An Open Letter to Young Voters

Look-I get it…

For you guys…. voting is soooo 2008.

Four whole years ago…a time when MySpace had more users than Twitter, two times as many Blackberrys were sold as iPhones, and The Learning Channel actually featured informative programming devoid of unsightly parents living vicariously through their small children.

Ah it seems like so long ago.

See, at this time in the 2008 election, 78% of registered voters ages 18-29 (that’s you-shout out!!) said they would "definitely" be voting come November-a promise that an estimated 22 million of you made good on. (The third highest turnout rate for young voters in the nation’s history!)

Unfortunately, this encouraging and uncharacteristic fulfillment of Civic Duty, was nothing more than a short lived "fad", as voter turnout among this demographic fell by 60% in the 2010 mid-term elections.

And now polls show only 58% of Young Americans say they will "definitely" vote come November---and I must say, with all that’s on your "to do list", I can’t blame ya. There’s bi-hourly Facebook status updates, uploading/posting pictures from "tHe CraZy wEEKend!! , the return of "The Voice", Fantasy Football, preparing for the new Twilight Movie, getting the new iPhone 5, young parents staging pictures with their children/adorable pets, finding new faux wide-rimmed glasses, and of course..Britney Spears on American Idol!@

But here’s the thing-

Fads by definition of course come and go, there’s always a new celebrity, a new gadget, a new gimmick which momentarily captures your insatiable and invariably unfaithful interest.

And this of course isn’t news to President Obama.

Back in 2008- Obama was the real "American Idol", a phenomenon which in terms of fan(atic)s, would dwarf Angry Birds, Skinny Jeans, and The Hunger Games combined.

Most of you guys probably weren’t privy to all of Obama’s positions, but those details didn’t matter---to you he was like nothing you’d ever seen, fresh, novel, historic, he spoke to you in a way you could understand, basically he was like Siri on the iPhone…before there was  Siri on the I-Phone.

Obama was asking this long before Siri

And then Barack Obama was elected President, and-like a video gone viral gone forgotten-think "Chocolate Rain"- quickly became yesterday’s news.

Only while your waning minds moved on to the next craze-say wearing scarves indoors- President Obama moved on to Governing, to working on fulfilling promises, to cleaning up after the Cataclysmic Shit Show known as "W".

That stimulus he pushed through-(with the help of exactly three Republicans in all of Congress)--it may of saved the job of your favorite teacher growing up, or of that Uncle Cop you’re always boasting to friends about ("Yea my uncle is a big deal at the station-it won’t matter if we get pulled over!!"). It may of gotten your older brother that Construction Job he needed to get back on his feet, or your Grandma a tax break which helped pay for medical bills.

Speaking of medical bills-how about the President fulfilling that whole Health Care Reform promise?

No longer does having a vagina constitute as a "Pre-existing condition". In fact-if you fall in the exlusive category of "being  a woman...or currently caring for/loving a woman"-than you SHOULD be happy to know that for 47 million women, the following preventive services are now covered at no cost:

  • Well-woman visits.
  • Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases.
  • Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling.
  • FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling.
  • Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.
  • HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older.
  • Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women.
  • HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women

Oh and by the way- your Insurance Company can no longer cap your benefits....so in other words they can't say "I know you're only 22...but you've attempted to treat your life threatening heart defect too many times-so thanks for trying, but you're on your own now.... and take care".

And one last tidbit--you can now stay on your parents' insurance until you're 26....Oh... the wicked tyrannical terror that is Obamacare.

Ok enough about historic Health Reform-- stop texting for a second and get this: some day, long long from now, you may be diagnosed with some form of Cancer--and ya know what? It may not be that big of a deal thanks to ongoing Stem Cell Research--research which could ultimately yield a cure. Yep, you can thank the former fad in the Oval Office for lifting the ban on such research.

Look, I know you’ve been busy with all these "with friend" games on your smart phones ---Words With Friends, Scramble with Friends, Hanging with Friends, etc., but you must of heard about the President’s Student Loan Reform right? Ya know-the one that capped the amount graduates must pay to 10% of their discretionary income? The one that forgives balances after 20 years? Oh…well, now you’ve heard about it.

You know that Gay friend/brother/sister/loved one you have? Or that future Gay son/daughter you may have? Or maybe that Gay Person you look in the mirror everyday? Well The President feels you-being anyone- should be able to marry the person you love--regardless of whether in addition to other commonalities-such as a mutal love for both the biscuits at Red Lobster and the Movie Shawshank Redemption, they just so happen to also have the same sexual reproductive organ as you.

And furthermore-in repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell-(and in the process fulfilling yet another campaign promise) the President (and to be fair-many Republicans in Congress ) made sure that Gays could serve the Country they love, regardless of who they love.

That said, there are currently no Gays fighting in the War in Iraq--or Heterosexuals for that matter.

Because the War in Iraq is over.

(And now you're thinking-"Yea now that you mention it-my buddy Pete who was in the war actually has been home for a while now...was wondering how that happened").

Oh, and I'm not sure how you feel about Osama Bin Laden, the guy who George Bush "didn't spend much time thinking about", the guy Mitt Romney said "wasn't worth moving heaven and hell to get", the guy who did this ...yea that guy. Well the guy you voted for to bring "Change"-changed Bin Laden's heart from beating to not beating.. ..so go ahead and put another checkmark in the "change" category.

Mitt Romney-File Photo

Look, I know not everything has gone the way you want it, the way you envisioned, the way you had "hoped"—after all, LeBron James won a title, the Arrested Development movie still isn’t out, and your new iPad keeps overheating!

But no-all kidding aside, many of you ARE hurting. You or a loved one may still be unemployed, staring at debt you cannot even calculate let alone imagine paying off. You’re disappointed, discouraged, and maybe worst of all-hopeless.

Rest assured however, many have dealt with such despair before, have seen a road ahead littered with seemingly insurmountable odds, full of powerful, well financed obstacles which make moving Forward seem impossible, and the thought of giving up seem probable.

The Women of the Suffrage movement, the African Americans of the Civil Rights Movement-they must have known such mental hardship, must have been tempted to become cynical, to give up hope, to give up the fight.

But they- united in vision, united in principle, stayed focused, they persevered, they demanded their voice be heard…and they demanded their vote count.

Despite all that stood in their respective ways, be it prevailing antiquated beliefs and "customs", "scientific studies which showed education hurt the female reproductive system", poll taxes and literacy tests which became fire hoses and dogs-all embodying the hate of the system they were used to protect- they fought on…they moved Forward.

And it paid off.

They knew change wouldn’t come easy

That it wouldn’t come overnight

That it doesn’t come from those who are short sighted, who are impatient, and who desire the end… but are unwilling to be the means.

They may have been without cell-phones....or social-media... or reality television, but what they did have was heart, was unshakable resolve, and they always kept their mind on the cause and "their eye on the prize":

"A more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America"

Their cause needs to be your cause.

It needs to be Our cause.

Let's keep moving Forward.

Vote

Be Good Friends,

@koolking83

Comments

Leave a comment
  • I agree with most of your policy observations, disagree with some.

    However, given the focus of your article, Obama was the first to run a social media campaign, but it seems like 4 years later, the gas has run out of that approach. Maybe like its stock, FB is a fad that's run its course.

  • In reply to jack:

    I don't think the facebook fad has run its course. From my observation, the two sides have become so heated and so anti- that friends are unwilling to talk about politics online for fear of losing friends.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack-

    Thanks for commenting friend...Not sure how large of a role FB played in 2008-I think it was certainly part of the youth/grassroots outreach, and I'm sure to a degree it still is (along w/-and to a larger degree-Twitter, and some other social media shit I don't even know exists). Frankly I just think young voters suffer from a collectively short attention span-as I think most Americans do. We're impatient, and simply are always ready to move on to the next "big thing". (which may be why FBs popularity is waning a bit). Thanks again Jack-hope to talk again.

  • Awesome.

  • In reply to Kim Z Dale:

    Thank you much Kim---just checked out your blog-really creative idea-love it! Totally dig the variety of topics-both in substance and tone- you've managed to cover already---I'll certainly be visiting from now on. Take care.

  • Right on!

    I made my never-voted-never-cared (30 yr. old) girlfriend sign up to vote, finally. I think it was the whole "One side thinks you can magically stop rape babies" argument.

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    Dan-what's up man-thanks for droppin in and commenting. I hope your girlfriend lives in Ohio? Seriously though it's encouraging to hear that!- Good work my friend!

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