Watching the young people challenging Senator Dianne Feinstein on the New Green Deal legislation with the environmental group that brought them to the senator’s office, the issue of lowering the voting age comes to mind. A bill to lower the voting age to 17 in California, ACA 8, was introduced once again by Assemblyman Evan Low two weeks ago.

The argument for lowering the voting age is that young people should be inspired to participate in governing decisions in their formative years. Alternatively, questions are raised if youngsters are mature enough to vote.

The focus, however, should be on whether young people own enough responsibility in their lives before voting.

When the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 in 1971 a war was going on. There was no question that 18 year olds understood the responsibility and the price to be paid at age 18 when serving in the war, and they had a right to register their opinions at the polls.

In California, the law says you have to be 18 to own property, enter into legal contracts, even purchase a rifle or marry (you can marry under 18 but it requires parental consent and a court order.) With all those decisions comes responsibility.

In these cases, the law recognizes one has to reach a certain maturity to take on these responsibilities.

Yet, some legislators and advocates think young people have enough world vision and maturity to deal with voting when they are younger than 18. Certainly, some do, but then why the 18-year-old state law standard for so many major decisions?

Should all the other 18-year-old standards be lowered then? In fact, the legislature has decided young people need more time to mature before being allowed to make certain serious decisions such as buying a handgun or purchasing cigarettes. The permissible age in both cases is now 21.

If the legislature seriously considers lowering the voting age, we better improve high school civics. Civics education in schools is skimpy at best. When issues are discussed in schools  are students given both sides of the argument? It appears not.

The young people confronting Feinstein urged support for the Green New Deal focusing on the environmental aspect. They can have their opinion on the issue and have the right to express it and lobby the senator. Considering they were sponsored by an environmental group that isn’t a surprise. But are they aware of what else the Green New Deal includes? Have they examined or had experience with the ideas of guaranteed union jobs, for instance, universal health care, preventing monopolies?

Putting aside the stated reasons for lowering the voting age, the politics behind it are clear. Supportive Democrats believe the great majority of young voters will affirm their agenda. A lot of that agenda they hear about in schools.

Good for Feinstein in raising political reality with the young people. Feinstein tweeted after the meeting that she heard what the young people were saying. Let’s hope the young people heard what the senator was saying.