Young people seem to talk about politics a lot these days. However, what do they do? The Baker Orange has featured stories about politically active students in the past. What do students at Baker University do?
The youth vote as percentage of the total vote in 2006 was significantly larger than in 2002, the previous midterm election, as was the voter turnout among the youth. Will this trend continue into the 2008 presidential election? Many of the candidates hope so.
Recently a commentator on a cable news channel, speaking about the support Barack Obama enjoys from young voters, wondered if that would make any difference. The implication being that 18-29 year-olds talk a lot about politics, join Facebook groups in support of candidates, put bumper stickers on their cars and then don't show up at the polls. This is a possibility. I hope that it is not a very likely one.
This election will be extremely important. Again, it is hoped that we will see one of the most wide-open races in recent history. This ought to increase the choices that young voters have. Unless of course we get an election between three New York liberals. However, would that really be a bad thing?
The strategies the candidates are making cater to young voters. They are utilizing the internet with streaming video of campaign speeches and the like. As mentioned previously, there are the Facebook groups.
There has been a good deal of questioning as to whether programs like "The Daily Show" or "The Colbert Report" make young voters more cynical. Perhaps they do.
In is his book, "The Audacity of Hope," Sen. Obama made the statement that "a cynical electorate is a self-centered electorate." A cynical electorate will not listen to messages of change and they are ripe for the grasping claws of consumerism. The key for fake news shows is to be able to point out the hypocrisies and inconsistencies within the system, without turning off the audience from participating. Because, if the whole thing is so bogus and laughable, why should we care?
There are several reasons. We are the ones who will have no social security. We have to deal with the consequences of a nuclear Iran. We may be drafted. We will carefully watch the rise of the Chinese economy and army. We will be forced to face the challenges of global warming and conflicts fought over water instead of oil.
We are the ones who will have to answer for our apathy and inaction.