The Youth Vote and Civics Education

To the Editor:

My daughter is starting a statewide Vermont Progressive Party Youth Caucus for left of liberal youth between the ages of 14-18. What I find remarkable is that she wants to encourage youth who lean more Marxist to form a Liberty Union Youth Caucus, liberal a Democratic Youth Caucus, conservative a Republican Youth Caucus and who knows maybe even a .Libertarian one. Eventually she wants them to meet and hammer out a Youth Platform.

There are obvious differences between these positions with little common ground between one end of the spectrum and the other. So what issue does she believe can unite politically aware and active youth? The vote. She believes that at least in local and state elections the voting age should be lowered to at least 16 and possibly even 14.

While I’m sure that this will inspire some Boomers to have “Wild in the Streets” nightmares, I believe her logic is impeccable. The Unitarian Universalist church she grew up in is a congregational church, that is to say the congregation sets its own policies, budgets and hires and fires the minister, she has been voting as a member of that congregation since she was 14, This is the very same local governance model that is the basis for the Town Meeting Day government that still prevails in most Vermont towns. Local and state government is the level that has the most direct impact on the lives of high school students and the easiest to draw a direct line between a vote and its effect.

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