Disproportionate Voting Rights: Vote for and of the Future
Young people worldwide are taking action to save the climate. They are fed up with the adults, those who control the political climate, continue to falter and put interests above arguments. The climate problem is complex because it manifests itself in the future, but must be solved now.
Politics lacks long-term vision on this theme, perhaps because current leaders will not experience the so-called “apocalypse” because of their age. According to Jaap Tielbeke of De Groene Amsterdammer, the fight against climate change seems to have degenerated into a generational struggle.
Tielbeke spoke with the chairman of the Young Climate Movement, Maarten Labots. He does not believe that baby boomers have consciously drained the Earth of its resources, but that they have taken a “loan on the future, which our generation must pay off.” And that is unfair. Weatherman Gerrit Hiemstra agrees and argues that only young people should have a say in climate policy. This article explores that controversial idea.
Ok boomer: the attack on the baby boomer
The generation clash unfolds from the younger generations under the guise of “OK boomer.” This statement shows that the youth has had enough of the “talks” of the older generation. Boomers’ stereotypical statements are parried with a flood of memes and even in politics, the slogan was used: OK boomer. Even a 25-year-old New Zealand politician responded with this statement to the interruption of her speech by a much older politician, after which she passionately continued her story (link). Conservative older people are particularly targeted; outdated ideas about the climate and society are simply countered with an “Ok Boomer.”
In his controversial book “A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America” Bruce Gibney states that the baby boomers - in his view “homines economici’ - are guilty of.” They refuse to pay part of the climate bill that has been built up through their growth-first vision. We - who strive daily for a better world - do not want to go that far. Making tomorrow’s world a little more beautiful than today also includes respect for people of all generations. And baby boomers have been brought up with the idea that infinite growth should be the ambition and that their offspring would benefit from it anyway. Unfortunately, that is not the case, because the earth is running out. Every year, people extract more from the earth than they can handle. We would need multiple planets of earth to meet our consumption. And there are none.
Jammed and entitled to vote
On Sargasso, one of the oldest weblogs in the Netherlands where journalist and citizen work together, Blogger “Gronk” even states that we should deprive pensioners of their right to vote. After all, they will not be on this earth for very long and should not have a right to speak about the future of the youth (and the earth). “The longer you have to walk around on earth, the heavier your voice weighs,” writes Gronk. The blogger clearly disagrees with the post-Flood mentality that the older generation seems to have: “If you (...) don’t show any consideration for future generations, why should we think anything of your vote?” The deprivation of voting rights is a step too far for us, but the philosophy behind it fits in seamlessly with our idea of 'disproportionate voting rights’ for young people. It is precisely at a time of an aging population, in which the elderly have more votes to distribute, because they simply are with more, we must find the balance.
At the moment, politics is still in the hands of the old guard, which represents the interests of old generations. It is striking that there is a 50Plus party, but no party for young people. And they have reason enough to unite politically: the loss of student finance, no permanent jobs, barely affordable housing. As a result, people in their twenties are lagging behind in “achieving” major life steps, such as buying a house or starting a family. That is why Aleijd Truijens calls our young people the “jammed generation.”
Uniting young people in the field of home and job opportunities seems achievable, but in other areas they often differ too much to unite in a political party. Moreover, young people do not go to the polls in large numbers, so their voice in politics often remains unheard. 50Plus, on the other hand, has a large potential of voters, which means that they have managed to get seats.
“Who is knocking MPs there, who is knocking MPs there, who is knocking gently there? It’s Earth, MPs, It’s Earth MPs, she’s mad at what we’ve done.” - PINK !, Youth Party of the Animals
We have now reached the stage that the Social and Economic Council requires politicians to use a “generation test” prior to the implementation of a new law. This means that a law (amendment) that is taking place now had to be examined how it will work out in the future and what effect it will have on young people of today and of the future.
We also consider the advice from the Council of Public Administration (ROB) to give young people from the age of 16 the right to vote. After all, they do pay tax, but are not yet entitled to the consideration: casting a vote. In addition, it is the young people who will walk the earth in the future. Let them decide on this, the ROB argues. And we can only agree with that.
It seems millennial worthy to conclude with a musical quote: “No one seems to understand the kids these days / And why we live this way / We got to clean up the mess you’ve made / Still you don’t wanna change / You create the law but can’t control our thoughts / And no, we won’t be bought / We don’t just protest for the fun / We’re here to get it done.” (Tones and I - The Kids are Coming, link)