Cats, like many other species, can’t count. Our feline acquaintances have come up with an interesting work-around to deal with their deficient numeracy. When a mother cat decides, for whatever reason, to move her kittens she takes one by the scruff of the neck to its new location. Since she can’t count she doesn’t know in advance how many trips she has to make so she keeps going until she returns to the old litter’s site and finds it empty. She then knows that the move is complete. Learning when to stop is one of life’s most important lessons.
Which brings me to the franchise. Suffrage has been on an upwards arc for the last two and a half millennia. So widespread has it become that an individual vote for anything larger than the local library committee is meaningless. It’s like a wave in a football stadium. If you fail to stand or sit down at the appropriate instant, the wave is unaffected. Yet attempts are underway to make a vote even more meaningless, if that’s possible.
One of our two main political parties, the crazy one not the stupid one, proposes that the voting age be lowered to 16. Thus hormone crazed teenagers could vote five years before they could legally consume alcohol. They’d still have to wait two years to die for their country and soon may have to wait five years until they could inhale tobacco fumes. Marijuana, on the other hand, may be OK for toddlers. I think our pols have it backwards.
The voting age should be raised to 100. Now a vote would really count. Furthermore, voting should be limited to polling stations. This stricture would prevent the ancients’ septuagenarian offspring from casting their ballots for them. Also no one but the voter would be allowed anywhere near the voting machine. If the eligible voter can’t manage the contraption by himself, he’s out. Take that Vladimir Putin and stuff it in your phony Facebook account.
Think of all the benefits this new system would accrue. No more political rallies. What rational voter under this system would leave the comfort of his easy chair and TV to demonstrate for anything. Free college? Your kidding me. They might go for free Metamucil. Medicare for all? The average voter will laugh so hard his catheter will fall out. In fact, after you’ve buried three generations of doctors who needs medical care under any circumstances. Forgiveness of college loans? What sensible centenarian would go for that? If you were dumb enough to go into hock for four years of brainwashing you deserve to pay for it, with interest.
When your life expectancy is less than a lab rat’s and your lifespan as an eligible voter is even shorter, you’ll want solutions to problems now. The national debt? No problem tax everybody under 100. What legislator who wants re-election will give free stuff to people who can’t vote. So the disenfranchised youngsters won’t get free stuff anymore.
We can safely raise the draft age, which will be reinstated, to 65. So those who start wars or defend us from outside aggression will all have to fight for their country. We could even make military service mandatory for people older than draft age.
The problems with Medicare and Social Security are a cinch under this new system raise the eligible age to 75 or higher. Whatever it takes to balance the budget.
Politicians and their camp followers have talked about mandatory retirement for federal judges who have lifetime appointments. They have it backwards. No judge should serve until he’s at least 80, maybe 90. Nature will solve the problem of lifetime appointments.
As for the congress, they’ve become so superfluous that I’m not sure that we need to monkey around with an age limit. Term limits, which will be easy to pass with a 100 year plus electorate and a venerable judiciary, will keep them from accidently doing something. Home rule will be restored and every county will be free to mess around as it pleases.
As for the big enchilada himself, the US president. The minimum age would be raised from 35 to 85. The founding fathers couldn’t have anticipated coronary revascularization and hemodialysis. The 22nd amendment to the Constitution will be unnecessary as here again nature will solve the problem of any leader serving more than two terms.
Since experience is the best teacher, an electorate as experienced as one consisting of those who have survived at least a century and who are sentient and at least semi-mobile will ensure that the ship of state maintains a sure and certain course. Ripeness is all.