I would like to thank President Bush for his efforts to expand democracy around the world. He’s done a really incredible job, but not in the way that he may have anticipated. In his efforts to found democracies on the other side of the globe, he revitalized America.
My generation, the ones just after Gen-X, I like to think of as the “Nintendo generation”. (Compare and contrast with the “Atari generation”.) I never really cared about politics. Not in elementary school, not in high school, nor really in college. And I didn’t hear too many
people my age taking politics seriously either.
It was blasé and old-school, not to mention ineffectual. After all, what did it matter, choosing between two puppets of deep forces we could neither comprehend nor control? The apathy of voting for Nader, or simply not voting at all, seemed like reasonable choices in 2000 – since it didn’t seem to matter what we said, why say anything reasonable at all? Voter turnout for 18-to-24 year olds in the 2000 elections was 36%, literally half that of 65-74 year-olds, truly proving that voting is for old people.
Then Bush’s administration rolled around and our whole generation collectively gasped. We realized that it did matter who we voted for. That we were going to be left with leaders with the knowledge, articulation, and charity of Bush and Cheney instead of that of Martin Sheen if we didn’t jump in and do something ourselves. We would soon be heirs to the piles of debt being run up and have to deal with a world full of Bush-fueled terrorists and generally anti-American sentiment.
So we woke up. The Dean campaign took off, fueled by the Internet. When Dean went
down for “electability” reasons, he started pushing for Kerry and even has his own section
on Kerry’s website, wisely channelling the youth push towards a viable change in governance instead of limply voting for Nader. (Nader has lost any prior credibility his career gave him by running in this year’s election, showing him to be a thoughtless egomaniac who doesn’t really have an interest in bettering America.)
I find myself caring about politics now in ways I never thought possible. Within the last year, I’ve dated a governor-elect, the press advance for Clark, and am at present rather enamored of an aide for Congressman Mike Honda — I also realized I know the CTO for Kerry’s campaign and the Director of Verified Voting. I don’t watch much TV, but when I do, it’s The West Wing and CSPAN. And my friends, used to gabbing about the latest Linux kernel releases are now chatting up the 9-11 hearings.
Forewarned and forearmed, our generation comes now to the political table with unprecedented collaboration tools and access to information. The youth have awakened, and we’re ready to vote for our future.
And as appreciative as we are for what Bush has done for our generation, I don’t think we’ll be voting for him.