Wednesday, March 02, 2005

voting age

To the possible detriment of my homework, I've begun watching The West Wing again. I am somewhat unapologetic about this, however, because it is an improvement over any reality show. What I've caught of this season has been somewhat hit-and-miss, but more hit than miss in my opinion. I thought tonight's episode was reminiscent of the first season, although it will never be quite the same without Aaron Sorkin and Rob Lowe.

Anyway, this episode reminded me of an issue that was close to my heart when I was 17, and indeed, 13. This issue is the voting age. The young man representing the "lobbying group to abolish the voting age" in the show was articulate in representing many of the problems that had bothered me when I was too young to vote, and continue to bother me today. The voting age does, indeed, seem arbitrary. And arguments about the age of reason and being succeptible to influence don't seem to hold up very well when we have no laws keeping stupid or easily influenced adults from voting.

So, how come, when I've been paying taxes, and paying into a social security that will likely never pay out to me, and watching a national debt stack up for years, have I only been allowed to vote for president in the most recent election? And, indeed, many of the young people in the army for the war on Iraq were not old enough to vote GWBush into office the first time.

The problem, of course, is there needs to be a line somewhere. 5-year-olds probably shouldn't be voting. But I think 14-year-olds could. If you're old enough to be in the work force, then I think you're old enough to have a say in the laws that govern your working and your money, and your future.

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