Changing the 26th Amendment: A world of teenage voters

~By Hope Boone~

Editor’s Note: An abridged version of this article is published on the New York Times website, as part of The Learning Network’s Student Opinion series.

There is one thing that is certain. Politicians would bend over backwards to get the majority vote. Teenagers make up 21% of the United States population. The goal of a politician is to attract a majority of a very diverse group of voters. Therefore, the politicians would try to prove their youthfulness to win the teenage vote. Campaign rallies might be broadcasted on MTV. Campaign speeches might greet the viewers with a nonchalant “Yo, what’s up dawg?” An example of my theory is when Paul Ryan told the press that “Rage Against The Machine” was his favorite band-and that backfired when guitarist Tom Morello, ‘rages against Paul Ryan.’ And as Rage Against the Machine fan, I was confused of what his motive was for promoting a liberal band. RATM is blatantly liberal; any fan of RATM knows that. As the kids would say, “Epic Fail.”

Young people’s minds are still malleable and open to innovation. It is nearly impossible to change the mindset of an adult. Adults are less open to new ideas because they believe that they’re right. Conservatives want to live by old laws and old thinking. American children for the most part are taught that forms of prejudice are not accepted in modern society. And it’s not the fault of the children who were taught otherwise. It is the responsibility of the child’s parents and/or teachers to teach them about diversity. Part of innovation means that education needs to be improved. This is so if we wish to become free of fossil fuels, ignorance and debt.

If you wanted to win the vote of teenagers you MUST consider our future:

Invest into research for alternative energy: Fossil fuels will run out at some point, and we are not far from that point. That’s why gas prices are going up; low in supply and high in demand. So what’s the delay? Shouldn’t all our automobile companies have remodeled their vehicles by now? Now let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a wealthy CEO of a car company. It would cost a fortune to redesign and convert your gas guzzling cars into solar powered or electric ones. Imagine telling BP to stop drilling, and turn their “gas stations” into “battery charging stations.” These people are thinking, “I’ve already invested into gasoline based cars. I don’t want to have reinvest into solar powered cars. I’ll just wait until our supply of fossil fuels runs out. When that happens I’ll just live off the billions of dollars that I’ve already made.” So in other words, “Drill! Baby, DRILL!!!”

Legalize Gay Marriage: Most people don’t realize that this movement is similar and just as important as the civil rights movement. The genesis of homophobic ideas usually always comes from a misconception of religion. No one will think of their hatred for gays and lesbians as wrong, if they think their religion is saying that gays and lesbians are considered to be “sinners.” Whatever happened to separating state from church? Think of it this way, it won’t cost you a dime to pass a law that says that two people can marry each other. Honestly, I think we already have enough controversy within politics.

Free health care: People don’t want to pay taxes that don’t directly affect them. However as a community everyone needs to play their role in the community, in the economy, and as a country. Everyone should be able to have access to the medical attention they require. There are mentally ill people out on the street that clearly need help. So now what? I guess you suppose he’ll just be able to pull out $5,000 from his Louis Vuitton bag? Some people can afford access to living longer healthier lives than others because they’re employed. Unemployed doesn’t mean “lazy” often those people have special needs, mental disorders or are at some other disadvantage. My sister passed last August 2nd 2012 she was born with a genetic disorder, she died of a seizure. She influenced me to pursue every single thing that I am. It’s immoral to me to let even a stranger die if something can be done about it. But not all kids think this way; in fact some are extremely selfish. I have a bad habit of assuming that everyone has the same political views as me. A group of boys at my country club call me “Democrat” and try to prove that the Republican Party is better than the Democratic Party. The group ring leader told me it was “Every man for himself.” I thought that he would eventually think it was the right thing to do. So I asked, “So then, you would just let your neighbor die?” And the response was “Well how old is he?”

Peace with the World: Smug politicians like Mitt Romney are so confident to malign and smear other countries because of “American Exceptionalism.” Saying things like, “Russia is our #1 geopolitical foe” doesn’t make our country very well liked. I realized that while at summer camp with teenagers from different nationalities. A boy, ironically named Vladimir, had very negative views about the United States. He was convinced that World War I and World War II were part of some plot to benefit the United States. No one questioned Vladimir’s authority. Another boy, Artemiy said that he believed that American republicans will blackmail Russia for everything Russia does badly. If the United States stayed out of conflicts with the world then we won’t have negative attention drawn to us. The more modest we are, the less of a threat we are. If we continue this attitude of: “Hey, this is America. That means we can do whatever we want to whoever we want whenever we want to. And if you have a problem with that, you can tell it to our WMDs!” Then you should expect that we will become the target of many countries.

Student Loans: I think that the government should help students pay off their school-related debt. The money put into paying for a student’s education pays off in the long run. If the student ends up getting a decent job they can pay off their debt when they reach mid age. At this point, if all goes well, the adult should be able to pay off their debt with interest. When students graduate they are financially less stable than they will be in the next ten years. For example: A medical school student might also work in a lab to make some money while at school. They shouldn’t have to worry about being able to pay rent for their apartment and still being able to take care of themselves. Taking money from the medical school student might be asking too much of them. Once the student is about 40 and has become a doctor, then it would make sense to collect the payment with interest.

Abortion/Contraceptives: Abortion is a matter that should be decided by the woman that carries the embryo. The basic idea of the constitution is to protect the rights of citizens. And now an embryo is being put above women’s rights? An embryo is just a cluster of cells. Fact: an embryo or fetus doesn’t count as being a baby until it can live outside the womb. And the very earliest that a fetus can survive outside the womb is after 24 weeks of development. Before 24 weeks the fetus isn’t a baby so abortion isn’t “murder.” The Government shouldn’t interfere with abortion if they don’t know the situation of the individual. And if I learned a thing or two from health class it’s that there is no such thing as “legitimate rape.” And if abortion is illegal, desperate women may resort to “Back Alley Butchers”, untrained “doctors” that are sought out to terminate a pregnancy. Many of times these abortions are fatal to the mother.

If we could vote, then finally we could shape our future.

~ Artwork from the New York Times