Fueling the Disengagement

Woodlin Julien

9/29/16

A rescued man was suspect in his grandfather’s slaying. A 22-year old man rescued from a life raft after a fishing trip that left his mother missing and presumed dead had been a suspect in the 2013 slaying of his rich grandfather, according to court documents that add to the multitude of questions swirling around him and what happened at sea.

According to court papers, police submitted an arrest warrant to a prosecutor, but it was returned unsigned with a request for more information. The police couldn’t just go and arrest him, there was a process they first had to go through. They first had to obtain an arrest warrant, and when they tried obtaining an arrest warrant the prosecutor did not sign it and the reason was he or she needed more information. This relates very strongly to the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

This is important to me because it shows how just because the police think and feel like you are guilty of a crime they can’t just go and arrest you without going through a process of first obtaining an arrest warrant and in order to obtain such document you must first be able to prove that the person committed the crime. It makes me feel safer, knowing I can’t just be arrested because an officer thinks I did a crime, and that my privacy and personal freedom can’t be taken from me without due process.

Should the voting age be lowered even further? If so, how low and why? If not, why not?   

The voting age should be lowered to 16 years old. Like all other Americans, young Americans pay taxes. In fact, they pay a lot of taxes. According to youthsright.org, teens pay an estimated $9.7 billion dollars in sales taxes alone. Not to mention many millions of taxes on income, according to the IRS.  You may be a teen, you may not even have a permanent job, but you have to pay taxes on the money you earn. And teens do work: 80% of high school student’s works at some point before graduation. Youth pay billions in taxes to state, local, and federal governments yet they have absolutely no say over how much is taken. This is what the American Revolution was fought over; this is taxation without representation.

Others will disagree and say many young people do not even know the history of their own country, let alone the history of other countries. They do not understand the different systems of government in the world and the history of those governments, some of which led to the deaths of millions of people! I hear many young people say history is “irrelevant and meaningless,” but nothing could be further from the truth! To paraphrase, “Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it” could well apply to many young people today, as well as to some older people, who have not bothered to learn history, or learn the Constitution, or learn about particular issues.

Although my predecessors have a valid point on why the voting age should be lowered, my point to why it should be lowered is much more important because the exclusion of 16 and 17 year olds from elections is fueling the disengagement of 18-24 year olds. The longer young people are denied involvement in the formal democratic process, the less chance there is of engaging them ever. There is no evidence to suggest that once 18, young people are likely to become more engaged. And since most high school students work and pay taxes at some point before turning 18 or graduating from high school, they should have a say in the government. Back then the American people had a big problem with Britain taxing us without representation. So why are we now making the 16-17 year olds pay taxes when they get a job and exclude them from government? How are we any different from Great Britain?

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