1787, nor is a 38-year-old. As a matter of fact, that was the life expectancy of a man in 1787. However, by this standard, shouldn’t we just raise all constitutionally dictated ages by Ramaswamy’s arbitrary 7-year standard? If so, he’s not eligible to be President. He’s that 1787 life expectant 38, but, one would have to be 42.
I don’t like messing with the Constitution for political reasons and that’s all this is. There is a lot of angst toward young people these days. We don’t like how “woke” they are. We don’t like how entitled they seem. We’re annoyed they get a four-year degree in something like 13th-century Greek Art and still want to make 60 grand their first year out of school and when they don’t, they want us to pay for their dumb choice in a college major because they can’t afford to. We don’t like that they keep supporting extreme liberal ideologies because, well, they’ve never had to pay real taxes and don’t want to pay their bills. I agree in part with those complaints to be honest, but that’s not a reason to take away a fundamental right. If we want young people to vote Republican, let’s tell them why. Not tell them we don’t want them to participate in the civic process.
We put a lot of pressure on a person the day they turn 18. Legally and societally. All of a sudden, and we just went through this the past year, we can’t sign documents for them, and unless they sign a document, we can’t even help them with health care needs or other adulting realities. As far as the government is concerned, in most cases, when you turn 18, you’re immediately on your own. But, you don’t get to vote for who that government is?
I asked the 18-year-old college freshman, who proudly and thoughtfully voted for the first-time last November what she thought of this proposal. Her simple reply was, “How can so much be expected of us, yet we can’t be trusted to vote?”
Well, I guess that’s the question and the answer. I should’ve started there.
Alicia Preston Xanthopoulos is a former political consultant and member of the media. She’s a native of Hampton Beach, where she lives with her family and two poodles. Write to her at PrestonPerspective@gmail.com.