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I get it. Up until I was in my late thirties, I could’ve given a shit about politics. As far as I was concerned all politicians were corrupt and could give a shit about me so it didn’t matter. I had my own life to live & taking the time to go to a polling place just to cast a useless ballot? I had far more important things to do.

It amazes me now when I think back on how certain I was of my position. Voting was a waste of time because I felt it didn’t make a difference.

So I understand. I’ve been your age. But I ask you for a few minutes to suspend this kind thinking and remember that you have not yet been mine. And only if you’re lucky will you get to be. For a few moments, I’m asking you to listen to your elder.

Far be it for me to try and lecture young people on what they should or shouldn’t do with their lives. Anyone who knew me then would agree that the fact that I survived that whole period is a miracle in and of itself. And in one piece, no doubt. So I’m not coming from any lofty place of knowledge to bestow upon you. I just want to share a few observations that changed my view over the years and helped me realize things that actually did matter for my life and, ultimately that of the lives of  my children, who fall within the age group I’m speaking to here.

I write this because time taught me that my previous views about voting were only partially informed and I’ll attempt to fill in the holes that I later realized that I missed.

First of all, I realized that when I was three years old, my parents couldn’t vote legally. There were all kinds of discriminatory Jim Crow laws designed to keep Black people from voting.  Black men and women took their lives in their hands if they dared to go to the polling place.

The obvious reason that some folks didn’t want Black people to vote is because they would vote for people who would pass legislation that would benefit them.

When I pondered why there was such an effort to keep certain people from the polling place, I had to concede that, in spite of the evidence that brought me to my indifferent stance, voting must matter. And the fact that I was actually born; on the planet while some of these things were still happening was a little jarring for me when my eyes opened. That was just the crack in the veneer of my strongly-held position on voting. Remembering the sacrifices of those who went before me. An interwoven mix of ancestors without whom I, or my friends, would exist.

When I looked a little deeper at the history of voting rights and the reasons behind all the turmoil, it was clear that, in spite of the obvious gamesmanship that is the body politic, a certain faction was consistent in their efforts to keep the portion of the population that would likely vote against them, from voting. Without delving into the pit of political party policies over the centuries I’ll just say that the group that consistently worked against voting rights for all American citizens often represented the interests of the rich, the White, and the male.

The Women’s Suffrage movement was fought over 100 years before women were allowed the vote in 1920. Pioneers like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Ida B. Wells, just to name a few, spent their lives and died still fighting for the cause for voting & civil rights. The violence inflicted upon citizens merely trying to exercise their democratic right to vote is an alarming reminder of the lengths some will go to in order to control the inalienable rights of others.

Why? I had to ask myself, why, if my vote didn’t matter would such powerful forces put so much effort into keeping me from doing it?

Now, at this point I had to reexamine the evidence I thought I had to support that voting didn’t matter. From my observations during the 1990s when I had this epiphany, both political parties seemed to be playing the same game. Do or say what you have to, to get the majority of people to vote for you. And once they got in they would do more of the same in order to get elected again. There were backroom deals & bodies buried and I wanted no parts of that. And that pretty much summed it up for me. Why then all the efforts to keep me from voting? If it really all was the same, why?

I mean, people died, actually gave their lives fighting for the right to vote. Fighting and dying so that we, their progeny, would have the right to vote. My own mother marched on Washington with Martin Luther King for the rights that, up to that point, had been denied her. As a Black woman, she was forbidden to vote and forbidden to live with rights equal to White citizens simply because she was a Black woman. I can only imagine this would be almost impossible to conceive of for someone of your age because you’ve never experienced it. Indeed, it's even hard for me to imagine.

Maybe you learned about James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman in school. And maybe not considering the state of our current educational system (due largely to the policies of the same guys who don’t want you to vote). These three young men, found by local Choctaw buried in an earthen dam, beaten & shot to death, were in Mississippi to register people to vote. I can’t imagine the horror that was felt by these young men as they realized they would die that night, the torture they endured at the hands of those who would deny them their lives, much less the right to vote. I thought about my own high school friends of all races and how that experience wouldn’t have been possible if the terrorists had their way. There would have been no college-level courses, camping trips, January project (where we worked in our chosen field for the month of January), cutting class with Ed Bangs, us all piling  into the VW van hanging out. None of that would have been my experience if those who would kill to suppress the vote, succeeded. It wouldn’t have been my experience or my children’s.

And even now, those same factions who perpetually fight for the rich, the White and the male, are trying to retract the gains made from these struggles, even in 2012. They are relentless and have spanned the centuries since before Lincoln emancipated the slaves. Extreme efforts made since 2000 to disenfranchise voters are listed at the end of this post.

Millions of people worked together across, race, class & cultural lines, willing to put themselves in harm’s way to make sure that every citizen had this right. If my vote really didn’t matter then there wouldn’t be this continuing battle. The more I thought about it, the more I felt like I was spitting in their faces with my blatant & misinformed disregard. The struggles of my predecessors & their great triumphs really did matter. Me, sitting their complaining about a corrupt government, citing evidence, ignoring the gains that had been made on my behalf. I could go anywhere, eat anywhere, register for any school, and shop at any store, among many other things that I was completely taking for granted. Things could’ve been very different for me. It is the right to vote that got people into office who would make these things so. Otherwise, would I even be allowed to write this? Would any of us be able to freely express our opinions if a certain faction had their way? I’m not so sure.

So, yeah, all the politicians are playing a similar game. They have to. I think about the new lawyers, police officers, fresh politicians who jump into the game excited and ready to change things but soon realize that there are rules. You either play or get out. But the really talented ones work the rules to their advantage and ultimately fulfill their goals of helping others.

There are clear differences in vision for the country between the two parties and this year they’re particularly stark.

It’s almost funny (except that it’s so important) the way pundits & people think they can dissect how a President should do things. Of course, reasonable and vigorous debate are vital to holding leaders’ feet to the fire but parsing and opinionating as if one could know what they’re talking about or understand the intricacies of governing the nation looking from outside the Oval Office, is kind of ridiculous, particularly when pundits are taken so seriously. In spite of what any of us think we know, unless we’re the President, we can’t possibly know.

So, ya know, maybe the Mayans were right and we won’t be here after December 21, 2012. Maybe the aliens will land and take us with them or destroy us. Or maybe the Rapture will take up the believers and leave the rest of us here in a hellish, Mad Max world where voting really won’t matter. Maybe Occupy Wall Street will hit critical mass and the people will overtake corrupt governments and we can start this shit all over again.

Or maybe none of that will happen. Maybe we’ll still be here on December 22, 2012, in a country that needs us to continue to fulfill its dream … a dream that is the hope for many all around the globe. An interactive, living dream in which many great people have given everything to give their all. I ask you as you -- sitting in your comfy room, a home with heat & air … running water, no bombs exploding outside, using your iPad, listening to your iPod, planning whatever it is you get to choose to do next – while you get to complain about how my generation fucked things up (and I wouldn’t completely disagree) think about James, Michael, and Andrew & the millions of others who fought & died for this right to vote … that doesn’t matter. What reason would you give them for not interrupting your relatively cushy life just to go and cast a ballot? You don’t like the candidates? It makes no difference?

Really? Hmm. I’ve heard this generation called the most selfish one of all but I’ve always seen promise and vision. A desire to come together as one and the smarts to make it happen. That’s been my experience of Gen Y. You may think there’s no difference between the parties and that your vote doesn’t matter but I’m here to tell you, there is a difference and it does matter.

Considering the concerted efforts of Republicans to suppress citizens’ right to vote, I’d say they think it matters too. And they’re blatantly, in our faces, passing legislation that goes against the Constitution, amounting to a poll tax for citizens to vote. You can say that corrupt practices continue, unjust wars & policies but no one person can change the rules of the games.

There’s no doubt that your future will be vastly different depending upon which candidate is elected on November 6. You don’t have to believe me. Just google back almost 4 years ago when our country was dangling off a cliff and threatening to take the rest of the world’s economy with it. Specifically due to the policies that Republicans are salivating to implement again. Add to those the suppression of women’s health rights, gutting education & probably war in Iran.

In my view, President Obama and the Democrats offer a better direction for the country

Whether or not you agree with policies is not necessarily the issue. There’s a bigger picture, a larger narrative that informs our present day. That is the point I want you to consider. I’m asking you to stretch your young, cynical minds and think about the greater possibility. A possibility beyond your lofty dreams and grounded in the reality you’re a part of today.

You can vote. Or don’t vote. You have that choice. But remember that you have that choice because people who lived before you chose to fight for it. Maybe it was your grandma or her neighbor, who was on the crappy end of the stick before people came together and won some very important battles. For sure, there was someone. Many, many someones who would tell you today that your one vote does matter. I think they would probably tell you that it matters a lot.

Efforts by Republicans to Suppress the Vote since 2000

2000: Republican-directed disenfranchisement of Blacks in Florida.

Prior to the election of 2000, Jeb Bush the Republican Governor of Florida — and brother of Presidential candidate George Bush — hires a private company long associated with the Republican party to “purge” the Florida voting rolls of “ineligible” voters. Along with voters who really are ineligible, tens of thousands of legally registered Black voters are illegally stripped from the rolls. When they arrive at the polls on election day, they are told they cannot vote.

This denial of voting rights to African-American voters in Florida is the direct cause of George Bush’s supposed 537 vote “victory” in that state. It is this phony “win” (plus the votes of the 5 Republican appointees on the Supreme Court) that makes him President, even though Gore receives 500,000 more votes nation-wide than Bush.

According to the report issued by the U.S. Commission on Civil rights:

 Widespread voter disenfranchisement — not the dead-heat contest — was the extraordinary feature in the Florida election.

 Violations of the Voting Rights Act occurred in Florida and there was widespread denial of voting rights.

 Black voters were nearly 10 times more likely than non-Black voters to have their ballots rejected.

 The state’s highest officials responsible for ensuring fairness in the election failed to fulfill their responsibilities and were subsequently unwilling to take responsibility.

Had tens of thousands of Black voters not been illegally denied their right to vote, Democratic candidate Al Gore would certainly have carried the state by a comfortable margin — and he would have been President.

Today: Voting rights and the criminal justice system

1.4 million Black men (13% of adult African-American males) are denied the right to vote because they served time in prison. In 5 states (including Florida) more than one-in-four adult male African-Americans are disenfranchised. Latinos and Native-Americans are similarly affected.

From 1980 to 2000 the number of prisoners in the U.S. increased by more than 300% (while total population increased by only 24%). At the present rate of incarceration, the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 6.6% of Americans born in 2001 will spend time in prison. This is the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Despite having served their sentences and paid their penalties, many states disenfranchise ex-prisoners after their release:

14 states disenfranchise former inmates for life.
32 states disenfranchise former inmates while on parole.
29 states disenfranchise former inmates on probation.

Today: Voter Suppression

Beginning with the bitterly-contested Presidential election of 2000, political parties are increasingly devoting energy and money towards “suppressing” the turnout of demographic groups who traditionally favor the other side. The Republican Party is particularly active in targeting naturalized immigrant citizens, Blacks, Latinos, and those seniors who traditionally vote Democratic. Suppression tactics include both legal ploys and outright deceit. Some examples include:

    Voter ID laws. In a number of states, Republicans have passed laws requiring voters to show a photo-ID before they can cast their ballots. These laws discourage voting by the elderly and poor who are less likely to own a car and are thus less likely to posses a valid drivers license or other form of photo ID.

    Targeted voter purges. In Georgia and other states, minority, immigrant, and college-student voters have been disproportionately “purged” from the rolls on various pretexts.

    Deceit. Political “dirty tricks” are increasingly being used by both parties to suppress voter turnout of those who tend to favor the other side. Examples include false notification that polling places have been changed, directing voters to phony email or web addresses where they can supposedly vote online, conducting voter-registration drives and then failing to turn in those forms where a voter registered for the opposing party, mass-mailings of counterfeit absentee ballots with false return addresses, and so on.

Tomorrow: The fight to have our votes count.

In the 19th and 20th Centuries we fought to expand the right to vote. The voting rights struggle of the 21st Century will be to have our votes count. Not the right to have our votes counted — though as we saw in Florida in 2000, that too may be a crucial issue — but rather the right to have our votes mean something.

    The best democracy that money can buy. In the so-called Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Republican-appointed 5-vote conservative majority on the Supreme Court decreed in 2010 that secret unlimited corporate funding for political ads is a form of Constitutionally protected “free speech.” This decision dramatically shifts electoral influence away from individual voters by allowing wealthy individuals and corporations to covertly buy the election results they want with a flood of cash. At the same time, super-sized corporate campaign contributions given directly to candidates have become a legally-sanctioned form of outright bribery.

    Un-elected global government. As more and more of us have won the right to vote, the power to make critical decisions has been moved out of the hands of elected local, state, and federal officials and into the grasp of un-elected global commissioners appointed and controlled by multi-national corporations. More and more, the vital decisions that affect our lives — decisions on the economy, trade, jobs, environment, worker-safety, privacy, communication, and so much more — are being made by world “trade” organizations such as the WTO, GATT, NAFTA, TRIPS, FTAA, and so on, who debate the issues that affect our lives in secret and issue decrees that cannot be appealed or amended. And their decisions over-ride those made by our elected officials at all levels.

~ Veterans of the Civil Right movement

Originally posted to Katrina Taylor on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 07:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bravo !!! Standing Ovation !! Well done !!! (13+ / 0-)

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 07:27:32 PM PDT

    •  Ditto - extremely well done ... (5+ / 0-)

      but it's hard to get young people to care.  I've talked with my son's friends (he's 19) and, for one, they don't "get it" mainly because they feel both sides are totally full of shit and the young ones tend to be influenced by ads (negative and positive), and most just don't take the time to get to the heart of issues. Their interest, to the extent they have any, is superficial.  

      They also don't appreciate (yet) the struggles that our forefathers and sisters went thru to get us the right and ability to vote.  Maybe if their access is blocked and their ability to vote made harder, they will understand. For many of them, voting is still a very impersonal thing.

      I'm also finding a lot of the kids are still heavily influenced by their parents' views (and religion, where applicable). They believe that the Republicans are the party of God, and for many of them, that's where their political beliefs (such that they  have any) begin and end.

      I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, because I really did enjoy the diary, but given my son's age (he's voting for the first time this Nov.), and the conversations I see them having on his FB page (he posted the night of the debate and the thread reached well over 100 comments, which were ... interesting, if that's an appropriate word), but which were by and large based on uninformed, low information, superficial opinions and many of which simply repeated Fox talking points de jour.

      I didn't vote till I was 30 (Clinton, 1992), and I didn't have the internet to help me and had to rely on "journalism" (news, print & otherwise) to get most of my info.  They have so many tools at their disposal to aid them in getting information, and while some do, I find (in my limited experience with my son and his friends, many of whom are old enough to now vote) that they either won't vote or, like many of their parents, will vote against themselves because they just haven't learned to think for themselves yet and use the resources they have to get information beyond what they see on the teevee or read in a headline on Yahoo! or whatever gaming site they frequent on the intertoobz.

      It's unfortunate that they don't understand how much today's politics will affect their futures.  This election, in particular (IMHO), is truly pivotal to all of our futures, but particularly theirs as they reach my age (50).

      PS., I'm in So. Fla.

      •  Here's my take on that (10+ / 0-)

        If I run into any young voters that don't care, think both parties are the same, here's what I'll tell them - that was me 15 years ago.  

        I was thrilled to vote for Clinton in '92.  It was my first election after turning 18.  By '96, I figured both parties are the same, everyone's corrupt, my vote didn't matter.  I voted for Clinton that year but not very enthusiastically.  Whatever.  Didn't make a difference.

        What happened?  George W. Bush happened.

        We got into two wars.  Gas prices and oil company prices spiked thanks to having friends of the oil industry in the White House.  Our surplus evaporated and turned into a huge debt after two massive tax cuts that didn't create any jobs.  Now the Republicans are screaming we need to cut vital services and stop investing in America because of budget deficits - deficits that were completely avoidable.  12 years ago the country was paying down the national debt.  Now?  Cut PBS, don't pay for infrastructure, gut education, on and on, just so they can push through ANOTHER tax cut.

        Both parties are NOT the same.

        •  Oh, I do the same thing, and for the girls... (5+ / 0-)

          who say they're all the same, I ask them how important their birth control is to them, and if they got pregnant, would they at least want the ability to terminate (regardless of their religious beliefs), and how about earning $.23 per dollar less than a man - they okay with that (and point out that every.single.Republican voted against Lilly Ledbetter)? Because those are just some of the issues that separate the "they're all the same" parties.  

          For the boys, it's a bit more of a challenge to point out issues specifically important to them, but I remind them that if Rmoney starts yet another war, and they don't have enough volunteers, that the Republicans would absolutely try and bring back the draft (that's usually a strong point that hits home).  And ask what they are going to major in (or are majoring in) and do they know whether they'll be able to get a job in this country, since Rmoney is a huge proponent of off-shoring, and that he's also a huge proponent of hiring only part-time employees so that the employer doesn't have to pay bennies.  Oh, and how he loves big oil and their subsidies, despite the record breaking profit oil companies are making ...

          I tell them what I tell the girls - look at voting records. It's so easy to do. Then you KNOW who's on your side and who votes which way on issues that are directly going to affect every aspect of your lives, now and in the future...

          I also remind them that the Republicans would really like to regulate the shit out of the internet and porn.  They don't like that, at all ...

          I have to pick and choose the issues I emphasize - know your audience and all that... what kids don't realize (yet) is that it matters, and the differences are black and white (no pun intended)

          •  Kids, Hell. I know some adults who think (4+ / 0-)

            all politicians are the same- even ones that lived through the civil rights events of the 60s and 70s. They have a disconnect.

            And they don't want to know. They don't want to complicate their lives with political knowledge, so they find ways to rationalize abstaining from participation. They digest only the soundbites and believe only what serves their personal needs, desires and prejudices. They "join" a political party like they pick a sports team. Some want to be on the winning side. Some go by the looks of a candidate. These are the ones most susceptible to propaganda and "spin". Once they've decided what party they're for, they will not believe anything negative about it and will embrace the party no matter if its policies decimate their own lives.

            Ignorance. And when their party screws them over, even though they should know better, they believe it's the fault of the other team, because their side is the good guys and could not ever do anything wrong.

            "And when I became a man, I set aside childish things." If only that were true of attitudes when it came to politics.

            I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

            by Gentle Giant on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 12:09:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

      I appreciate your kind words. It's important to support one another  wherever we can.

      Thanks again.

  •  Wow! Every young person should read your diary (4+ / 0-)

    before they decide not to vote on election day.

  •  The problem with "open letters" (7+ / 0-)

    is that they are never published where the intended recipients might read them.

  •  They will dissapoint... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They won't show up. And sadly, we're counting on them. They'd rather wait in line for cell phones, not to vote.

    •  Not these kids: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      asym, ozsea1, Jakkalbessie

      (Don't) Steal My Stickers bumpersticker 4 Blues in a Red zone

      by jan4insight on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 08:21:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My two are voting! Older one is also (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassandracarolina, asym, ozsea1

      volunteering for Chris Murphy against sleaze peddler Linda McMahon in Connecticut, even though his former love of fake wrestling helped make her fortune.

      Younger one is a student in New Orleans and registered to vote in 2010 for her first election after she turned 18. She found it surprisingly easy to register in Louisiana given the Red States' bad rep when it comes to voting rights. She called us from the voting booth to ask, "Is the last name of the person I'm voting against spelled C-A-O?"

    •  They (or their older brothers, sisters, friends) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      fought incredibly hard in 2008. I worked on the campaign in 4 different states over a four month period and I was astounded by the percentage of manpower was provided by people in their teens and twenties.

      Had the President taken to the bully pulpit to press for stimulus on their part, they might have more enthusiasm. Unfortunately, that wave of people was ignored, like so many others outside the center, and many, I fear are lost for some time, if not forever. Many have no doubt come to believe that the only solution is through direct action, not electoral politics at all.

      Purging predominantly minority voters and requiring them to present IDs to vote in the face of VIRTUALLY NON-EXISTENT VOTER FRAUD is RACISM! I hereby declare all consenting Republicans RACISTS until they stand up and object to these practices!

      by Words In Action on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 09:15:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't understand (5+ / 0-)

    why this diary isn't getting more notice.

    Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

    by JamieG from Md on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 10:56:28 PM PDT

    •  Because, although well intentioned and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JamieG from Md

      essentially correct ...

      It's long, didactic, and unpersuasive.

      From a "Kid's" point of view ... it quickly becomes the sound effect that Charlie Brown TV specials use to represent the voices of adults -- a sonorous drone suggesting rather than conveying, meaning.

      I mean, I don't DISagree with a word of it ...  but if I didn't already care -- why would reading this make me ?

      By appealing to racial solidarity ?

      Does that work on "youngins"?

      I don't know.  I know my generation of (white) teens called ourselves "Kids" ... but didn't much like it when adults used the word -- though we hated the term "teens" even more.  

      Does this this generation of (black) teens appreciate being called "youngins" ?   Are they OK with their elders using the word ?

      Because if they don't ... they didn't read past the headline.

  •  Too much hand wringing over the first debate :) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  very nice diary sofar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I just woke up so I havent had time to read it all, but the parts I did were nice. Once the sun light stops shining directly at my face, I intend to read the rest.

    Around here I have problems dragging my friends to the voting booth because we're solid red. I point out "We're solid red nationally. The city is  quite blue. Lets keep it that way, yeah?"

    Of course, half of it is because they know how irritating I will get if they say no :P "Extremely irritating."

    Then you came out all of a sudden and said, "You're Prism Indigo!" but I don't get it...

    by kamrom on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 06:17:24 AM PDT

  •  I don't understand. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the fan man

    The people who don't give a shit about politics (to paraphrase the beginning of this diary) won't read this diary.

  •  I commend you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kpardue, ozsea1

    for taking the time to write this diary.  I commend you for putting in the effort to pull of your thoughts together coherently and I commend you for reminding me why I will be voting on election day (not that I had forgotten or planned to do otherwise).

  •  I'm encountering a lot of "Democrats are (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, a2nite, Words In Action, ozsea1

    as bad as..." A portion will stay at home and that will hurt us.

    Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

    by the fan man on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 06:50:33 AM PDT

  •  It might be a good idea to cut (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the fan man, Check077, progressivist

    this piece down a little. People who don't vote don't read either, so make it easy for them.

    And readers, put this in your e mail and send it to all the young people you know who don't plan to vote.

    In fact, send it to all the old people you know who don't vote.

    There are plenty of those out there as well.

    •  Not entirely true. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There were plenty of people who have been turned off by electoral politics as recently as the past four years, many of them young people who comprised and enormous flank of the 2008 election campaign for Obama. Some of these turned to Occupy. Some of these people are not only disenchanted for 2012 but have doubts about the whole electoral system as a method of addressing our most pressing problems (e.g., Climate Change). And many of these people read.

      That having been said, I agree that less would be more in the case of this diary.

      Purging predominantly minority voters and requiring them to present IDs to vote in the face of VIRTUALLY NON-EXISTENT VOTER FRAUD is RACISM! I hereby declare all consenting Republicans RACISTS until they stand up and object to these practices!

      by Words In Action on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 09:20:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You lost the youngins at paragraph 3 (4+ / 0-)

    Too long.
    Oh well.  Nice try.

    Try this.  

    Open letter to the youngins.
    You need to vote, and vote for President Obama or face the facts.
    Climate change will get worse, and you can blame yourself for not voting for the person who has stated "Climate change is real, and we need to deal with it now" ( Obama)
    Mitt Romney not only wants to continue our war in Afghanistan, but he is interested in having our military involved in at least two more wars, starting December 1st.
    If you want less war, you need to vote for Obama.
    Abortion will be 99% illegal in the United States if Mitt Romney is elected President.  You need to get out and vote for President Obama, or face the facts, that something that was legal, and obtainable will be gone.  
    You and your lover will have to fly out of the country if you choose to get an abortion.  

    You need to vote.  It's a big deal.

    " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 07:18:43 AM PDT

    •  You lost them at paragraph 1 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      Obama can mouth about climate change all he wants, and he is more disposed to sending some scrap to alternative energy, but approval of XL, deference to BP and increased drilling/fracking show his actions to not follow his words.

      Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
      Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

      by The Dead Man on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 08:40:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One camp is burying coal, the other wants to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        increase its use. Both camps want fracking, one will set environmental standards. Only one camp will send new Scalia conservatives to the Supreme Court.

        Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

        by the fan man on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 08:44:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  STOP STOP STOP being a one issue voter! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Can't you see the differences between the candidates?  Don't you realize Supreme Court justices live almost forever?

        Look past your nose, maybe hold it, and get the hell out there for the president, who is way more than half decent despite his faults.

        Ralph Nader isn't on the ballot, you know..

        Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

        by triplepoint on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 10:29:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  BHO has been a disappointment to weep over (0+ / 0-)

      But R-money is a clear and present danger.  And the legislators and lobbyists riding his coat tails are ever so much worse

      As the late great Kingfish Huey Long is supposed to have said:  "A Democrat may hurt you some, but a Republican will kill you dead"

      If this administration has accomplished little that is good ... a Romney administration promises nothing but what is BAD.

      The harm that a Romney/Koch administration would do could last 30 years -- half a lifetime.

      Well, "Younkins" have half a lifetime in which to correct their youthful mistakes.


  •  Shorter version for the ADD crowd (5+ / 0-)

    Vote for the people with the D by their name.  Anyone else doesn't give a sh*t about you.  You may not like everyone with a D by their name, but you can rest assured that the people with the R by their name think that you are not worthy of their "beautiful minds" (as Barbara Bush would say).  

    “Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.” -Voltaire

    by Coast2Coast on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 07:50:25 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for this marvelous diary. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Vote with your eyes open. You ain't voting for (3+ / 0-)

    superman, or jesus, or ahura mazda... you're voting for a corrupt, flawed human being that will listen to the wealthy and powerful before hearing from you.  

    You've got choices: bad, worse and third party.  

    Educate yourself -- and not from corporate media.  Use your critical thinking skills to sift through the heavy loads of bullshit.

    Sometimes it's worth voting against an asshole to savor crushing their dreams of hurting people.

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 08:45:00 AM PDT

  •  This Ad Is So Sickening Just Watching Old White (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, ozsea1

    guys sitting around complaining about all their whoas and troubles and summarizing their "knowledge" from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

    These supposed "small business men" still don't realize how they are being used as patsys for the Republican Party.

    Counter them with your vote.

    The Republican Party is Simply a Coalition of Greed and Hate

    by kerplunk on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 09:01:58 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this. Please make sure (0+ / 0-)

    You wrote what you mean:

    An interwoven mix of ancestors without whom I, or my friends, would exist.
    I think you mean "would NOT exist."

    "I'm grateful for my job - truly, but still...ugh." CityLightsLover

    by Audri on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 09:59:49 AM PDT

  •  I understand and relate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think most young people think and say the same things regardless of which generation they are a part of.  I know I only started caring and voting once I was in my late 20s or when I turned 30 even.   And my parents were hardcore voters, despite not being particularly political.  THey kept telling me about the importance of voting and, "if you don't vote you can't complain."   But none of it sank in and the reasons for me then are likely no different than reasons for kids now.

    For the average young person there are two political choices right now.  The big pro-rich, pro-corporate party and the less big pro-rich, pro-corporate party who will throw a few crumbs to the left from time to time.   There is no political party that represents the beliefs, values and thoughts of the youth demographic.  There just isn't.   ANd since most youth don't have much money, they simply can't get the parties attention the way lobby groups or industry can.  

    I think the youth showed up last election in favor of Obama.  I think Obama had record youth turnout.  And look what happened.  Much of his more liberal promises turned out to be pandering as he stocked his advisors and cabinet with more of the same people who created youth disenfranchisement to begin with.

    I don't think saying, "more war and more debt" or whatever will help either because, again, neither party has a stellar record and neither has

    Unfortunately, until the youth demographic is able to start pumping millions nationally toward some sort of lobby group, they just won't ever see that their vote matters because it doesn't.   They are looked down upon as being too "far left" or "fringe".  They are the group Obama debased as being out of touch with the political realities.  And I think that is why so many continue to stay away or have joined the Occupy movement...and movement that has yet to figure out whether or not they should care about elections at all.  Again, because they don't see either party willing to make the changes needed to truly bring the country around.

  •  The colloquialism is "young'uns" derived from (0+ / 0-)

    "young ones".

    ..most profound moments of my life...the last few -- And, for Global COOLING, if it's man-made and doesn't move, paint it WHITE!

    by tristan57 on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 10:48:36 AM PDT

  •  I'm voting for Johnson (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But Democrat for state and local races.

    Why not for Obama too? I'm not going to vote for someone who wants to put me in jail. End of story.

    •  then you're voting for a Republican (0+ / 0-)

      Johnson couldn't make it as a Republican nominee for 2012 so he changed parties.  that differs to me than someone who was solidly Libertarian, though they aren't much better than Republicans.  changing your clothing to another party on the fly just seems to be self-serving.

      I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

      by blue drop on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 12:21:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  depends (0+ / 0-)

        in a solid blue state, a 3rd party vote for POTUS ain't the end of the world.

        Thom Hartmann did it in Vermont in 1992 and said so on his radio talkshow.

        In any other state, madness, of course.

        The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

        by ozsea1 on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 01:35:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i guess that it one way of giving more voice... (0+ / 0-)

          to third parties and it is safe to play that strategy.  it doesn't sound like the vote for Johnson is a strategic play.  more like being miffed.

          the vote for Johnson could be a good thing if it is taking Republican votes away from Romney.  but again, the contributor doesn't fall into that category.

          if one's mindset is Libertarian, then by all means, vote for a Libertarian and not just a Republican who shed his clothing for the convenience of an election.

          I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

          by blue drop on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 01:56:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Johndon won't put you in jail.... (0+ / 0-)

      because he won't win.   Since the president has been in office close to four years and you're not in jail what's your point?  However, these crazy republicans WILL put you in jail if you don't vote Obama.

  •  I don't prescribe to "kids these days...". (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Most of the youth I meet are knowledgable, probably morese than their parents. Most care about other people. Most won't miss the opportunity to vote.

    Perhaps my experience is unique. I just don't see my sons and their contemporaries as being as self-absorbed or disaffected as their predecessors.

    I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

    by Gentle Giant on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 12:15:36 PM PDT

  •  I've been voting in presidential races (0+ / 0-)

    (including primaries) since I was 18, but I didn't start paying attention to down-ballot races until I got married and bought a house.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 02:50:19 PM PDT

    •  Me too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I registered to vote at 18 and voted for the first time President Jimmy Carter.  2008 and 2010 was the first time I campaigned, gave money, knocked on doors and truly participated thanks to President Obama.  He will win if Democrats get out and vote.

      •  I sadly admit (0+ / 0-)

        that my first vote was for Ronald Reagan in the 1976 North Carolina Republican primary. I was a Young Republican back in those days. I got better.

        Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

        by milkbone on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 07:36:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sadly, I know quite a few "youngins" (0+ / 0-)

    who vote with enthusiasm in '08, and aren't now.  Maybe it was because they were on a college campus and got incited and excited to vote.  Now I'm told they just don't care.  It's upsetting me.

    I applaud your wonderful diary and all your advice.  I'm sharing this with someone who just might share it with those individuals I was told aren't voting.

    I do worry about all voters, many mercurial who are comme ci comme sa.  Time to get off their duffs and actually act like citizens by voting!

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 04:47:12 PM PDT

  •  Wow ... (0+ / 0-)

    I had no idea there were so many responses on here.

    First of all, let me thank everyone who took the time to respond. Judging from the comments, this thread seems to be a pretty good representation of the electorate.

    To those who still thinks all politicians are the same & either Mitt Rmoney or President Obama will take us in the same direction, I suggest you read the diary again. Or, as I say in the diary, google back 4 years and remember ... Republicans create debt & war, Democrats typically wind up turning that around. Unless, of course, they're left with the worse economic disaster since the 1930s. And a dysfunctional Congress. That's just facts & they do matter.

    Yes, I wrote this diary hoping to nudge some disinclined people to vote. In my opinion, it matters greatly and I wrote this in an effort to share my personal journey thru doubt into understanding. Anyone who considers the sacrifices of our ancestors futile ... well ... what can I say?

    I wrote what I had to say, regardless of the length. That's why it's a diary. I get to say what I like. Anyone with internet has that option. If reading a few paragraphs has become too much work then we've fallen much further behind than our hard-working ancestors could've possibly imagined.

    But I don't really believe that's representative of the majority of Americans. I feel that most of us still carry the "can do" spirit and find the nattering nabobs of negativity a bit annoying. I mean, it's easy to sit on the sidelines hurling reasons why not but it takes true character to use that energy to simply show up & make something happen.

    It's all a choice, in my opinion. What we choose, by our thoughts, words & deeds, we often get.

    Thanks again, everyone. I hope you will pass this diary on to any and all you think can benefit.

  •  Id wager to say that the younger generation (0+ / 0-)

    is more politically active, more in-tune than the older generations.

    The proof for me is younger voters breaking hardcore for the democrats.

    The problem with the youth vote, is just the voting part.... Its not easy when your on the move with a busy life.

    For This will be my 3rd. My first voting in person. My first in this city I'm more politically active than most but this has and will be a pain. Just some of the questions ive had to ask my self are.

    Where is my polling station?
    What time does the polling station open?
    Will there be a line?
    If so will I be late to work?
    What paper work do I have to fill out to vote?
    What area am I supposed to vote in?
    What time of day is it easiest to vote?
    Is this my temporary address or my home address?
    I just moved here from out of sate am I a resident here or back where I used to live?

    I imagine after a few years living in the same area these questions get easier.

    However when its very unlikely that a 18-30 year old will live in the same location for more than 2 years this is a major pain in the ass.

    As such, the system is biased towards those who are elderlyish and have time to deal with the whole process.

    You want more youth vote. Same day voter registration and or pre vote by mail.

    •  I commend you (0+ / 0-)

      For taking the time to exercise your democratic right to vote. I agree with your assessment and, apparently, so do the Republican legislatures who have been trying to shorten early voting times.

      Personally, I feel it's worth any effort it takes to vote. Just my opinion.

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