This Is Why We Need Age Restrictions in Politics
Politics or any kind of decision-making position in a government body needs an upper age limit. Voting already has a worldwide age restriction, the most common legal age for voting is 18 around the world. Only nine countries around the world have 16 as the legal age for voting, whereas, only six countries have 17 as the voting age. (1) Whilst, there are no countries that have an upper age limit for voting. Which is both concerning and upsetting when we think about what politics is. Casting a vote not only affects today or tomorrow, yet it is the most basic act of politics that has the most effects in the long run.
Politics is giving someone the power to govern us, to establish society rules, and enforce those rules for the sake of societal harmony. If that person is not going to live long enough to see the consequences of their actions and decisions, there would not be any concerns on their part while making those decisions. While teenagers and children who will live through those consequences are deficient from the act of voting, their grandparents are free to do whatever with their voting rights.
As a country with 57.6 years as the average age of the Congress Members and 62.9 years average as the age of the Senators (2), the US does not shock the world with the unprogressive political acts all around the country. The most recent devastating decision of upturning the “Roe v Wade” case came from the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) with 61.6 years as the average age of the Justices (3). Since the US Supreme Court Justices do not have any limitations to serving years, the only way to leave the job is retirement by choice or death. This is another horrible practice of uncontrolled power, because when justice does not have to worry about being reappointed or even the public opinion after they leave the court, they will not worry about the long-term consequences of their actions.
When we circle back to the most recent unprogressive development news from the US, we need to look into what “Roe v Wade” is and what its upturning meant. “Roe v Wade” was a decision of the US Supreme Court that was ruled in 1973 that the women’s right to choose to have an abortion is generally protected by the constitution. (4) Even though this decision has established a baseline for women’s reproductive rights in the US, many states have attempted to restrict the conditions of abortion and criminalize it over the past years. Since felons cannot vote, criminalizing abortion and making it a felony is just another way of voter suppression. You can read more on the issue of voter suppression in the PRESENT US Election Marathon.
This wave of anti-progression does not end with the abortion, we can see they are only starting when one of the Justices wrote “... we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” on the concurring opinion after “Roe v Wade” was upturned. Those cases are the rulings that protect contraception, same-sex relationships, and marriage equality in respective order. Unsurprisingly, both the Justices and the politicians in favor of this upturning use Christianity and Bible studies as the reason for their decisions. Which makes no sense, considering the separation of state and religion in a democratic country. Ana Kasparian, an American commentator, during a live news commentation in 2018, said “...all those women who identify with [Christianity] have every right in the world to not get an abortion, to not take birth control. But they do not have the right to dictate my life and what I decide to do with my body.” (5) And I believe this is the best response that there is for the religion-based arguments for any political decisions. Religious freedom does not provide the right to enforce your beliefs on other people, especially, on such life-altering issues. You can find the link to the video and the whole transcript of her speech at the end of this article.
This is not just about the Republican Party or the SCOTUS, or the US, the mentality of requiring “life experience” or a successful business to become a politician has to end. The need for funding, lobbying, or networking is what discourages young people from pursuing a political career. Politics should not be a greatly gatekept sector, it should be a collective work of passion. Politicians should not have “traditional values”, they should have a vision for a better future. Politics should strive to further humanity rather than make some old rich men some more money. Politics needs to stop being a retirement home playground. And start being the arena where the vision for a better future is materialized.
Establishing a globally accepted age limit for being in a position of power and/or getting elected would not only significantly lower the average age of a politician, but it would also require the politicians to live with the consequences of their actions long after the end of their political careers. Additionally, globally lowering the legal age of voting on top of establishing an upper age limit for voting would put the chance to shape the future in the hands of the people who will live through the future. It is not ageist to demand people in power to live long enough to be held accountable for their actions, it is the only logical way of even getting close to fixing the damned system of politics.
“These comments might be strong, but this is how I genuinely feel. I don’t care that you’re Christian. I don’t care what the Bible says. I feel like it’s a clown show sitting [in the studio] trying to decipher what your little mythical book has to say about these very real political issues. I don’t care if you’re Christian. In fact, I will fight for you to have your religious liberty and practice your Christianity. I believe in that. I don’t believe in Christianity which means you do not get to dictate the way I live my life based on your religion. I don’t care what the Bible says. You have every right in the world, all those women who identify with your religion have every right in the world to not get an abortion, to not take birth control. But they do not have the right to dictate my life and what I decide to do with my body. I don’t care about your Goddamn religion. I’m so tired of having non-stop conversations about what the Bible says. You live your life in the way that you interpret the Bible, again, I don’t care. But you don’t get to take the Bible and tell me ‘Well, the Bible says this and this chapter and this verse.’ I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t believe in it and I have the right, based on our constitution, to not believe in it.”