Lots of young folk under the age of 18 are perfectly capable of registering sound, informed votes in elections. But notwithstanding our many child geniuses, we still acknowledge that on average enough young folk are not yet capable of voting intelligently. This justifies our imposition of a minimum voting age.
By the same logic we ought to have a maximum voting age. Of course many old folk (like you and I obviously) are perfectly competent to vote intelligently right into our 100’s. But on average, age makes us old farts increasingly likely to make really, really stupid voting decisions. And when it comes to elections, even slight statistical tendencies are all that matters, not the presence of exceptions.
Look, we old folk can’t run a 4 minute mile like we used to. And although it is politically incorrect to point this out, our brains are just physical organs as well. They wear out too and while some age more badly than others, our mental faculties invariably degrade with advancing age.
This is evidenced in innumerable ways that tangibly impact elections. We don’t necessarily get wiser, but we do get slower-witted. We definitely get more gullible, increasingly more likely to fall for transparent scams by Nigerian Princes or Donald Trumps. We get more jaded and senile and closed-minded and angry and embittered and are more likely to respond to similar Tea-Party appeals. We are more likely to vote out of fear and to be swayed by the angry voices of Fox News or Rush Limbaugh. We are more likely to cling to old racist and bigoted and homophobic attitudes. We are less likely to understand the nuances of the modern world and imagine that a loaf of bread is still 25 cents and that the Internet is “a series of tubes.”
And moreover, we old folks are the very idiots that voted-in morons like George Bush who lied us into war (at least 33 well-documented lies) and also voted-in a whole insane asylum full of climate change deniers to Congress. So what specifically is there about our track record of wise decisions that suggests that we same old folks will make better voting decisions in the future?
Besides, we old folks had our chance and it’s time to let the younger generations have more say in their future and stop dominating elections already. If advancing age made us generally more likely to vote for a stable future planet for our descendants, that would be different, but age seems to only make us even more likely to vote according to our VERY near term self-interest.
So my very politically incorrect recommendation is to establish a maximum voting age of say 65. Once we retire from working life we should retire from voting as well. I acknowledge that this has no chance of becoming law, but we could still think about voluntarily stepping back from deciding the future of others. At the very least, we should strongly consider deferring to younger voters and supporting their candidates like Bernie Sanders whom they can see quite clearly is a better choice to serve their longer-term interests and those of the planet.
Fellow old folks, you’ve had your chance to screw up the country and have nothing more to prove in that regard. Step out of the way now and let the younger generations have their chance!
I really hope you were being sarcastic here. Bernie Sanders (whom I am absolutely definitely voting for) is older than your proposed maximum voting age. He’s in his 70s. Were you going for satire here?
Sarcastic and satirical? Sure, but still serious. The voting behavior of seniors is something that is fair game to critique and criticize. Support for Donald Trump and all crazies is far higher amongst seniors as compared to younger voters who see that their best hope for a fair and peaceful future is Bernie Sanders. Trumps rallies are filled mainly with fearful and angry seniors manipulated by Fox News. Sarah Silverman was dealing with this problem in her “get grandma to vote for Obama” campaign.
Of course I’m not really hoping that we’ll pass a maximum voting age, but I am hoping that the suggestion will be an entry point to get seniors to start thinking about their tendency to exert their will in the future of young people who are the ones who have to inherit their decisions. They should think a bit more about stepping back and deferring to the wishes of younger voters who have much more at stake.
As to the fairness of a maximum voting age, you can point out specific unfair examples resulting from any kind of sensible restriction. We set the minimum age for President at 35, even though certainly many 30 year olds are quite active in politics and would make a fine President. In fact, directly to your point, prisoners and many felons can become President even though they cannot vote. I’d imagine that Bernie would still be quite proud to represent the interests of future generations even if he could no longer vote.