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"I am not a prop. I am part of the new generation of suffragettes."
November 12, 2013 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Madison Kimrey is a rather exceptional 12-year-old girl whose speech protesting North Carolina's removal of a voting preregistration program for 16-and-17-year-olds has been making the rounds lately, thanks to Kimrey's intelligence and astonishing eloquence. Her blog, Functional Human Being, is similarly an engaging read, whether she's writing about Miley Cyrus, Daisy Coleman, or supporting the saner elements of the Republican party.
posted by Rory Marinich (35 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
She does indeed have an excellent media presence and comes off as likable. That said, her advice for "supporting the saner elements of the Republican party" boils down to "thank the moderates for not being so crazy, if you don't agree with them." People aren't polarizing the country, members of the Republican party have been doing so for longer than she's been alive.

Not that the Democrats are anything close to perfect, but the sheer stubborn insanity of the current Republican and the refusal of those within the party to go against said craziness is the issue. They don't need our support, they need to find their sanity or backbone.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:34 PM on November 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


Hurray for Madison! So nice to see thoughtful, young bloggers.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:35 PM on November 12, 2013


I fear a little less for the next generation now.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:36 PM on November 12, 2013


It does seem only logical that schools give students the opportunity to (pre)register to vote at an appropriate time in their high school US History/Civics classes. What good is it to spend a year studying our government and teaching the blessings of democracy if you don't wrap it up by telling students how to exercise the rights they've so long discussing? Obviously, it needs to be done in an intelligent way, where students who are ineligible voters aren't singled out and where political party choices can be made freely and privately, but these are all solvable.

Good for Madison for speaking up about this, but ultimately, the lawmakers who are shutting down preregistration are doing so because when young people vote, they tend to vote for other people. Convincing them to pass a law that works against their own reelection prospects is a tough sell.
posted by zachlipton at 1:39 PM on November 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


Republicans don't want to engage young people unless it's a cornholing contest designed to convince them they don't need healthcare.

That's what America is now; on one side, eloquent pleas for the tiniest bit of sanity and fairness from folks young and old; on the other, billions of dollars spent in a bizarro campaign to deny reality.
posted by emjaybee at 1:58 PM on November 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Just what I need somebody who wasn't born when I started blogging having a better blog than I ever did.

Seriously, though, she's awesome. The post linked "Miley Cyrus" is actually mostly about that woman who wrote about how girls shouldn't be such hussies on Facebook because it tempts her teenage sons. And it is awesome to see somebody that age respond.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:00 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


It will be interesting to see how her arguments develop as she gets older. I like a bunch of what she has to say, but until Republican office holders start vocally and strongly calling out their obstructionist, war-on-women waging, guns-at-all costs, anti-gay, faux-pious brethren (ie the majority) I'll figuratively spit on them. Only Republican (former) office holder I wouldn't stone on sight is Arne Carlson and the GOP kicked him out of the party for a few years
posted by edgeways at 2:09 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


This girl is a strong argument for lowering the voting age. Sadly, it doesn't seem like there are many like her.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:11 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


What an amazing kid. My gut says her comments section is probably heavily edited, to weed-out the tirades from the bullies that bright, thoughtful voices like hers seem to attract.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:15 PM on November 12, 2013


Yeah, I guess I'm a grumpy old fart but I can't get excited about this. I espoused some GREAT ideas when I was 12 and wasn't overcome with hormones and insecurity... it's easy to be sure and clear-minded when life looks black and white.

Also it's super easy to get all excited "oh yay her" when she voices our opinions back to us, but I dunno I'm not feeling it.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:21 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's profoundly depressing that being a suffragette (a feminist whose proximate goal is securing voting rights for women) is once again something that American women need to be.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:21 PM on November 12, 2013 [15 favorites]


Can't have young people (or minorities, or convicts, or renters, or women...) voting, because they might vote against entrenched interests!
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:22 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


From her Cyrus post:

I'm sure she set out to shock people and she succeeded. I don't see how she's much different than she was on Disney. Same message with a different outfit.

I really don't care one way or another about Cyrus or her antics, but that's the most intelligent thing I've heard on the subject.
posted by el io at 2:24 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


This girl is a strong argument for lowering the voting age. Sadly, it doesn't seem like there are many like her.

If the the ability for the "average person of a specific age" to be well-spoken or able to make a coherent argument was a requirement for voting age, we'd have to give up this whole democracy experiment because there wouldn't be a voter left.

//not being elitist as I'm not necessarily including myself in the well spoken/coherent argument camp
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:26 PM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've always wondered why high schools don't hand out voter registration cards to all members of the senior class, every year at whatever time mathematically makes sense to catch the most 18 year olds. I remember my high school getting everyone do to all sorts of becoming-a-grownup type things, for example registering for selective service.

It seems weird to me that schools should facilitate military recruitment but not voter registration.
posted by Sara C. at 2:29 PM on November 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


It seems weird to me that schools should facilitate military recruitment but not voter registration.

You're clearly a communist.
posted by dortmunder at 2:47 PM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I guess I'm a grumpy old fart but I can't get excited about this

She's demanding her right to participate in the democratic process, something you already have. Maybe when she's able to vote, she'll have the luxury of who-gives-a-shit cynicism, but at the moment she's part of a category of humanity that the Republican Party in her state deliberately set out to discourage and alienate as voters. You don't have to get excited about her, but perhaps you could manage to respect her circumstances a little.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:56 PM on November 12, 2013 [24 favorites]


The only risk I see to lowering the voting age is that it will be used as a reason to lower the age of drinking, military service, and sexual consent.
posted by FJT at 4:14 PM on November 12, 2013


She's demanding her right to participate in the democratic process,

It's a pretty big stretch to say that her right to vote is being threatened. When she turns 18, she will be allowed to vote. (Which might

But then I'm reactionary enough to dislike motor/voter itself. Were it up to me, every state and for every election would require something like Vermont's Freeman's Oath. I want it to be at least a little bit hard, I want it to require a little effort, I want people to put some reflection in the whole process. Motor/voter is a step backwards towards trivializing the whole process. I'd say too that the FairVote fact sheet is remarkably thin on substantive reasons why pre-registration is a good idea.

The only risk I see to lowering the voting age is that it will be used as a reason to lower the age of drinking, military service, and sexual consent.

Science suggests otherwise.

>I really don't care one way or another about Cyrus or her antics, but that's the most intelligent thing I've heard on the subject.

Even if I agreed with you, I'd have to say that she blows it all with the subsequent two lines: Only now that she's using sexuality to sell things, it's a problem for some people. Anyway, she's still very successful at what she's set out to do.

Back to my rocking chair. Or maybe a nap.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:36 PM on November 12, 2013


I've always wondered why high schools don't hand out voter registration cards to all members of the senior class, every year at whatever time mathematically makes sense to catch the most 18 year olds. I remember my high school getting everyone do to all sorts of becoming-a-grownup type things, for example registering for selective service.

It seems weird to me that schools should facilitate military recruitment but not voter registration.
posted by Sara C

The last boarding school I attended required voter registration (if one was old enough) to pass senior year American History/Government class. In many states (Wisconsin and Texas, for example), that is now impossible as students would not qualify as a local residents. We also had to attend the annual town meeting.
posted by Dreidl at 4:54 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


St. Peepsburg: "Also it's super easy to get all excited "oh yay her" when she voices our opinions back to us, but I dunno I'm not feeling it."

So, you're saying she's a prop for liberal groups...or perhaps that her opinions are not fully-formed...or that her argument is not thoughtfully reasoned? Because I'm not seeing any of that. I'm seeing a rational argument presented with conviction and supporting evidence.
posted by desuetude at 4:55 PM on November 12, 2013


It seems weird to me that schools should facilitate military recruitment but not voter registration.

My high school (in Fayetteville, NC, for what it's worth) did supposedly register students to vote. Except that my registration paperwork was "lost", and I found out when I went to the polls to vote for the first time.
posted by Coatlicue at 5:28 PM on November 12, 2013


I'm excited about what this kid is doing. I'm excited for a wave of informed, young, politically-conscious teenagers to begin to emerge and get involved in the democratic process, which involves much more than the act of voting.

I just hope it's not too late for the emerging young generations of this country to turn back the tide of deception and disparity that seems bent on destroying their home and future :(

We have to help them.

Anybody who decries young eloquent people trying to help create change and inform others is FIRED from America.
posted by fantodstic at 5:53 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anybody who decries young eloquent people trying to help create change and inform others is FIRED from America.

If only that was in the constitution. Those founding fathers missed a few things.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 7:15 PM on November 12, 2013


You don't have to get excited about her, but perhaps you could manage to respect her circumstances a little.

What circumstances? That she's twelve and lives in the US?

So, you're saying she's a prop for liberal groups...or perhaps that her opinions are not fully-formed...or that her argument is not thoughtfully reasoned?

I meant just what I said... I read her stuff and I'm just not feeling it. (it=infectious enthusiasm for her). Real change takes more than just writing a blog with some ideas I like. Good on her for participating in what she likes, but I'm just not swept up in the wave.

And what bugs me is lines like: This girl is a strong argument for lowering the voting age. Oh, ok so you like her opinions, let her vote? But when some kid says shit you don't like, then it's all damn who raises kids to believe stupid shit like that? If everybody votes, then EVERYBODY votes, that's a democracy.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:26 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Strong reminders that people under eighteen really can make put forth politically-conscious, well-reasoned arguments (and that people of Ms. Kimrey's age aren't still writing in crayon) and arguments against removing obstacles to the right to vote?! This post manages to combine two of my favorite things...
posted by FreelanceBureaucrat at 8:17 PM on November 12, 2013


I meant just what I said... I read her stuff and I'm just not feeling it. (it=infectious enthusiasm for her). Real change takes more than just writing a blog with some ideas I like. Good on her for participating in what she likes, but I'm just not swept up in the wave.


God, such a curmudgeon. How do you expect her to start her career, falling out of the womb with a fully-formed theory of change and a million bucks to spend?
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 8:31 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


St. Peepsburg: it's super easy to get all excited "oh yay her" when she voices our opinions back to us, but I dunno I'm not feeling it.

Your objection seems to be that she's (1) young, and (2) of the same opinion as people older than her. You don't seem to be allowing for the possibility that she arrived at her own conclusion on this, much like anyone else of voting age might have?

Real change takes more than just writing a blog with some ideas I like.

What more would you have her do? I'm sure she'd vote for pro-voting-rights legislators if, you know, she could...

Oh, ok so you like her opinions, let her vote? But when some kid says shit you don't like, then it's all damn who raises kids to believe stupid shit like that?

Who says that? I agree with your stance that "everyone votes" means "everyone votes." Using your opponent's age to dismiss their argument, regardless of its content, is a lazy ad hominem, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by FreelanceBureaucrat at 8:31 PM on November 12, 2013




I've always wondered why high schools don't hand out voter registration cards to all members of the senior class, every year at whatever time mathematically makes sense to catch the most 18 year olds


When I was 17 in high school the local voter registrar came to the school and allowed us to register. In fact, we were let out of class to do so.

Now, this was 21 years ago, but it still happens at my alma mater, why isn't it happening at every high school in the country? Voting is not just a right, but a responsibility as a citizen of the USA, your state, and the locality you live in.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:52 PM on November 12, 2013


Yay for her for blogging, though I wouldn't support lowering the voting age. For every articulate tween, there's another who'll vote for whoever promises to let them out of school half an hour early.
Then again, that may apply to older voters as well.
posted by corb at 6:42 AM on November 13, 2013


corb: the North Carolina initiative, from what I gathered, doesn't lower the voting age, it merely pre-registers late teens so they can vote as soon as they turn 18. Gives them more of a window to sign up to vote, in other words, without raising the voting age itself.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:49 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]



God, such a curmudgeon. How do you expect her to start her career, falling out of the womb with a fully-formed theory of change and a million bucks to spend?


Oh Yeah that's exactly what I think. Thanks for typing it out in such clear and not at all extreme and exaggerated views.


"Oh, ok so you like her opinions, let her vote? But when some kid says shit you don't like, then it's all damn who raises kids to believe stupid shit like that?"

Who says that? I agree with your stance that "everyone votes" means "everyone votes." Using your opponent's age to dismiss their argument, regardless of its content, is a lazy ad hominem, as far as I'm concerned.



Your objection seems to be that she's (1) young, and (2) of the same opinion as people older than her. You don't seem to be allowing for the possibility that she arrived at her own conclusion on this, much like anyone else of voting age might have?


No, what I'm saying is that everyone here is having a big me-fi party for her, but will similarly (or on other liberal-esque sites) jump on other teens who have different not-so-liberal opinions. That's what I don't like. We should encourage every young kid to try to influence the system, but in practice that's not what happens. If they share our opinions, great! Let 'em vote. If they don't then it's all "we need more birth control" or "wait till they're older" or "they're brainwashed by their parents" or what have you. I've seen it. It's gross and single-minded. It's a silo.

Yay for her for blogging, though I wouldn't support lowering the voting age. For every articulate tween, there's another who'll vote for whoever promises to let them out of school half an hour early.

^^ That's exactly the attitude I'm talking about. You either have a democracy, for better or for worse, or you don't.

I get that you're all excited for her. I went to her blog, I read a few points, and I just wasn't caught up. Normally I am very opinionated and easy to excite, I was pulled in & impressed by that (Egyptian?) boy who was video taped expressing very liberal views a few months back, but for some reason this girl isn't stirring me up. I can't put my finger on it. I want more information.

Did I mention I'm not American? Maybe this will stop the barrage of comments that are calling me a curmudgeon or cynical for expressing a differing view here. Yeeshe.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:15 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really, the only view you have expressed is that you don't care about this subject, and that view could have been expressed simply by not participating in the thread.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:40 AM on November 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


The only risk I see to lowering the voting age is that it will be used as a reason to lower the age of drinking, military service, and sexual consent.

And maybe losing the right to expect guardianship... The right to vote doesn't so much coincide with when you become smart and self-aware enough to make well-reasoned decisions, but with when you face responsibilities and social roles that will be affected by public policy.

There's some fuzziness from pre-voting age when you might start driving or have a cell phone or a part time job through post-voting age when you might still be subsidized by your family for a while, but as someone said above, we can't consider voting a right of people who are articulate enough to convince others their viewpoint is valid. Instead, it's whether you need a representative in government to advocate for you as a member of society.

Kids being politically prepared and ready to vote for years before they turn 18 is both a good thing, and nothing new. Kids who were nerdy on the humanities end of the spectrum have always had highly developed political views. (There weren't always blogs, but when I was young there was Children's Express...)
posted by mdn at 8:42 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


St. Peepsburg: "I read her stuff and I'm just not feeling it. (it=infectious enthusiasm for her). Real change takes more than just writing a blog with some ideas I like. Good on her for participating in what she likes, but I'm just not swept up in the wave."

She's not running for office or starting a fan club or running a membership drive. I don't understand what wave you're expecting to be swept into. The "wave" is just some people who agree that they are pleased to see a kid advocate for active participation in civil society and smartly remind her state government what "representative democracy" means.

If you aren't impressed with her public speaking ability, or don't find her scolding of the governor of North Carolina to be on point, or are not whatsoever invested in voting rights issues in the US, uh, that's fine.
posted by desuetude at 8:43 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


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