High schoolers are old enough to vote

Since passing the twenty-sixth amendment to the United States Constitution in 1971, one must be 18 years old in order to vote in elections. However, I believe this age should be lowered even further to 16.

In my experience, adults highly underestimate the potential of teenagers. They’re still children, yes, but that does not mean that they lack the ability to formulate ideas for themselves. If you don’t believe me, go to a Model United Nations debate and see for yourself how mature they are. They are capable of taking on the role of a nation and understanding an issue so well that they can have mock diplomatic relations; do you truly think that they aren’t capable of understanding the political situation and making a rational choice for their future?

That being said, anyone under the age of 18 must indirectly advocate for their future. They are ignored by those in politics despite countless protests on contemporary issues. I think it’s time that teenagers are able to elect politicians that will truly listen to them, acknowledge that they know what they’re talking about, and give them the opportunity to create a future that they are proud of—that they know they can chose for themselves. They are powerless and ignored and I think it’s time to give them some credit.

Let’s not forget about Greta Thunberg, the valiant teen that spoke to the UN about climate change. She explained how it is an existential crisis and blamed the current generation of adults for the effects of global warming. She gave a sound argument and those same adults that she previously scolded proved her point by ignoring her.

This is a big issue. The ignorance of adults in this previous decade is dangerous. Whether adults believe that children are uninformed or just trying to rebel, they need to understand that the children of this era mature much faster than those of previous generations. The internet has given them access to infinite amounts of information in the palm of their hands. Since World War II, the average national IQ has risen by about 20 points, meaning that the population as a whole is becoming more intelligent. With each successive generation, this total increases, meaning that it would probably be beneficial to at least listen to those under 18.

Those under 18 appear to be more interested in important political issues than most adults: abortion rights, gun legislation, climate change, pollution, poverty, and foreign conflict. Crowds of teenagers have gathered in cities around the country to protest these issues, attempting to prove their interest and hopefully get the attention of those in politics.

So it’s time for those in politics to understand that, on average, teenagers are both more interested and more educated than the majority of adults in this country—or perhaps that’s the point—their job is made much easier when the population is indifferent and uneducated. But, in the event that they truly do wish for a better future for all, they must begin to listen to those under 18. They’re brilliant, mature, and passionate. Now is a better time than ever for politicians to show that they trust them before the future is ruined for everyone.