Richard Moore: Older voters are much wiser

By Richard Moore

I can understand a bit of angst  from young people about not getting their way at the ballot box.
I can understand a bit of angst from young people about not getting their way at the ballot box.

One of the difficult things about writing a weekly column is coming up with interesting things to present to get people thinking about, or discussing, issues of life.

Over the past week I have struggled.

I got up early yesterday hoping something would give me that lightbulb moment. And, as tends to be the case, the topic switched on before me with large flashing neon arrows pointing at it saying "this is it, this is it".

So, today's question is "Should older people be allowed to vote?"

It was suggested by a 30-something chap who reckons that old people don't want change, are selfish voters and - best of all - see the world as a terrifyingly confusing place.

When you're elderly, he suggested, you're being left behind. You should just sit back and let youngsters rule the roost.

Crikey. I know what I'd do if a young person suggested the world was a terrifyingly confusing place to me and that would be to:

a) Sit down and have a little chat about the real world, not one experienced over an electronic screen.

b) Remind them about how much they have not seen.

c) Or experienced.

d) And tell their parents to cancel their allowances.

I can understand a bit of angst coming from young people about not getting their way at the ballot box.

Look at the Brexit vote. Most young people wanted to stay in Europe, older people - that is 40+ - in the main voted to dump the Brussels bureaucrats.

Young Brits feel they have been robbed of their future and don't like the fact their vote was lost. That doesn't sit well with younger generations who are used to getting their own way and feel very "upset" when they don't.

They may not stamp their feet or throw big tanties, well most of them won't, but they will moan for absolutely ever.

One of the things I find highly amusing about young folk is that they know everything but have done very little.

Lots of noise, not so much substance.

I was born a generation after World War II and so had instilled in me respect for adults and old folk. When I was young I had great talks with my nan and great aunts who were good, sensible women who had seen and done pretty much all there was to do in life.

At the time, I had done very little except play footy, work, drink and chase girls.

My knowledge of the world was in my head, rather than in the reality of life or experience of travel.

And harking back to the "terrifyingly confusing" comment - I believe all young people should sit on a meeting of the University of the Third Age and see just how confused the intelligent, inquisitive and informed members are. Or, for that matter, sit down with some elderly bridge players and try not to have their backsides whipped by the oldies.

As I have got older - I'm now 55 - I ask myself would I like to be young again and my answer is an emphatic "no".

Every decade I get older I know more, feel more, experience more and have the life experience to process everything in a more sensible way.

I don't want to go back to my younger days when black was black and white was white.

The world is actually grey.

The first step to adulthood, in my opinion, is getting a job and learning about working with others.

The second is having children. It is a growing time when you can no longer just think of yourself and you have to shoulder responsibilities.

The third is going through the fires of divorce.

That cleansing process steels you and allows you to reboot your life.

So, readers out there who are retired, should you stop voting?

Would you like to sit in your recliner and leave political decisions up to the younger generations?

I'm guessing not and why should you?

Old folk have earned the right to make decisions on who will run the country and its future direction because they have seen and experienced life.

Older voters have seen it all before and through more knowing eyes. Albeit ones with glasses.

Besides which, elderly folk actually vote. And go to political meetings. And make an effort.

When the younger generations do the same then, maybe, they can be trusted to take over the reigns of decision-making.

Only by then they'll be the oldies and their children will be making the call to disenfranchise them.


- Richard Moore is an award-winning Western Bay journalist and photographer.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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