Vote! Especially you Eighteen-Year-Olds

vote yes 18.jpg

I’ve nearly finished my synopsis, but I need to take a minute to urge everyone to get to the polls Tuesday, especially you 18-21 year olds, because my generation fought hard to get you the vote and I’d really love it if you’d exercise that right.

We hear often about women getting the right to vote in 1920.

And we hear that African Americans were given the right to vote in 1870, although many were kept from voting until 1965, when the Voting Rights Act provided a means to enforce that right.

But maybe some of you don’t realize that the voting age was twenty-one until 1971, when the 26th amendment gave the right to vote to people eighteen and older. See the sticker above the door in the picture? (side note: this was my college boyfriend’s rat trap house. Ugh. What was I thinking??) We were infuriated by the fact that our young men were being drafted left and right, sent to Vietnam to fight–and in some cases, to die–but were not allowed to vote for the politicians who would decide their fate. So we marched and wrote letters and debated our passionate heads off, and in 1971, finally got to vote. Ironically, that was the year I turned twenty-one, but I had great satisfaction in knowing that the generations that followed would be represented at the polls. So get out there, you young people! No matter who you’re voting for, I want you to have your say.   


  1. Denise on November 3, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Nice house, Diane! I shudder to think of how it looked inside. Lol
    I remember being so excited that I turned 18 in time to vote for George McGovern! As I recall, we were even allowed to drink alcohol at the ripe old age of 18 back then. Fortunately, that law was changed.
    I can not wait to vote tomorrow!

  2. Margo on November 4, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Diane is SO right…get out and vote everyone! Gary & I already cast our votes first thing this a.m. and can hardly wait to watch the returns tonite!…from the long lines we saw this a.m. I think it’s going to be a record year for voter turnout…and it helps that the sun is out and it’s a beautiful day for voting but even if it was bitter cold I think this election day would set a record. (-:

  3. brenda on November 4, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    My first time to vote-age 21. I am sorry to say that I do not agree with l8 year olds voting (sorry D.) or going to war…I teach high school and college. We have to watch them (in high school) get on and off the bus…check the restrooms…keep them from fighting and other things at lunch…beg them to do their assignments…and then we let them help choose the President (and other leaders) of the U.S. It amazes and shocks me…esp. when I hear them repeating things they must have learned from their parents…sorry…I want it to go back to 21 for SERVICE and VOTING…just had to put in my two cents…
    On happier notes=my reunion weekend with my daughter and son in NYC (he does the marathon each year) was great. We saw GREASE and talked with actors afterwards…the boy who has John T’s character…went to the high school where I used to teach (before I went there)…the boy and the girl were on the tv show when they chose the actors…there was also an actor from American Idol. We had 4th row Orchestra seats…wow…we could see them sweat. My son stood in line to get the seats…loved everything..>THE MET…Central Park…etc. etc. My son did great in the marathon again…such a good time for us. Diane-there was a great display of your latest in one of the bookstores…

  4. brenda on November 4, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    P.S. Diane, I must admit that the maturity of l8 year old kids when you were young (and I was young) was much different than today. I lost a friend in Vietnam…and I lost friends after Vietnam because of the War. Statistically, over 50,000 Am. soldiers died in Vietnam…the same or more have committed suicide. I also have friends who still can’t stand the thought of what they went through at such a young age…

  5. Denise on November 4, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    I, too, had friends who were drafted to Vietnam. Fortunately, they all made it back home.
    I think that like anything else, the maturity level between 18 year olds varies. My dad was in local politics so I was involved from a young age. I was probably as prepared to vote at that age as anyone could be. My kids were also prepared at that age, but that could be because I talked about it with them. I feel sorry for the kids who grow up with politically apathetic parents.
    I think the government was right in allowing 18 year olds to vote…if they were old enough to get drafted and come back in a body bag, they were old enough to vote.

  6. DIane Chamberlain on November 4, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Brenda, you have first-hand knowledge of 18 year olds, that’s for sure. I think, as Denise said, the maturity of 18 year olds varies greatly. I had to laugh at the suggestion that 18 year olds were any more mature back in the day, tho. I was SO young.

  7. krysia on November 4, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    this was my 1st time voting. Id never registered until now. Gunnar enjoyed the attention. Mcgovern got a library a few years ago that was pretty neat.

  8. krysia on November 4, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    this was my 1st time voting. Id never registered until now. Gunnar enjoyed the attention. Mcgovern got a library a few years ago that was pretty neat.

  9. Cher on November 16, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    My dear old college roommate Diane,
    I know this is after the fact, but I have to put my 2 cents in. As you know, I teach reading to college students at a community college in California. A huge percentage of college students in our country read at or below a junior high level. Many of my students have never read a whole book before they get to my class. They don’t read newspapers, either. Many of them have no idea what the political parties stand for. If they are interested in news at all, many watch Fox News and think it is “fair and balanced?” Before the election, I asked who planned to vote, and about 1/3 raised their hands. I was horrified. Trying to keep my own bias out of it, we made a chart on the board of what the political parties stand for (I let the class generate the ideas). It was a real eye-opener for many of them. One student wrote in her journal, “The most important thing I learned this week is that I am in the wrong political party.” I also taught them how to research the propositions online, reading the arguments and seeing who is for and against them. Out here, there are several huge churches telling their congregations how to vote (usually for Bush and against gay marriage). Many of my students go to these churches.
    Rather than suggest they vote, please tell them to educate themselves about the issues that matter to them, and then vote! I hope that Obama makes being intelligent and educated “fashionable” again.

  10. Diane Chamberlain on November 16, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    You make a really good point, Cher. I wish everyone could have a teacher like you and like another frequent commenter here, Brenda. I wish the over twenty-one-year-olds could get that education as well!

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