FROM THE VAULT
July 29th, 1970.
“…Not that I think all 17-year olds are going around shooting out windows and committing other acts of vandalism but a certain amount of maturity might be advisable before allowing these young people the voting right.
“There’s always that argument, ‘If a man is old enough to fight, he’s old enough to vote.’ I see absolutely no correlation between voting and fighting. The best quality of a soldier is obedience – obedience to commands from above. That’s the worst qualification of a voter. A voter should exercise independence of spirit, mind and action. It’s the very antithesis of what a soldier should do. If the voters obey orders from above we can’t have the proper functioning of a democracy.
“You’ll remember Hitler, Mussolini, Mao Tse-Tung and other dictators all lowered the voting age. One of the first things Hitler did when he took over command in Germany was to lower the voting age to 18. He found the minds of young people malleable and could mold them easily to his will. They were more susceptible to emotionalism and hysteria.
“I just don’t think people of 18 have the proper maturity to vote. Take a look at what is happening in colleges today, the rowdyism, the vandalism and the disorder if they don’t get just what they want. Those are the intellectuals.
“If educated young persons are going to act that way what is going to happen to those who are uneducated?”
– Written by Fern Lee
August 4th, 2015
I understand some of Mrs. Lee’s points, but her argument against lowering the voting age is flawed in multiple ways.
The plot hole that sticks out to me the most is her mentioning of Hitler. Of course Hitler influenced the younger generations, and he influenced more than that. He was, and is, considered one of the best public speakers of that time. He was able to sway public opinion with promises of correcting the injustices done to their country. He was able to convince a majority of the people of Germany to side with him, not just the younger generations, but their parents, who could have been influenced by them as well.
If she believes that 17 and 18-year-olds are some of the most obedient people out there, why did she mention the rowdyism in colleges. Some of that ‘rowdyism’ could be from student protests. It could be students with an understanding of the government system who demand change, and they protest since they have no other means of changing that system.
The most confusing argument she puts up is her correlation with fighting and voting. If she mentions how 17-year-olds make such good soldiers, why does she imply that they are too immature to vote? Is taking up arms an immature act only to be made by the young, while the old vote and choose where these soldiers are sent?. Thankfully the voting age was lowered to 18 in 1971 because of the same argument I brought up earlier: If you are old enough to fight, you’re old enough to choose the fight.
It feels like millennials voting is a recent discussion between people. Each day I log in online it feels like people are screaming out for the older people in my generation to vote. Saying that not voting is a sign of protest is one of the worst ideas they can make, and the best way to show change is to demand it in the polls.
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