Teen Talk: Future of the country should be able to vote

Several months ago, I had the honor of attending a gubernatorial debate at Foxwood Resort Casino. Looking around, I saw countless teenage faces in the audience, many of whom would not be able to vote for several years.

As the potential governors addressed gun violence and the tragedy at Sandy Hook, I questioned why teens are not able to voice our opinion since our lives are at risk.

There is a rising campaign to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 years of age, largely based on the fact that teens are the most vulnerable when it comes to school shootings. Progress has been made in places such as Washington, D.C., suburbs that have lowered the age to vote in local elections to 16.

But we teens want more. We want all teens to have a voice.

The age to vote should be lowered from 18 to 16. Teens are qualified, capable, and ready to create change. The future lies in our hands.

A 17-year-old can join the army and put his or her life on the line. A 16-year-old can drive, and is trusted with the lives of themselves and others on the road. But neither can vote for what they believe in.

Teens have proven to be just as competent as adults when it comes to making a decision, as long as we have a reasonable amount of time to consider the facts. Voting would be a good example of this kind of deliberation. I think back to National Walkout Day and March For Our Lives, both student-led demonstrations raising gun violence awareness. Many teens, including myself, participated or led these events. Those protests shook the nation, affecting the lives of countless Americans. What recent adult-led rallies have been that influential among the American people? Teens are ready to create change, if the government will just give us a voice.

Teens are the future, and should be able to create it. We are living through the decisions of others before us, and we deserve a vote for change.

The government needs to stop downplaying our potential power. We are qualified, capable and ready.

Teens sometimes are perceived as making poor choices, but do we really make them any more often than adults?

Teens are ready to vote. We deserve to have a voice in society.

Maria Proulx of Ledyard is a freshman at St. Bernard School in Montville.

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