Prompt 095: Election Age
95. It wasn't until 1971 that people between the ages of 18 and 21 could vote. Do you think the current voting age of 18 is fair? Why or why not?
Well, shit. It's an election year, isn't it?
I tell ya. There's been a lot of synchronicity happening with me these days... Lots of coincidental alignment of the direction of my life with destiny. More about that in just a bit, should I feel like writing on it. Meanwhile, I have a prompt to digest.
I would love to have a law on the books that made actual, substantive change in life for the majority of citizens. I'd suggest that the right to vote be granted to anyone at and above the age to be legally married. This only provides for a handful of exceptions in the United States, with potential voters as young as 15 in some places, and younger in a few - in the case of parental, and sometimes judicial, consent.
In general, I think lowering the enfranchisement age would bring about substantial change in the electoral process, as well as in society. Electoral practices would change to cater to a[n even] younger demographic. Political interests would not be under the sway of money as much as they would under personal safety and security. I think there would be a more equitable bent within laws passed, in general. People would end up voting for more fairness all around, and their representatives would need to cater to both the monied classes, as well as those who had no money... Or rather, those who didn't understand money as a lever in the halls of power.
I think there would be less support for armed conflict between nations, since those who are younger are, in general, more terrified of violence than their elders. There would be more life imprisonment without parole, and less call for death penalty. There would be fewer children tried as adults. Alcohol and other drugs would either be more rampant or (more likely, in my opinion) less popular in society. There would be less stress in general, because legislation would fund support services: childcare, public transportation, housing (in my view, The Big Three).
It seems to me that there would be less of a capitalist, Libertarian, neoliberal bent to politics, and more of a socialist one. I my view, the need for capitalist make-work is now over in the United States, and now is the time for social programs and infrastructure projects. There may come a time in the future for another Great Leap Forward, but with all these financiers "climbing up, punching down" instead of rising the proverbial tide to lift all boats, the supposed benefits of capitalism are now outweighed by its shortcomings, and are holding back prosperity.
...These are the musings of a powerless man (an oxymoron, I know... But it's because I have manners). There is not even a snowball's chance in Hell that the corporate political machine will change before the United States is completely annihilated. The rich simply don't care about the rest of the populace otherwise, for example: this pandemic would be sorted out and the US wouldn't have risen to the top of the afflicted. There wouldn't be a mail-order corporation CEO with about $200 billion in personal assets. The banks wouldn't have been bailed out in 2008. Though meritocracy is proven to be a lie every single day, the rich simply don't care so nothing will change to support society above the individual.
All that aside, I really do think the current president is in line for a second term, but not because he deserves it. He'll work hard to be re-elected, but his actions are and won't be those befitting the leader of a once-great, now-crippled and crumbling empire on the decline.
You'd think with a legacy such as that of the United States, it's approaching sunset would be more picturesque, eh? Or maybe from another angle: this was its destiny all along.
Personal whinging follows.
In this nightmare called Our Present Times, I am wondering how long I can hold out in my present circumstances. That it's an election year - and a tumultuous one, at that - is part of my present dread, but there is more. I feel like I've shifted away from anxiety and despair to absolute disaffection. I think this is what hopelessness is like, the Benjamin of "Animal Farm."
I am barely functional at the day job, though every day I do my best to summon up the energy to move at least a little forward. I do feel like the right thing to do in these circumstances is to ask my supervisor for help and support, but he seems burned-out too and I am skeptical that much can be done. They just gave me a raise, and I'm not in a situation - or possessing of the imagination - where more money would help right now. I feel tied to my day job and what we strive to accomplish, but don't feel like our work and its impact can stand against the weight of social unrest, economic disparity and fragility, or crippling mental stress.
I've turned to reading more frequently. I started with some fascinating works by David Graeber. He frickin' died last week. So I pivoted to fiction, and leaned into one of my recent favourites: Kurt Vonnegut. What did I start to read, but his novel "Gala'pagos." Not even 50 pages in and I'm overwhelmed by the startling parallels to current life introduced: worldwide economic meltdown and crisis. Characters on the brink of panic. I couldn't help but laugh at my dumb luck at picking up that book. And of course, Vonnegut being Vonnegut, he introduces characters by letting the reader know that they will die by a moment later in the book, and the narrator is a frickin' ghost. I mean, come on man. I should have just grabbed his "Player Piano" instead.
I want to read non-fiction, but it's all bleak. I don't want to read fiction, but I need something to cheer me up. I'd lean into video games more - and in fact I have, having released two games in the span of as many weeks, one made in about two days - but again, I feel like I'm wasting my time with idle foolishness and nothing to show for the hours I put into them (including the "erotic games" I'd invested in... They are palliative in nature, but I am resenting myself for needing to rely on them).
I'd go outside but I'd encounter people without masks or compunction about spreading an invisible, incurable, debilitating virus (which has experienced recent up-ticks within the state I live in, by the way). I'd ride my bicycle but I'd be at greater risk of being hit by a car. I've been on my exercise bike so frequently that I think I've suffered injuries. I'd visit the garden plot but the plants I've attempted to cultivate aren't growing because in place of any solid knowledge of gardening, I merely have gusto (and people don't wear masks there, either).
So what has been the nearest thing to solace in my stable? Dreams of relocating. I'm becoming convinced that the only way to eject myself forcibly from this funk is to pull up stakes and move somewhere else. I am flush with greater savings than I have ever had in my life, a well-functioning vehicle with relatively few miles behind it, no debts, no children, no house... Looked at from a different perspective - or perhaps, a different time not so clogged-up with pandemic foolishness - and I could be free as a bird.
The eco lab seems a romantic getaway to a Bright, New Future. I sit in on broadcasts, I watch videos and see photographs, I read information and details about the spot and what they do there, I listen to podcasts... And underneath it all, a jester-like subtext is saying, "Now! Now! Now! What do you have to lose?"
I should eat a bit of super-dark chocolate every single day. I forgot why I stopped doing that.