We’re having a two referendums here in Ireland next Friday. One is about gay marriage (and I’m very much in favour of that); the other is about amending The Constitution to reduce the age at which a person can stand for the Presidency of the country from thirty-five to twenty-one.
99.9% of the debate thus far has been about the gay marriage referendum and hardly anyone is talking about the age of eligibility to stand for the Presidency.
My initial reaction to reducing the age to 21 was that it was nonsensical because I felt that a twenty-one year old couldn’t possibly have the wit or wisdom required to be President. But then I started having second thoughts as I saw all sorts of great young sportsmen and women flashing across my radar and none more than Boris Becker when he took Wimbledon by storm aged 17.
And then Anne Frank crossed my mind ~ what an amazing girl ~ surely she’d have been fit to be a President at 21 years of age.
I think I was a bit of a flibbery-jibbet at 21 but then found myself being plunged into a very grown-up world at 22 when my boyfriend was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I ended up minding him at home ~ pretty much just me as that’s how he wanted it ~ for the ten weeks or so that he had remaining to him. It amazes me now that I actually rose to that challenge and managed as well as I did. I reckon that being President would have been a walk in the park compared to that situation and all sorts of tough circumstances that so many young people find themselves in.
So, I’ve swung from being a definite ‘NO’ voter to being a ‘YES’ on this one as well.
I doubt we’ll ever have a twenty-one year old President BUT maybe it’s time to stop seeing twenty-one year olds as being big toddlers?