Admittedly the topic of voting rights and practices in America is not among the areas of OpsLens’ expertise, but given the impact of elections and the subsequent polices that shape our ever-changing way of life in America, I felt it needed to be addressed. With the surge of excitement and success surrounding Bernie Sanders’ campaign, though he did not succeed in defeating Hillary Clinton, the country has seen a wave of young voters attempt to describe their shallow beliefs as to why certain candidates were best suited to serve as President. To the surprise of many, these beliefs, though unfounded and lacking experience, have been shockingly ardent and unrelenting. In having conversations with several young voting aged individuals and hearing their rants on the television, I have concluded one thing – they should not be allowed to vote.
With so much at stake in each election, it is simply unreasonable to expect an eighteen-year-old, or even a 21-year-old for that matter, to be able to understand the economics and social nuisances of life. We all see and have heard from the youth around us, whether family members, friends or just the random stranger in the coffee shop spelling out why they believe in a certain candidate based on their policies and how it will affect their often sheltered world living at home. Although this sounds harsh, it does not matter what they think. They do not have the experience or wisdom to understand the policies and possible ramifications of said initiatives.
Until someone has paid rent for a few years, bought their own groceries and seen how much money leaves their hard earned paycheck, they simply should not have the ability to enter national, high-stake discussions, period. And while the young voter is often swayed and scooped up by the Democrats, this is less about the GOP losing the battle over youth and more about the fact that they should be non-players on either side. Our society’s youth votes based upon what their parents told them, or worse yet their college professors spew from the podium. Until they have been able to discover firsthand how each party’s approach directly affects their life, neither party should have to pander to America’s youth because their opinion is not fully formed, nor is it experienced. Sure there is a large adult population that people will question when discussing their voting rights as well, but simply stated some people will just always be stupid or too lazy to take the time to know the facts.
Therefore, my suggestion is to raise the voting age to a minimum of twenty-five years old. There is no science or math behind that age, it is just a number. However, this allows individuals to graduate from college, get a job and have an opportunity to live in the real world, vice the idealist view that so many have at a young age. If their opinions remain the same at twenty-five, regardless of their political leanings, then so be it. For those who do not attend college and go straight into the labor force, or military, their opinions and understanding of life will be that much more developed come the newly suggested age of voting.
However, on that note, here is my proposed exception, and I think that many will agree. Those young men and women who join the military at the ripe age of 18 should be placed in their own category and given the ability to vote. These individuals are first and foremost selfless patriots, but they will also experience the world in a way that many civilians never will, regardless of age.
I understand that nothing will ever be done in this arena, but it is important that people understand the elements of our system that are broken. Beyond the corruption and fraud that occurs in elections, the lack of education and experience of our voters is a real issue. This does not mean evaluating how someone performed on their SATs, but rather engaging people who have observed first-hand how difficult this world can be and then keenly listening to each candidate and how their plans will affect their family’s life moving forward. In addition to adjusting the age of voters, a key component to solving this problem and many others will be the media actually informing the masses of each candidates’ intentions, as opposed to condemning one and endorsing another – a gesture upon which the press should never engage.
By a Senior OpsLens Contributor