OK, I admit it: this doesn’t have much to do with Yoga, at least not on the surface. I’d better explain. In my other life, well, one of my other lives, I work as a freelance writer and in the scramble to get contracts, you do some funny and some not so funny things. The first rule of freelancing is, check out the potential employer before you do anything. Unfortunately, I didn’t do that the other day and got a little burned. The company, Writerbay, commissions writers to produce essays and assignments and to edit and correct college work, mostly, I believe, in the States. I sent off this short essay (printed below) and a copy of my MA and then did my research. I don’t regret it: when you write, all writing is good practice. But I do want to warn any potential writers out there that, particularly if you are treading the path of yoga and other practices that demand authenticity, writing someone else’s college assignments probably isn’t going to lead to enlightenment. Here, for the record, is my 350 word application essay on whether or not kids should get the vote:
Sample Essay: Should Kids Be Able To Vote? Lucy Weir
A kid – or child – is any person under eighteen (though this definition has varied with historical and cultural circumstances) so to make a general statement that all children should be able to vote is, frankly, absurd. However, an important issue is being raised here: who decides on the governance of a nation? In that respect, it is worth considering what benefits there might be in allowing kids to vote.
According to Winston Churchill, democracy is a dreadful form of governance, only mitigated by the fact that it is less bad than all the others. Age is not an automatic qualification to do anything.We can see a huge disparity in abilities and, indeed, in emotional and intellectual maturity, between people in the same peer group.
The problem with including kids in the voting system is that the same arbitrariness of ability applies. Children’s abilities are just as varied as adults, whether they are twelve or eighteen. However, the shift in focus brings something else into light, and that is that children who are younger have different sets of interests and priorities. Children, for instance, tend to have a strong sense of fairness. There is a good chance that they would bring things like child labour, and perhaps taxation, into focus. Children tend to focus more on the future than adults do: they might vote for politicians and policies that take better account of how the world would look in ten or twenty years’ time, rather than just focussing on short term interests.
On the whole, then, there is a serious case to be made for giving kids the vote. They have a natural sense of justice, and they have a strong interest in the future. However, we must take care: children are heavily influenced by the adults who look after and educate them. Their vote could easily be controlled and influenced by those adults. If that happens, we are back where we started with an arbitrary electorate: only this one is even more unbalanced than the last. Perhaps, on reflection, we should stick with the status quo after all.