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Gwen's Spot

19 March 2006

Youth Suffrage in the Blogosphere: In Which A Lower Voting Age Is Considered By Non-NYRA-Members

Bloggers on youth suffrage (and not even lowering the voting age, abolishing it!):

The first, summarizing "On Children's Right to Vote," is amazing. I'm a history student, not a teacher, but I've always had the same thoughts in my classes...all the students bobble-heading to the evilness of denying full suffrage to women, blacks, Jews, actors, prostitutes, and I knew that if I asked them they'd oppose the youth vote; their age strangely irrelevant to the discussion, and a woman with whom I was defending, bizarrely enough, women's suffrage telling me she doesn't converse with children.

The other three are interesting too: the first agrees, the second disagrees, the third is Alex, NYRA's beloved prez, and not surprisingly agrees as well. Read the comments, too...I have to say that all the comparisons of children to chimpanzees disturbed me, until the thought popped into my head that someday chimpanzees may be enfranchised, and the whole "if we let kids vote, why not chimpanzees?" argument will sound as silly to future history classes as, say, "if we let non-property-owning Protestant vote, why not let Jews? Or Catholics? Or, heaven forbid, women?" --Who knows? I'm certainly not going to make any predictions. Especially since the vote should be based on personhood and government, not ability to produce viable offspring with humans, else we'd exclude the celibate, infertile, and impotent as well. (Excessive hair? Difficulty walking upright? Inability to communicate vocally with humans? Percentage of DNA shared? Perhaps a meritcratic vote will be necessary someday.)
The opposing side is of course the most interesting to read. I especially like the "well, that argument was stupid when it was applied to women, but people under eighteen are qualitatively different than adults!" arguments. I can't wait until someone references brain studies a bit more directly than they have so far.
And it's funny seeing the same old arguments for our side hitting the same old overly-refuted arguments from the other..."children can't vote because they don't understand what they're doing" meets "why don't we exclude adults who don't understand what they're doing" which meets "because that's discriminatory!" D'oh.
I've said it before, I'll say it again: I don't care if it's a universal right or a competency-only privelege, as long as the standards are applied equally across age lines. I'm the college-attending fifteen-year-old, remember? I'm in either way. It's only when the system specifically excludes intelligent people under eighteen while permitting incompetents over eighteen to vote that ticks me off.
I saw a poster for the women's suffrage movement, I think it was commissioned by Anthony, that pictured a lunatic, a child, an idiot, a criminal, and a woman (their description, not mine) with the caption something like "The State of New York denies suffrage to:". Except now women can vote, many mentally retarded people can vote (depending on severity I think), there's a movement to allow felons the vote because it's an archaic law of punishment that pretty much prevents reintegration into society, and now who are children being grouped with? Chimpanzees.
Children are citizens, so there's no slippery-slope of granting tourists the vote--read the Constitution!
See next post.

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