Do young people deserve the right to vote?


Stone:“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and dear viewers, at home in front of the television, on today's issue of PolitikAktuell. Our topic today is the European elections and the state elections in Saxony and Brandenburg that were hotly debated. There were demonstrations in Leipzig and also the student demos of the “Fridays for Future” movement, which respond to our current topic. Yes, you can imagine dear viewers, it is a question of whether the voting age should be reduced to 16 years or not !? We also welcome Maik Weber and Kathrin Jung here in the studio. "Weber:"Good evening."Young:"Good evening."Stone:“Well, dear guests, this question of“ voting age from 16 ”is hotly controversial. The state elections in Brandenburg and Saxony in particular gave us new topics to talk about, or how do you see Ms. Jung? You're right in the middle of it all. "Young:“Right, we in Saxony have the voting age at 18 years, we are also happy about that. Because in Brandenburg there is the voting age from 16 years, which is an experiment for the time being. If we look at the election results of the two states, Brandenburg and Saxony, we can certainly see parallels. "Stone:"And what parallels would that be exactly?"Young:“If we look at the results in Saxony, we see the CDU as the election winner with 32.1% and the AfD as the second strongest party with 27.5%. Now let's look over to Brandenburg, we see that the three strongest parties, the SPD, CDU and the Left, have lost there too. The AfD is also the big winner in Brandenburg. Especially with regard to voter turnout, the voting age from 16 is not particularly successful. Although voter turnout has increased by around 14%, at 61.3% it is still around 5% below Saxony. "Stone:"So you think this introduction is stupid?"Young:“Regardless of whether you are 16 or 18, we recognize the same tendencies. There are definitely parents who influence their children at home, and the children are likely to choose the same things as their parents. I mean, many young people at the age of 16 still lack the necessary maturity to be able to make such decisions. "Weber:"May I stop here for a moment?"Stone:"Of course, Mr. Weber, you have the floor."Weber:“You definitely cannot generalize political maturity. The young people attend school and are also educated in the political field, so they are fully involved in the subject area in terms of input. "Stone:"So for you the young population is the showpiece of democracy !?"Weber:“It is clear that these people are our future. Certainly not all 16- and 17-year-olds are ready to do so, but there are also 30- and 40-year-olds who have no idea about events in politics and are not able to vote. "Young:"Mr. Weber, don't you think that the young people still lack a sense of responsibility? They are not even aware of what they are doing. "Weber:“Of course there are exceptional cases that are not aware of this, but sooner or later this interest has to be aroused. Because only when we arouse interest and give people political education do they become responsible citizens. If we neglect that, however, the broad mass of young people will remain disinterested in politics. "Stone:“What about today's media that are used every day? Certainly social networks like Instagram or Twitter also have a meaning or am I wrong Ms. Jung? "Young:"Yes, definitely. If we take a look at the media industry and social networks, we see an information overload. The task that the young people then have is to filter this information. Which ones do I need and which ones can I trust or which ones are not serious. You have to trade off fake news and clear facts. That alone is difficult for the majority of the young population, but then to form their own opinion from all the information and to question them is the monster task that fails for most of them. "Stone:“Mr. Weber, how do you see this flood of media? Is this transmission of information more like a curse or a blessing? "Weber:“I think in our age it is easier than ever to get information. If we look at our school system and the education of the pupils, we can see that we are in the upper quarter in Germany. So I think we should stop doubting our future. Many are very well able to question sources and check their truthfulness. Especially at a young age, you still have the motivation to be part of something new. We should trust our youth and not set the standard higher than our average population already does not. "Stone:"So you think the older part of the population has run out of motivation !?"Weber:"Going out I don't want to say, but voting means something new for young people, and tasks like this are tackled with vigor and a breath of fresh air is definitely a good thing!"Young:“But where from, dear colleague, should this vigor come from when there is no interest in politics? We have already seen in the state elections that the 18 to 20 year olds are the ones who vote the least. "Weber:“Look at the voters. We have a people that is getting older on average. The politicians want to win and thus address the age groups where the most votes can be obtained. It just happens that the offers for the young population are scarce. It starts with politics appearing uninteresting. If you lower the voting age to 16, you have around 2 million more potential voters. If there are more young voters, then this niche will also become interesting for politicians. It is precisely this change and the fresh wind that makes and drives a democracy. This promotes competition and drives you to top performance.Young:"Nevertheless, people between the ages of 16 and 18 have educational gaps."Stone:"But can't you say that everyone has an educational gap in some area?"Young:“Certainly, yes, but political education in school alone is not enough to prepare our young people well enough for the task ahead. In other words, some of the basic political knowledge is either incomplete or sometimes even completely absent. "Weber:“But we also see this as an opportunity for young people. With the right to vote, girls and boys will also be concerned with politics outside of school, as voting is a new opportunity for them. Learning is therefore directly linked to practice and is therefore also much more sustainable. In addition, in 2019 we decided on the future of the next five years. Those who were 17 at the time of the election and are now studying or completing an apprenticeship are now also taxpayers. Then why shouldn't these people have a say and shouldn't choose the path for their own future !? The adults must then also bear responsibility for what the broader mass of the older generation caused in the case. "Young:“However, we should keep in mind that the young population in particular tends to take extreme positions. These strong positions often lead to a radicalization of the person or a group of people and this in turn becomes a threat to our democracy. That is also why we should wait until the age of 18 and the completion of school education.Stone:"Mr. Weber, do risk factors such as willingness to use violence also play a role for you?"Weber:"Naturally. But it must be said that radicalization cannot be ruled out in any age group. This phenomenon can start from 16 to 17 year olds, but also from 32 to 63 year olds. It is therefore no reason for me to end the debate as a whole.Stone:“Is there perhaps a compromise that one tries to lower the voting age only in the local and state elections? Later you can always say that the experiment will be enlarged. "Weber:“This is definitely possible, the fact is that our youth deserve this chance. Maybe they'll be grateful to us for that later. Hopefully we'll see. "Stone:"Ms. Jung, do you have anything to add?"Young:“I think you can have an endless discussion on this topic. It is now the task of politics and all politicians to analyze this complex issue and to decide on it. "Stone:“In conclusion, one can say that the question of voting age is a sensitive issue, many young people lack basic knowledge, which can also lead to extreme positions, which is also the case with the older generation. By voting at 16, the theory of the school is linked with practice and a breath of fresh air comes into the action, yet too many are still lacking political interest. But you have to consider that voting would also affect many 16 to 17 year olds who may already be in training, which is why it is unfair to them if they are not allowed to vote. At this point I would like to thank my guests, Kathrin Jung and Maik Weber, it was, as always, a lively round here at PolitikAktuell. In the end, it remains to be said that everyone should form their own opinion on the question “Voting from 16?”. Also a big thank you to you dear viewers here in the studio and at home in front of the television, thank you for switching on. Goodbye and see you next week at PolitikAktuell. "