There are certain birthdays that matter more than others.
On 12th birthdays, one becomes an adult to movie theaters and medicine bottles alike, and after 16th birthdays, they are finally able to get behind the wheel. But it’s with that 18th birthday that a host of more complex activities become available to young adults, chief among them being their right to vote.
The survivors of the Parkland massacre have made the world their stage by calling for tangible change, most notably in the form of stricter gun laws. However, their capabilities have led some, both students and adults, to believe that children under the age of 18 are competent enough to form viable political opinions and that they are currently being silenced as a result of their age.
“We should lower the voting age,” senior Emma Sheridan said.
Lowering the age required to vote in national elections has recently become a very popular topic with opinion articles from major publications – such as the Washington Post to CNN – cropping up quickly. While the idea may seem heinous at first, after a quick look at supporting factual evidence, the notion becomes much more plausible.
“I think that kids could be easily swayed at a younger age and that 18 is the age that a consenting adult would be able to make a decision as important as voting,” senior Stav Sharoni said.
“I think that kids could be easily swayed at a younger age and that 18 is the age that a consenting adult would be able to make a decision as important as voting.”
The main argument against lowering the age is that 16 or 17-year-olds are simply not mature enough to make an educated decision about governmental policy and representation. However, while in theory this seems like an undeniable point, scientifically it falters.
According to CNN, the type of psychological development necessary to pass judgment on something of this caliber is developed by the age of 16.
“Kids at the age of 16 have minds that are as mature as those of 18-year-olds,” said junior Maxx Schmidt. “Therefore, kids at 16 or 17 should be able to vote because they are able to make the decision for themselves.”
Furthermore, young adults of any age begin sculpting their views about all aspects of life way before their high school graduation. In the present day, students are allowed to join politically charged clubs and organizations – such as Speech and Debate and Liberty in North Korea – that they care about as soon as they enter high school.
“A person’s political efficacy most likely will not change with age,” Sheridan said. “Their stances are likely to remain the same and how much research they do on a candidate has more to do with their own willpower and less to do with age.”
“Their stances are likely to remain the same and how much research they do on a candidate has more to do with their own willpower and less to do with age.”
Another point to be made is that teenagers are often nonchalant and only those who actually have an informed opinion will make it to polling sites. This will result in more informed, passionate citizens making their way to the polls.
The rallying cries of the students of Parkland have echoed to CCHS and to many schools across the nation. The time for change is here. Now the question is, if most of the teenagers who went to these nationwide protests could vote, would these changes be able to come sooner rather than later?
Photo by Sabrine Brismeur