Slinging a smooth stone
Fomenting democracy in fickle constituents could be politically fatal
by C.F. David,
If passed by the state senate, a bill recently passed by the house could establish a panel to consider lowering the voting age to perhaps 16 or 17 for municipal, county and state elections. (See the full story elsewhere in this paper.)
The Bill's originator, Rep. Joe Dorman, a Rush Springs Democrat, is in the second year of his first term. According to Dorman he has witnessed the frustration of politically aware youth who cannot vote. He hopes to eventually eradicate voter apathy by giving the teens the vote.
I don't think this will work; and if it did, it might not be such a bright idea.
First of all, teenagers care about: music, movies, automobiles and other attractive teens; not necessarily in that order.
Since Janet Jackson has bummed out every adult, parent, U.S. Congressman and the Chairman of the F.C.C. They all want more restrictions on movies, television and music. Oh, and maybe to raise the age to 18 for getting a driver's license. You want to do all that to teens and give them the vote? Sounds like political suicide to me.
Dorman isn't alone in his dream; Rep. John Carey, (D.-Durant) added the amendment to establish the panel to study the problem of...let's call it Ballot Denial Frustration; or BDF for short. They, (the panel), would have two non-expense paid years to study BDF and come up with a workable plan.
Carey pointed out that California is considering giving youth as young as 14 the vote. However, each ballot they cast would only carry the weight of one-quarter of an adult's ballot. Talk about frustrating. You're 14, your hormones are screaming through your body; you've developed a serious case of acne ; you've decided your parents are idiots; nobody likes you; you've gotten the right to vote and the right to drive has been put off another two years; AND it'll take you and seven of your friends just to cancel out your parents votes much less make a difference.
I asked my granddaughter Desarea, who'll turn 16 in June for her opinion of 16 and 17-year-olds voting. She responded that she feared kids would only go vote because they could; not because they had studied the issues.
“Kids are too easily influenced by their environment; what they see on T.V., their friends, the music they listen to...their parents,” she added with a shake of her head.
“It would be cool to be able to vote. But, if they [The Oklahoma congressmen] do that, then they [the new voters] should have to pass some kind of a test before they can vote,” she added.
Something Dorman, Carey and the others who voted yes need to consider is that they are considering legislation on decency, and raising taxes on cigarettes in an effort to control the behavior of children. Giving the vote to someone you are considering censoring could be an easy way of being voted out of office.
The word for the week is cogitate.