It is in the darkest hour that reason dawns, that hour of self doubt and confusion before enlightenment. Intuitively we stumble towards the truth, but become conflicted with the world’s unreasoning hysterical chatter. So we wrestle with our insecurities and try to separate the wheat from the chaff.
The unexamined life is not worth living.Socrates
I have been wrestling with the merits of the youth movement that seems to be taking the developed world by storm in the last few months. Left leaning political parties are advocating for the voting age to be lowered to sixteen. Students are protesting in the U.S. on gun control due to the horrific shooting at U.S. schools. Students are striking from educational studies to protest lack of climate change action. Five students are suing the Canadian government for the lack of a sufficient climate change agenda….. and then we have Greta Thunberg, the sixteen year old Swedish messiah for climate change.
Do 16 year olds have the mental and emotional maturity to vote. In some countries, voting under the age of 18 isn’t controversial. Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Scotland all allow voting at 16. In the U.S. three cities in Maryland, Hyattville, Greenbelt and Takoma Park as well as Berkeley,California allow 16 and 17 year-olds to vote in local elections.
I have read numerous articles and listened to various politicians expound on this topic. A year ago I would have stated that 16 year olds are too immature to vote. Today my mind is in that black hole of self doubt. Does the internet, access to information and general advances in technology enable students to think more deeply and understand issues more intelligently than ten years ago? Are students smarter today? If we treat 16 year olds as mature adults do they respond in kind? The jury is out.
Are students manipulated by an adult agenda and dancing to scheming adult puppet masters? The five students suing the Canadian government are being funded by the Suzuki Foundation, a well known climate action organization. Greta Thunberg states that she is travelling the world on her own initiative with the support of her parents but questions are still being asked regarding funding for these costs. In both cases it seems the easy target is government rather than individual responsibility. It is a big public relations win for climate change organizations to have photogenic, articulate students to push their agenda. Organizations can come under heavy criticism, students not so much. Main Street Media love a face to front an issue, it plays so much better with the public.
This is my preferred approach to politics. To not hold on to past prejudices but to try and reason on a case by case basis. To research the internet for all answers both pros and cons……and there is a lot of confusing and biased information out there. In the end to weigh all the information and make the most informed decision I can. I am forever trying to escape my comfort zone and find new insights on issues.
In the year 1212, two youths, Nicholas of Germany and Stephen of Cloyes answered the popes call for a crusade to the Holy Lands. Through their oratory and out reach they persuaded 30,000 children to march to the Holy Lands. Their are varying versions of what actually transpired en route but the outcome was that two thirds of the children perished, a large number were sold into slavery and the remainder became disillusioned.
Emotion should not be the great decider when we undertake a political journey. Alas in many cases it is.