Youth Rights

The backbone and core of Elijah's Presidential campaign is Youth Rights and Youth Liberation. It all started here:

LOWER THE DRINKING AGE

Allowing 18- to 20-year-olds to drink alcohol in regulated environments with supervision would decrease unsafe drinking activity. The drinking age of 21 is ineffective, because teens still continue to drink. If you're old enough to die in a war, you're old enough to drink.

LOWER THE VOTING AGE.

Lowering the voting age is the top plank in Elijah's platform. It’s more democratic. The more people voting, the more voice citizens of the United States would have, providing a better look into the wants of the population and the needs for public policy. Voter turnout may increase. The United States does not have the best voter turnout with 50 percent to 60 percent of the voting population casting their ballots in the presidential elections. Teens can work and pay taxes at 16, why shouldn't they vote? As President, Elijah Manley will introduce a constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to sixteen.


REPEAL CURFEW LAWS.

The overnight hours of a curfew are not when most teenage crime takes place.
The most violent teenage crime tends to take place between 7-11pm in most communities. Kids are generally the most at risk of becoming a victim of a crime from the time they leave school until the time they head for bed at night.

It isn’t going to stop teens who want to commit a crime. 
Some teens are known to drive over to other communities that don’t have a curfew in place so they can continue doing what they want to do. Others just snub their nose at the local law and stay out past curfew anyway. Although curfew laws give police the opportunity to arrest a teen in violation, the teens have to be found to be arrested in the first place.

It places restrictions on everyone. 
Teenage curfew means that those teens who just want to find a good job to support themselves and their family can’t do it if the timing isn’t right. A curfew essentially punishes everyone because of the actions of a few.

 

ABOLISH AGE RESTRICTIONS FOR SEEKING OFFICE.

Restricting running for public office to those who are over a certain age is undemocratic, and is age discrimination. 

 

 YOUTH LIBERATION

Youth Liberation is an important cornerstone in the Manley for America campaign because it’s well past time to extend the constitutional rights of personhood to all individuals, regardless of age. The entire history of the Constitution throughout the past two and a half centuries has seen a progressive incremental expansion of its provisions to more groups of people in America.

These incremental expansions were the following:

White male land owners at the beginning of the nation (only 6% of the population could vote at the time!) to all white men in 1856. This expansion of voting rights was itself incremental, with the latter year marking North Carolina as the last state to revoke land ownership as a voting requirement.

 From white men only to black men in 1868, several years after the institution of chattel slavery was ended; however, despite full citizenship being granted to all freed slaves that year, only men were allowed to vote, and it was entirely up to each state as to whether or not the right to suffrage was granted to male ex-slaves. It was in 1870 that federal legislation passed to forbid states from denying voting rights to black men. Of course, since most new freedoms often suffer a backlash to limit the application of those freedoms, states began to institute voting taxes, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses to limit black men from voting, along with traditional but illegal tactics such as acts of violence and intimidation. These restrictions were later fully repealed.

 

 From men only to women by the year 1920. This was courtesy of the 19th Amendment, and this came nearly 50 years after women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony was arrested after attempting to vote in Rochester, New York; and former slave and social activist Sojourner Truth was denied access to the ballot while attempting to vote that same year in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

 

Residents of the District of Columbia are given voting rights as of the year 1961, finally extending the right of suffrage to people who lived in the U.S. but were not officially residents of a state (the White House is located in a district, rather than a state, to prevent any single state from having this advantage). Nevertheless, residents of Washington, D.C.—the great majority of whom are African-American—still lack any representatives in Congress.

From people 21 and older (even if they live in the nation’s single district, instead of a state!) to 18-20-year-olds by 1971. This was courtesy of the 26th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which was one of the many civil rights awarded during the great progressive era starting in the mid-1960s and continuing in earnest through the 1970s. The student activist movements of the ‘60s had much to do with that latest broadening of the rights to suffrage and recognition of full personhood under the Constitution, and this was the same time period and climate in which the youth liberation movement began. Many more youth rights issues were brought to the table of mainstream politics for serious consideration during this decade, including but far from limited to those described above.

 

From people 18 and over to 16-17-year-olds in various U.S. municipalities starting in 2013 with Takoma Park, MD, followed in 2015 by Hyattsville, MD. It has now continued with serious proposals for 2016 and beyond in San Francisco, CA; Broward Country, FL; and Washington, D.C. This historical pattern strongly indicates incremental steps towards a federal law granting suffrage to 16-17-year-olds throughout the U.S.

 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE YOUTH LIBERATION MOVEMENT



 This platform began during the highly progressive period of the late 1960s and ‘70s in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The first organization dedicated to these principles, Youth Liberation of Ann Arbor (YLAA), was founded by 15-year-old Keith Hefner in 1970, and the first version of the platform’s mission statement was drafted at this time. The high motivation of the activists who comprised the fledgling platform combined with the progressive political climate of the time to quickly gain steam. Among its first notable accomplishments was convincing the municipal government of Ann Arbor to retract its strict curfew laws against underage youth, and to establish student unions to grant kids a voice in their local school boards regarding the curricula and rules of the schooling system they were required to attend.

 

The organization also operated the Youth Liberation Press, taking over and changing the name of the Chicago High School Independent Press (CHIPS) created in Chicago, Illinois a year earlier by youth liberationist John Schaller, which then moved to Ann Arbor to merge with the YLAA. This press published a variety of books collecting essays on youth rights throughout the rest of the 1970s, as well as issuing the publication Magazine of Young People’s Liberation (formerly FPS). 

In 1972, 15-year-old YLAA member Sonia Yaco made the next notable accomplishment by challenging the ageist provisions of the local school board that permitted only adults to run for a seat. Sonia ran under the ticket of the Human Rights Party, and not only did she acquire 1,300 votes, but her radical campaign was one of the factors influencing the creation of the highly democratic Community High School later that same year in Ann Arbor. The methodology of that school contrasts highly with the authoritarian, top-down mandatory schooling system most students born from the 20th century to the present are familiar with, and remains in operation to this day.

As the above makes clear, the heavily progressive atmosphere of the late 1960s and 1970s allowed youth liberation to come of age until it suffered the major blow back of the nation’s descent into reactionary conservatism at the beginning of the 1980s. Now that we are beginning to move towards a true progressive counter-backlash against over three decades of such politics, the time to bring youth liberation back into the mainstream political agenda is now.  

 

 

Abolish All ageist laws

 

Any law--whether in the realm of labor legislation, bodily autonomy, health care decisions, educational choices, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, full access to information—that restricts people from making their own decisions or achieving meaningful work under humane conditions solely on the basis of age rather than proven individual merit—will be abolished. This will include support for a constitutional amendment that eliminates ageist provisions in the Constitution itself prohibiting anyone under a certain specific age to run for any political office. Personal competence, level of demonstrated ability, and actual quality of life experience as opposed to a mere quantity of years on this planet must always be considered before a younger person is denied a job or position of office simply because they are “underage.”

This platform also adamantly declares that younger people are not the property of their parents, but autonomous individuals who have the inherent right to become the architects of their own destiny, and to remove themselves from any living situation where they are extremely unhappy or subjected to frequent bullying and emotional abuse under the guise of “tough love parenting.”

 

 

LOWER THE VOTING AGE

 

 

In a youth liberated society, meaningful work under safe and humane conditions, including many work-at-home opportunities, will be readily available to younger people. Hence, their contributions to society as tax-paying workers will entitle them to all due representation in government. This will include the abolition of age restricted voting.

We must note upfront that civic merit or knowledge has never been a requirement for voting with adults, because many older voters are notorious for voting against their own interests or admitting they know little to nothing about politics or the platform for any particular politician they happen to vote for—often voting for certain candidates for trivial reasons related to how good-looking they are, how affable they may come off on camera, what their religious views happen to be, or the mere fact they happen to be the sitting president. There will be a wealth of opportunities for people of all ages to acquire civic education, particularly now that we have entered The Information Age. So the common argument that young people “haven’t gained enough life experience to cast meaningful votes” makes no logical sense when all of the facts and evidence of the present adults-only voting pool is taken into consideration.

 

Elijah has plans to introduce a Constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 16 in all states, and to grant each state and local municipality the opportunity to abolish age restrictions entirely based on agitation from younger voters and youth liberationists holding office in each such state or municipality. As noted above, this has long been the pattern in the U.S. regarding the incremental broadening of suffrage rights.


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