May 13th, 2011
|09:30 pm - dan talks to fancy people|
so as my friends on facebook (the finest sort of people) will already know, i testified wednesday in front of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Election Laws, in support of H-192. i was the very last person to speak at the meeting because the chairman thought i wasn't there for some reason. word is, a bunch of people on the committee support the bill, so i think it is going to move forward.
here is, more or less, what i said. i don't think there's anything in here i don't technically mean, but there are all sorts of implications that i let stand because they are way more convincing than what i actuallly believe. lol politics. also note where i say i won't presume to speak for the 17 yr olds, and then proceed to basically do just that. at any rate, i don't think it came out too bad. one of the reps on the committee approached me afterward and asked if i wanted to intern for her, which i guess means i did all right.
Hello, thank you members of the committee, etc.
My name is Daniel Widrew. I am 29 years old, a second-year law student at Northeastern University, a member of the National Youth Rights Association, and a Boston resident. I'm here today to speak in support of H-192.
As someone who has been registered to vote for 11 years now, this is not an issue that effects me personally. People today have spoken about why they feel this bill would benefit the state and its communities and citizens, and I won't bore you by repeating that now, except to say that I agree.
Others today, still under the age of majority, have spoken about why they would value suffrage, what it would mean to THEM to be able to vote, and I won't presume to speak for them. Nor should anyone. Nor should their communities. This, I believe, is the key idea of voting and democracy: that everyone has their own opportunity to express their opinions, to have their say and have it matter, on any issues that interest them or effect them. To me, this is an issue of basic justice and fairness in a democracy. 17 year olds, these are people who obey laws, pay taxes, attend school, work jobs, all the things that we do during the course of our adult lives. But they do it with no say in the laws and rules governing their lives, or the people passing and enforcing these laws. In this state, if someone 17 years old is accused of a crime, or in some cases someone as young as 14, they are tried as an adult and potentially face all the adult penalties which were set up without their input or consent as citizens. It's a double standard: adult responsibilities without adult rights.
Growing up in New Hampshire, I always felt strongly that there was something wrong with being bound to follow the dictates of people who hadn't asked what I thought, or what I valued, and that I had no say in running the community I was a part of. I remember how impotent I felt, dismissed and unimportant, disenfranchised, and I don't want that for anyone else, not for the young people who came today to support this bill, or for anyone else growing up in this state. This bill is a good step towards a more democratic and just Massachusetts.
LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, DUDE
"and in conclusion, yippie ki yay, motherfuckers. thank you for your time"
looking back at this a month later, i'm struck by how much of a platitude the whole thing is. i start out saying i'm not speaking for myself, not for the people the law would directly affect, not for the communities or the state. i am speaking for DEMOCRACY FUCK YEAH. which is kinda funny, seeing as my view on democracy is basically "it's better than most of the alternatives but still not really justified". but hey, you go to war with the army you have, right?
i never understood all the flak rumsfeld got for that remark. it seems pretty self-evident to me.
Edited at 2011-06-19 04:18 pm (UTC)