Young People Are Liberals

So, trying to squeeze out one more article before I have to head on out to do the job that I get paid for, I found an interesting headline on memeorandum. Interesting, I should clarify, only in that I really didn’t think much of it as news.

Apparently… wait for it… younger voters are generally more left leaning than the rest of the country as a whole.

Hold on… think I’m havin’ a grabber…

whew, I’m okay… I’m okay.

It’s really no surprise that younger voters are more liberal. This is partly due to the idea, I believe, that as time progresses, and society progresses, those changes to our culture that were once perceived as revolutionary, grow to be old hat for younger generations. Just look at pants! Once upon a time, women didn’t wear pants! Now, who cares?

More realistically, we see this all the time. My father is in what used to be called an “interracial marriage” or a “mixed marriage.” He’s white, my stepmom’s black. I say “used to be” because while when they first started dating, it was a big deal, now, you see marriages of this kind everywhere. It’s become common place. I myself am a member of a “mixed marriage” but unlike my father and step mother, no one even bats an eye when my Chinese wife and I and our two little munchkins walk around the place.

So this is not really a surprising development in and of itself. What is worth noting, however, is that while there’s no shocker that young people are left of their elders, it’s going to become more and more likely that they are going to do something about it.

Politicians, particularly Democrats, have BEGGED the youth demographic to get out and hit the polls, but traditionally, my generation hasn’t been so great in that department. But what we saw in the 2004 election was that while the Evangelists went out in droves to vote, so did the young voters. Granted, not enough, but more than in the past, and according to this poll, that’s not likely to decrease, we’re not talking about a one shot deal here.

Since I have about five more months to be considered a “young voter”, let me shed some insight. What has plagued my generation in regards to voting is a great apathy. And an easily understood one.

It’s hard to vote for someone you can’t connect with, and when most the guys you would be voting for are old white haired guys in suits you can’t afford on a college student budget, it’s real hard to feel that connection.

But deeper than that is the ineffectualness of it all. That concept that one vote doesn’t matter because there are only about a hundred million others being cast. This tied to the electoral college which can render many votes insignificant with the quickness, one is given to an attitude of, “why bother?” rather easily.

But politics have morphed recently. Political talk shows are no longer relegated to Sunday mornings when most Xers are still in bed, sleeping off the party the night before. They’re everywhere, and not filled with the same sleep inducing pundits, but with a dynamic new flair. Bill O’Reilly shouts down his intellectual opponents, Chris Matthews can put anyone on the hot seat at the turn of a dime (even did it to Coulter’s dumb ass last night) and Keith Olbermann’s witty hour long show mingles entertainment with politics seamlessly.

Politics as an entertainment industry is growing and growing fast. From JibJab’s cute Kerry V. Bush musical cartoons to Obamagirl, from the Colbert Report to the John Stewerts Daily Show, the guise of politics has changed from stuffy and boring to (god I hope this doesn’t make me sound old) hip and fresh.

Plus, you gotta think that every time Bush is on the tv, a lot of these kids have got to be thinking to themselve, “Jeez, my parents really effed up hard when they voted for this guy.”

And yet, there is another part of the puzzle to the equation. The internet. The political debate used to be around kitchen tables and at work on lunch hour. It used to be guided and directed by the highly paid pundits, and for a younger voter who seeks to have some sort of presence in the political debate, this kind of scenario is a difficult one to be a part of.

But with the advent of MySpace and Blogs, the effect that we see is that now anyone of any age can interject themselves into the debate, and not just among family members but with people all around the nation, and if you’re lucky, to a wide audience.

And while few blogs enjoy the power to affect the debate on their own accord, the collective force of all these smaller blogs can in and of themselves change the contour of the political landscape. It makes accessing politics easier, and more interactive.

So, yeah, young people are liberals, but the days of discounting them as non-voters are quickly coming to an end.

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