AS PARENTS, OUR JOB IS TO GIVE OUR KIDS A WORLD THAT’S BETTER THAN THE ONE WE HAD.
But we — the parents and adults of the older generation — are failing miserably.
By now it’s abundantly clear that Brexit, the British referendum on EU membership, won because the older generations screwed the younger. Instead of thinking about the future, they clung selfishly to the past.
As political journalist Nicholas Barrett put it in a comment on the Financial Times web site:
“The younger generation has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors.”
Or to put it another way, those who will die before Brexit takes full effect just flipped a huge middle finger to those who have to live with it.
Here in America, the Trump campaign threatens to inflict a similar generational genocide, with most of his supporters being in the AARP and dinner-before-4pm crowd. Trump and his orange ilk could care less about millennials or Generation Z, even though it’s the young who will reap what Trump sows if elected.
Solution: Repeal the Older Adult Vote
While there is no single remedy to this cultural conundrum, there is nevertheless something we can do to give our kids a fighting chance and control their own future: We can make it illegal for older people to vote.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking, but is it really that crazy? If your eyesight goes bad, you can get your driver’s license revoked. Many retire from work once they hit 65.
Moreover, if you’re convicted of a crime, you get your right to vote taken away. Well, putting an entire generation at risk because of petty, ignorant, xenophobic idealism is about as criminal as it gets.
Age 60 seems like a good time to end voting rights, but I’d be open to 55 or even 50. I’m almost 50 and I already don’t care about my future as much as I care about my daughter’s and her kids, if she has kids someday.
Let her make the decisions. Let her choose the kind or world she wants. We’ve made it hard enough on her already; let’s not make it any worse.
Our Kids are Better Than Us
The truth is, our kids are better than us. They are smarter than us. They are more open and accepting of other races, religions and sexual preferences than us.
They have more passion and promise. More young adults today support charitable causes and participate in community service. They are building economies without forsaking their consciences. Millennials see the world as it should be and believe it still can be.
We older adults can be scared, brittle, porous creatures — divergent animals that pull away from the very things that keep us together. We worry about the little future we have left, when really we should be grateful that our past didn’t totally screw things up.
Maybe it’s not too late. Maybe we can learn something from the younger generations. Better yet, we can give them more power to make their own decisions.
Let’s start by giving them the vote — all of it. Let’s trust them to make the decisions we no longer have a right or a need to make ourselves.
Let’s get out of the way and give their future a real shot at survival.