No Fancy Name
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
voter apathy and the young folks
On last night's local news, young folks (18-24) were weighing in on the upcoming election. "Weighing in" isn't really the was more like "I'm not going to vote. Why should I?" One young lady -- a recent high school graduate with a young kid, going to community college and working two jobs -- said "No politician knows what I go through on a daily basis. Why should I support one of them." I don't disagree with her that the presidential nominees have no idea of the trials and the tribulations of the lower economic classes working very hard to better themselves. But, and call me crazy, it seems to me that the way to correct this problem would be to become politically active. "Politically active" can mean so many different things, ranging from "I'm going to quit my job and go be Howard Dean's press secretary" (college friend of mine did that) to "Yes, I will cast a vote" (period). But simply doing nothing, in my opinion, is disgraceful. Don't we have a responsibility, as Americans, to exercise the right for which so many have died? What, exactly, is accomplished by simply not voting?

I have a friend who exemplifies "duty, honor, country", for whom "not voting" is just not an option. On election days, voting is the number one priority. You know that little "I voted!" sticker you get after voting? She wears it like the Medal of Honor, it's that important. It makes sense, though...I kid her that she's "American Royalty", being a direct descendent not only of several First Families, but Peregrine White himself, the first white child born in New England (1620, on the Mayflower as it was docked in the harbor), is her 8th-great-grandfather. When beginning to document her family history, it became easier for me to count the number of ancestors who didn't fight in the Revolutionary War, than those who did. The Civil War? Same thing, and this time it included the Irish side of her family, which had just landed in America a few years before (pesky Potato Famine). Flash forward to the World Wars -- whereas my ancestors joined up in order to gain their citizenship, the men in her family fought in every war that called them, because they were citizens. Her GG-grandfather was the US Minister to China in 1880, and in 1887, he was the US Minister to Turkey. Her G-grandfather was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of books such as The Foundations of American Constitutionalism and Steps in the Development of American Democracy. Like I said, "not voting" is not an option in her family.

I have no doubt that my friend will (continue to) raise her son with the sense of duty, honor, country that runs through her family. I just wish she could go beat some sense into the young folks who say "why should I vote?" (and who mean it).


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