A time to rethink voter exclusivity

When this country was created, I wouldn’t have been able to vote. In fact, many of us wouldn’t have been allowed to vote.

Not all residents had the privilege of voting.

When even the most misinformed and unprepared vote, the result, as we see today, is modern American democracy: a manipulative, lawless, political debacle that would make George Washington cringe.

There is no modern day Washington, unfortunately.

We now have “presidents” like Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina, whose government recently lowered the voting age in Argentina to 16 years old.

Her actions are characteristic of politicians who are so desperate to retain power, they forfeit common sense and manipulate policy to keep the odds in their favor. By lowering the voting age, Fernandez has ensured that her progressive ideas will now receive a majority of the youth vote.

This is an issue that transcends political party loyalty and voter litmus tests (though I think the latter should seriously be considered); this becomes an issue about the privilege and exclusivity of voting.

Do 16 year olds have the capability to elect representatives and withstand the indoctrination of political propaganda?

For that matter, does someone like me — who listed as a dependent on his family’s tax returns, and who receives many modern, societal benefits without paying the price in taxes that others pay — have the experience and wisdom to select the candidate to represent society?

In Fernandez’s Argentina, 16-year-old voters can elect a politician who promises them all the money and privileges in the world without paying a single dime in income taxes. This is unacceptable. Until voters become financially independent and can contribute to our federal and state systems of government without unjustly receiving all of its benefits, they should not be allowed to vote.

Here’s the bottom line: Even in the U.S., voters vote candidates into office based on what those candidates promise them.

But our political officials should not be elected based on promises for “more food stamps” or “more money for Medicare.”

They shouldn’t be elected because they promise  to help the “middle class” without addressing the wealthy or the poor.

They should be elected because their ideas represent the ideology of their society.

This selfish form of political expression is a disease that has begun to plague America’s white blood cells.

While the voting age and qualifications in America needs to be reformed or addressed, young citizens can still be heavily involved within politics, even though they do not have the privilege of voting.

Until individuals in our society recognize the ethical hypocrisy in electing officials who promise them privileges, America will stagger along like a drunken man on stilts.

Historian Alexander Tytler boldly said that a “democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.

“It can only exist until the voters discover that they cannot vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy.”

 

 

Reach the columnist at spmccaul@asu.edu or follow him at sean_mccauley.

 

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