Name: Kaiden B.

School: Sheridan High School

Age: 12th

October 15th, 2021

What does the US Constitution mean to me?

The Constitution is filled with many laws and rules that have changed how the United
States Government functions today. It consists of twenty-seven amendments that have been created at various times and added onto the Constitution. My life is personally affected by several of these amendments, and in my future I am sure to use even more amendments.

One of the amendments that I am going to be using very soon is the Twenty-fifth
Amendment that gives the right to vote to people of eighteen years or older. My eighteenth
birthday happened very recently and now that I am officially an adult, I get a lot more rights
when it comes to voting and politics. As a “kid” , really just meaning 17 and younger, I didn’t
really pay attention to politics a whole lot or what was going on. Even if I was paying attention to what was going on there wasn’t a whole lot that I would be able to do. Now that I have the ability to vote and voice my opinion, I will be keeping up with current news and politics. When voting season comes around I know that I have a choice of who I can vote for and actually make a difference. I am aware that my one vote is not going to change the whole outcome of the elections but many new voters that just turned 18 are all voicing their own opinions as well. If all of those new voters come together and vote, then that could possibly make a difference in the elections. According to an article, “We estimate that young people turned out at a higher rate in 2020 than in 2016, and their impact—especially youth of color's overwhelming support for Biden—was decisive in key races across the country.” (Tufts) showing just how much new voters can impact a race. Turning eighteen is a big part of your life and having the ability to vote adds even more importance to it.

Another amendment that is very important to my life and lifestyle is the Second
Amendment, the right to bear arms. Hunting is an annual tradition in my family and is taken very seriously. Obviously a big part of hunting is the object that you hunt with, which in most cases is a rifle or firearm of some sort. The Second Amendment gives citizens of the U.S. the ability to own a firearm in their house, and can vary from a hunting rifle, to a shotgun, or even a concealed carry. I personally own a nice hunting rifle and a 22 caliber rifle for smaller animals like gophers. My dad also builds guns to sell, as well as guides hunting trips for a living. If citizens weren’t allowed to own guns or “bear arms” then both of those businesses wouldn’t even be an option. I also know that my brother, who is very obsessed with hunting, would go crazy if people were not allowed to own guns.

Not only does this amendment affect my life but also affects many others. A lot of
businesses around this area in rural Montana are driven by hunting or guiding. My grandma and grandpa own an outfitting business in the Upper Ruby that is widely based around guiding elk hunters. Without guns or the ability to own guns there would be no hunting or guiding in order to make a living. This doesn’t affect me at the moment but in the future I plan on getting a concealed carry permit. This basically just allows me to carry a small handgun on my or in my car legally. I would mainly want this for basic protection and to have in case of emergency but it’s all thanks to the Constitution and giving us the right to have one. Guns and the use of guns are not always a good thing especially when they get into the hands of the wrong people, but for my purpose and in this area, they are a necessity.

The Sixteenth Amendment or the income tax amendment is also a big part of my life
especially as I get older. In the summers in between the school years I work with my grandpa
who owns his own plumbing company. I have worked there for several years now and have
learned a lot from that trade. The first year that I started working was when I was introduced to income tax. Obviously I wasn’t very happy about the money that was getting stolen from my paycheck but I also had no idea why they were doing it. Although I didn’t like it at the time, I now realize the importance of why the government takes out income taxes. Taxes pay for things like public schools, roads, sidewalks, etc. We also don’t have a sales tax in Montana and income tax makes up for that.

Not only do I pay income taxes, but anybody in the United States that makes any income
pays it. You are also able to get a refund at the end of the work year if you decide to file your
taxes. I personally don’t have all the complications of deductibles, assets, etc. but I’m sure in the future or the near future I will have to deal with all of that. If I had the option to decide whether I would pay income tax or not it would obviously be a no. It would be a selfish thing to do but I think most people would agree with me and do the same thing. The Constitution makes sure that everybody pays taxes and there are laws against not paying them. You can go to jail for many years if you commit tax fraud.

Not many of the amendments apply to me at the moment besides the few listed above,
but in my future I’m sure that most of them will. I know that my life would be very different if we didn’t have guns and my opinions are going to change now that I can vote. Knowing the
amendments is very important and how they affect your life. That is what the Constitution is to me.