When making group decisions – including voting at the local and national levels – why not solicit input from the people to whom the future matters the most? From Washington, DC, Craig tells us about a group of students making the case for lowering the voting age.
This video has captions. To see them, click CC on the video screen.
Here’s what Craig says in the video
Hey, it’s Craig Freshley here, in Washington DC in front of the National Portrait Gallery. I attended a conference here: the National Conference on Citizenship, and I heard a group of high school students make a pretty compelling case to lower the voting age to 16.
They said that if you lower the voting age it will make young people much more aware of national issues and national politics. It’ll help them be educated. Good habits start young, so why not start a voting habit when people are teenagers?
It would bring politicians into the high schools to help high school students understand national issues – and by the way, they would also become educated on local issues because they’d be voting for town councilors and school board members.
I also heard some polling data that, if given the vote, 16- to 18-year-olds would likely vote in much higher proportions then any other age cohort. Look, whether we’re talking democratic elections or for any kind of group, you can’t go wrong with soliciting and encouraging all of the input available – especially from those to whom the future matters most, especially from those who most want to participate.
I hope this helps you help your group make good decisions.
Craig explains that even when choices are flawed, when it comes to a vote we should choose anyway. That’s what grown ups do. That’s what leaders do. If you refuse to participate just because you don’t like the choices, you have to live with the choices made by others.
Hi everybody. Hey it’s Craig Freshley here. Choices are never perfect. Decisions are always a package.
You know, if I’m trying to decide what restaurant to go to: “Oh I like that restaurant, but it’s so far away. I like that restaurant but it’s so expensive.” And what if I’m trying to like decide a house to buy? You know, “I like that house but the road is too busy that it’s on, and I like that house but the yard is too small.” And what about if I have to make a choice about a like a person, an employee, or a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a partner? You know, “I like that person but there’s this and that I don’t like and…..”
Look, with any choice that we ever have to make there’s always something not perfect about it. Every choice is a package. You know, if I choose that restaurant I get all the stuff that comes with that restaurant. It’s a package. Same with that house, same with that person. And when I have to make a decision with a group, this “package phenomena” grows exponentially. The bigger the group, the bigger the packages that decisions come in.
Have you ever seen a bill passed by the United States Congress? Oftentimes they start off on a simple one-topic but stuff gets “glommed on.” Compromises get made. And by the time the senator or representative finally has to vote on the bill, it is a huge package. But that is not an excuse for that senator or congressman to walk away.
If I’m the HR Director of a company and I have to hire somebody, I might have to make a choice between three people. Neither one of them is totally perfect in my eyes but that doesn’t mean I don’t choose.
Not choosing is actually childish behavior. The toddler is apt to say, “Because there are potatoes on my plate I’m not gonna eat anything.” The third-grader is apt to say, “Because we’re not going to play the game that I want to play, I’m going to take my ball and go home.” But grown-ups make decisions and they make decisions based on what they’re presented with, not on what they wish they were presented with.
I will fight like hell to make the package the way I want. If I’m part of the decision-making group I’m going to do everything I can to work with my colleagues to make the package as attractive as possible to me. But at the end of the day when I have to vote, I am willing to compromise. That’s what grown-ups do, that’s what leaders do.
We have an election coming up in this country. I don’t like everything about Hillary Clinton. I don’t like everything about Donald Trump. But just because neither one of these choices are perfect choices, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to vote. I’m going to be a grown-up. I’m going to be a leader. And I’m going to vote based on the packages in front of me, not based on what I wish was in front of me.
I’m asking you to be a grown up and be a leader whether you are voting in a general election or whether you are making a decision with a group of friends about where to go out to eat. Participate! Make decisions based on the packages that you’re presented with. That is a much better alternative than not participating at all.
Thanks for listening. I hope that you help your group make good decisions.
In principle, there are at least two ways to solve every problem. When we are able to be nonjudgmental, we are able to see problems not as problems at all but as misalignments. For example, the problem is not that I am right and you are wrong, it is simply that we see things differently. The …read more
In principle, a virtue of most decision-making systems such as Robert’s Rules of Order is that for a group to consider an idea, at least two members need to think it worthy of the full group’s time. A motion needs a second in order to be considered. Requiring that I get one other person bought into …read more