Courage to speak your mind, to listen

Recently, politicians have proposed lowering the voting age to 16. Even if they do not acknowledge it, their true motives are to garner more votes for their political party.

Though there are certainly 16-year-olds who are well-informed about their civic duties, the vast majority are not and do not care to be.

Popular culture has a major influence on youth’s opinions, and teenagers are much more susceptible to what others tell them, because they do not have the experience to discern what is political propaganda versus fact.

Many 16-year-olds do not have informed political opinions and will go with whatever the trend is. Especially if that trend centers around a particular figure.

Adults aren’t even mature enough to vote seriously and actually write in votes for Harambe and Godzilla. Though some did it to express displeasure with candidates, others did it purely as a joke.

If adults cannot be mature with their vote, then how do people expect 16-year-olds to vote maturely as well if this is their example to follow?

Students would likely vote either the same as their parents or, to rebel, go with the opposite of their parents’ choice without stopping to consider what they are actually voting for.

Turning 16 is already a major step in becoming an adult. It is the age students can begin to drive, pay taxes, and have increased job opportunities.

Placing the pressure to vote on 16-year-olds when they’re already being thrust into adulthood is overwhelming.

Though two additional years may not seem like a big deal, many things can happen in that time, and students will have been able to adjust to their responsibilities.

Furthermore, most 16-year-olds have yet to take the mandatory government class and thus do not understand the inner workings of the government.

Those who do not understand a system should not be the ones influencing it.

While yes, there are many uninformed adults out there who do not understand the implications of their vote, it’s their responsibility to become more knowledgeable.

Besides, do we really want people who voluntarily consume laundry detergent to vote for those who tax us, pass legislation, and represent our country?

Even as 16 and 17-year-olds, we believe the voting age should not be lowered. We wreck our cars, skip class for stupid reasons, and waste our money. These mistakes have made it clear to us that we cannot be trusted determining the future of America yet.

There is a bit of irony in that the authors of this will (mostly) all be able to vote in the next presidential election, but hopefully by then, we will have become competent enough to cast a well-informed vote.

We need to give our students time to develop their own opinions based on experience before they become responsible for acting upon them.