I have been absent for about a month now, and I wanted to apologize. Writing is something I just can’t force, and lately, I haven’t been really up for it.
I’ll try to have more of a schedule. Maybe mark a day a week when I’ll surely upload at least something, so this doesn’t happen again… I dont know yet.
Here’s today’s topic, though: youth’s vote in Argentina.
As you may not know, political rights in my country apply only to citizens, as it does in most parts of the world. This means that a person is only able to present him/herself for a public charge, or to vote, when he/she becomes a citizen. In Argentina’s case, when turning 18 years old. Here, voting is obligatory as estipulated in our Constitution.
In the last days, though, a specific subjtect has been very discussed over all kinds of media, and also between groups of people. Two senators from the actual government’s party have recently presented a law-in-the-making to allow teenagers to have the option to vote when they turn 16 years old. Not full political rights, then, but the chance to vote as an option, until they turn 18, when it becomes obligatory.
This has caused a pretty interesting reaction in the country. And I love interesting reactions.
The most repeated argument against it, is that ‘there are more important things to discuss other than this’. Of course, the government’s opposition did say the same when the national project for a netbook per student (Conectar Igualdad), the law regulating the taxes on soy beans exportation, and the media’s regulation law were proposed, among with many others. Actually, this is the most commonly used argument against practically anything the government does.
I wonder what are the things they find ‘truly important’ to discuss?
The second most commonly heard, is that ‘kids that age aren’t yet ready to vote. They don’t qualify‘. Now this, my friends, is a very dangerous concept. To be ‘qualified’ to vote.
You know, when you study my country’s history, there is a very special time that was maker of many brilliant minds: 1880. These people were called ‘the 80’s generation’. Among them were many now procers t the country.
These people had an ideal for that then young Argentina. They looked up to the USA’s political system, and to france’s ideologies and culture -yes, that seems to be a constant for argentinian thinkers and politicians until the WWI.
But, they were such intelligent people, they understood the common man was basically an idiot (in Sherlock’s words: ‘don’t take it the wrong way. Technically everyone is one’). So they wanted to restrinct the posibility to vote to only those who had attended/were attending university.
Do you imagine what it would be like if the only ones who could vote were college students? Exactly, that’s the exact opposite to ‘democracy’.
Democracy is meant to be the representation of the majority, while respecting the many minorities.
So, when these people now say 16-year-olds aren’t good enough to vote, what are they basing their arguments on? Is it based on their intelligence? Because I know many 16yearolds that are largely smarter than most adults (heck, I know many 12-year-olds smarter than them). Is it about their naivete? Then, is there a way to ‘calculate’ one’s naivete? A naive adult isn’t allowed to vote either?
Is it about life experience? Well, I’m 18, allowed to vote, and don’t really differ from a 16-year-old’s expertise in life, honestly.
Some senator has been repeating in front of every journalist she can find that ‘her biggest fear is that these kids are in any way manipulated by political parties’. Oh, now there we’re getting somewhere.
Remember that post about that 0800-something meant for kids and families to denounce any ‘political activity’ in schools?
Can you see the patron? Because I can. FEAR.
In the late years, the youth from this country has managed to become another political factor here. We ARE a political group, we stand for what we think is right, we manifest for it and against what we think isn’t, and we influence the course of decitions. We have managed to achieve this so-called power thanks to the effort of many more before us.
The only thing that was keeping us from being truly desicive in the political aspect of the country, was the fact that most of us couldn’t vote. Now this law is making that possible. This law will allow us to claim our rightfull place in the table where the country’s decitions are actually made.
On to the agreeing part of the discussion, we have sayings like ‘this is a great way to get teenagers interested in politics from their early ages’. Well, be carefull with that. I believe politics are a way to open one’s mind, and to know more about the world, to take a step forward for your ideals. But, at the same time, we can’t deny that politics has always been the highway for the economical interests to move their wealth. This is a double-edged sword, that can only be responsably wielded if this law comes along with more and better education on this field, concientization.
Also, let’s not forget that the present government has a lot of the youth’s support, so this also responds to THEIR interests.
People are still people.
Anyways, is with hard discussion like these that the politicians’ and media people’s true way of thinking come out, which is always fun to watch.
How does voting work in your countries? What do you think about this law?
Thanks for reading.