Today’s paragraphs come to us from columnist Jeff Jacoby, the Boston Globe’s house conservative.
In his latest commentary, Mr. Jacoby notes that newly elected Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) has proposed legislation that would lower the voting age for federal elections to 16. I’ll tell you how the voting came out at the end of this blog).
Here is Mr. Jacoby’s take on such legislation:
In her floor remarks before the roll call, Pressley claimed that 16- and 17-year-old kids are qualified to vote by virtue of the “wisdom” and “maturity” that comes from being alive and confronting the “challenges, hardships, and threats” of 2019. “Some have questioned the maturity of our youth,” she told her colleagues. “I don’t.” If that was her best argument for lowering the voting age, it’s no wonder 70 percent of House members weren’t persuaded.
Then again, if Pressley has such unquestioning faith in the maturity of high school sophomores, why seek merely to give them the vote? To be consistent, she should push as well to lower the legal drinking age to 16. And the minimum age for buying cigarettes, handguns, and recreational marijuana. And the age at which one can adopt a child. And at which a criminal offender is automatically prosecuted as an adult. Come to think of it, Pressley should also want to lower the age of enlistment in the military to 16, and to require everyone reaching that age to register with the Selective Service System. After all, if the wisdom and maturity of 16-year-olds qualifies them to vote, why shouldn’t it qualify them to be treated as adults in every other way?
Well, said, Jeff (I call him by his first name because, though not recently, we used to email back and forth to each other on a first-name basis). You win Paragraphs Of The Day honors for laying out the logical outgrowth of such legislation in a way that, I strongly suspect, Ms. Pressley did not think of for even one second.
Oh, about that vote: lowering the voting age in federal elections to 16 received a total of 126 aye votes and 305 nay votes.
But that does not tell the whole story. By party, Democrats voted in favor of lowering the voting age by 125 to 108. The legislation failed only because Republicans voted 197-1 against it.
Make of that what you will.