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A Skeptic's View of Voting

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

With the November election more or less around the corner, we are coming up on one of those traditions that should be stuck away in a kitchen drawer where we all keep pieces of string and out-of-date supermarket coupons. I’m referring to those crusades staged every four years by talk show pundits and editorial writers to shame us all into voting.


They love to remind us of all the brave men who have bled and died so that we would be free to cast our ballots. What they inevitably overlook is that millions and millions of people who never had the slightest bit of actual freedom have been free to vote. Joseph Stalin regularly won elections with a plurality of 99.9%. So did Saddam Hussein. Dictators can always win elections, but sometimes they simply decide they’re not worth the bother. The real distinction between people who are free and those who aren’t is that free men have the option of not voting.

In the last election, 72% of the eligible voters over the age of 55 cast ballots, whereas 47% of those between the ages of 18-24 bothered going to the polls. I know that some of you are clucking your tongues and thinking dark thoughts about the 53% who decided they had better things to do on election day. Well, I, too, am clucking my tongue, but for an entirely different reason. I am dismayed that nearly half of the youngsters trooped out to the polls. Frankly, I hate the idea that some kid who may still be in high school canceled out my vote for no better reason than that he’s a fan of Sean Penn or went to a Dixie Chicks concert.

Whenever I suggest that teenagers shouldn’t be allowed to vote for anything but student body president or prom queen, I know that someone is bound to say, “If they’re old enough to fight and die in Afghanistan and Iraq, they’re old enough to vote.” To which I invariably respond, “You’re absolutely right. If they’re serving in the military, I agree they should be able to vote. But if they’re still in school, still getting an allowance and using their mom or dad’s credit card to buy gas, I say they have no more business electing the president than my dog Duke does.”


Let’s face it, ladies and gentlemen, if we raised the voting age to, say, 25, the Democratic party would go the way of the dodo and the Whigs. Liberals want young kids voting for pretty much the same cynical reason they want to extend suffrage to illegal aliens, convicted felons and dead people. It takes a certain mentality, a certain degree of gullibility, after all, to believe plutocrats like the Clintons, the Kerrys, Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Michael Bloomberg and George Soros, actually intend to pay their fair share when they insist they want taxes raised on the rich or to really believe that “hope” and “change” are any more profound and meaningful than “Tastes great, less filling” or “My bologna has a first name.”


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