Children Should Not Go To War, Be Tried As Adults, Or Vote

My first reaction upon reading a constitutional amendment had been pre-filed to lower the voting age in Missouri to age 16 was one of a flashback to a movie from 1968. Wild in the Streets was a Boomer cult classic. It’s a hippie exploitation film in which the voting age is lowered to 15 and then 14, young people take over, and everyone over 35 years is forced into re-education camps to be medicated 24/7 with LSD.

Long before MTV, there was Wild in the Streets and the very first Rock the Vote Rally.

The voting age was lowered to age 18 in 1971 by the 26th Amendment, and nothing dramatic really happened. Young people did not take over.

I don’t know what State Rep. Karla May’s reasoning is for HJR 16 to lower the voting age to 16 years. I’m sure there’s something positive in this that I haven’t figured out yet. But at the moment I am only seeing unintended consequences that cause me to say, no, please, do not do this.

A major reason for lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 was The Draft. The age for The Draft was lowered from 21 to 18 in World War II and this gave birth to the “Old Enough to Fight, Old Enough to Vote” movement. If the voting age is lowered to 16, then the age for Draft registration and volunteering for military service should also be age 16.

The legal age to marry without parental consent in most states is age 18. If you are mature enough to vote at age 16, then you are also mature enough to marry.

The legal age to enter into contracts in most states is age 18. If you can legally contract a marriage at age 16, then you should also be allowed to sign a contract in your own name for a credit card, apartment lease, or a car loan.

Finally, in most cases today, a juvenile is not tried as an adult for his or her crimes and children are not incarcerated with adults. If 16 and 17 year olds have the moral and cognitive capabilities to vote, it stands to reason they are also mature enough to be tried and sentenced as adults for crimes.

I would argue that children should not be tried as adults, should not be able to contract for marriage or anything else, should not be sent to war and, therefore, are not entitled to the right and responsibility of suffrage.

— Marie Ceselski


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