Saturday, November 13, 2010

Repeal The 26th Amendment

1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Was talking with brother Tom the other day, and he made reference to this Ann Coulter column in which she puts forth the idea that the XXVI Amendment to the Constitution should be repealed.  Apparently, Tom came across the article on The Hammer's Facebook page.

I only just now got around to reading it, and while Ann's characteristically a little snarky about it (not that there's anything wrong with that), her argument really resonates.  When the vote was extended to 18 year olds, the US was at War with people it was drafting, and 18 year olds could drive, drink, etc.  Seemed like the fair thing to do.

What now?  Can't drink till you're 21, we draft no one, you can linger on Mommy and Daddy's health care until you're 26 and as Ann cites, the brain's not fully formed until the mid-twenties (something medical science did not know at the time of the amendment, but what the Founders seemed to inherently grasp by setting the minimum age in the House of Representatives at 25).  Ann's proviso that would ensure the right to vote to anyone serving in the Military irrespective of age seems a good exception too.


Goldwater's Ghost said...

I'm sorry, but every time I look at Ms. Coulter, I see John Kerry in drag.

Bryan said...

Although the 26th Amendment was in large part a reaction to the Vietnam War and the draft, the move to reduce the voting age began with Eisenhower in 1954. He argued suffrage for this group was warranted by the fact they could be called upon to fight and "They should participate in the political process that produces this fateful summons."

Although we don't have a draft now, its reinstatement would result from the political process. Should only people older than 21 be involved in the process of restarting a draft that would disproportionally affect 18-21 year olds? The current selective service system is set up to prioritize 18-20 year olds, with decreasing percentages until age 26, after which one is no longer in the pool.

Also, the allowance that people in the military could vote regardless of age perpetuates the idea non-military people are second-class citizens - not a desirable quality in a nation espousing equal protection and civilian control of the military.

Anonymous said...

Keeping in mind that 18 year olds are still required by law to register for the draft which though presently inactive, could be reinstated as Bryan stated "as a result of the political process".

Tubby McG said...

I only need to read my 19 year old daughter's Facebook page in order to realize that we need to repeal the 26th Amendment.

"The Hammer" said...

You just better watch it GG. Objectifying women will not be tolerated on this blog! We're interested in the woman's argument, not your John Kerry fantasies.

Now, having said that, she makes an excellent argument. 18 years olds don't have the life experience, regardless of their maturity, to exercise the franchise.

ps. Sorry for being an asshole GG, but don't be messing with Coulter. And by the way, I think she's a bit of posh.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Bryan, your legislative history notwithstanding, the facts of the matter are that it took nearly two more decades for the SOCIETY Eisenhower served to catch up with his feelings. Much of that catch up arguably was the result of the Viet Nam war and the explosion of the "youth" movement--which was what the Baby-Boomers were through the 1960's.

Putting this interesting segue aside, what exactly is your point? Are you arguing against repealing the 26th Amendment solely because it would discriminate against 18-21 year-olds? Or just 18-21 year-olds subject to selective service? Would it thereby be ok to deny 18-21 year old women the vote, as they are not subject to the draft?

We discriminate on the basis of age all the time. We deny 18-21's the right to drink. Car rentals are extremely limited to people under the age of 25. Senior get discounts.

As a society, we have increasingly affixed fewer and fewer of the trappings of responsibility and adulthood to persons 18-21, yet somehow their fitness to vote remains beyond the terms of debate. If we cease infantilizing this generation, then I'm all for their retaining suffrage. As long as we continue to treat them as children, this is what their voting status should be.

Patty and Cathy Lane said...

Bryan and The Conservative Wahoo -

"We" haven't seen such a role-playing performance since our own back in the early '60s.

Any chance you know Shirley Ardell Mason?

Bryan said...

CW, Good points all. My argument is: The original rationale for lowering the voting age was because 18 to 21-year-olds were disproportionately affected by the draft and therefore should have a voice in decisions about war. The elimination of the draft does not change that rationale since the selective service still exists and the draft could be reactivated as a result of legislative action. 18 to 21-year olds should have a role in the process of reactivating the draft if the original rationale for their getting the vote still holds. Women would likely be brought into the draft as well if it were restarted.

Separate from that, we can argue about whether today's 18-21 year olds deserve the right to vote. I don't know whether they are all that worse than our generation at that age. It would be interesting to look at some statistics for their civic participation. They are still joining the military such that quotas are met without much problem (except for a dip in Army numbers 2004-6). With regard to voting, they have been steady at around 20% for a decade, except for 2008.

Stephen Monteith said...

If you're old enough to serve (not to be drafted, but to actually serve) in the military, then you are old enough to vote for your Commander-in-Chief (and for the people who decide how much money goes into your paycheck/benefits).

Anonymous said...

I never got the rationale behind being old enough to vote and die for my country and not old enough (read "responsible enough") to drink. Seriously, progressives suck.

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