I’ve seen and read a lot of complaints about how young people are just too self-absorbed and likely not mature enough to vote. As a card-carrying baby boomer, I’ve teetered on the edge of the generational divide as much as anyone. It has always been the old versus the young.
Now it’s baby boomers against Gen X and Y and Z, the millennials and so forth. It doesn’t really stop at age, though. Black versus white has never been more popular, at least in the harsh light of day. The country is generalized as blue or red because politicians, who are either wealthy or lawyers, usually both, redrew the districts to their advantage, and one party dominates the electoral landscape. If it is all seems like the blunt-force trauma of a TV reality show, then we can begin to understand the world we live in.
Young people aren’t experienced enough to vote?
Last week, I came home late from tennis and hurried inside with my gear. The next morning, we were meeting people for breakfast, but the car was dead. I charged the battery to no avail. It would turn over but not start. Then I looked at the gas gauge. It was pegged on “E.” My only diagnosis is that I must have left the car running so that the engine used all the gas and then drained the battery. Several lessons learned, all of them very humbling. At 72, I’ve done a lot of driving. Do I even deserve a ballot?
Maybe I am a party of one, but I doubt that. The takeaway is that we all make mistakes but do not deserve to be tossed into the dumpster simply because of our age at either end of the time-space continuum.
Here’s a quote from an op-ed in the July 17, 2019, issue of the Sacramento Bee.
“I am very enthusiastic about voting. I pre-registered to vote the day I turned 16. I carry a stack of voter registration forms with me to school every day. Call it the naivete of youth, but very little is more exciting for me than the fact that I, along with the rest of my generation, will play a role in deciding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.” This was written by Ryan Beam who is 17.
As a boomer, I welcome Ryan to the voter ranks. Whether he is blue or red matters little because his enthusiasm is proof enough that he is going to be studying the present policies of this administration and Congress and putting checks next to those he feels strongly about. The operative word, of course, is “studying.”
For many of my contemporaries, I do not hold out the same hope for research and deliberation. What I am hopeful for is that many of the young people of America, who are on the cutting edge of issues that matter, do not want to see business continue as usual.
The current administration is hard at work with the tried and true left hand right hand thing. As the opposition is up in arms about “racist” comments made by the country’s leader, regulations are being dialed back by “acting” cabinet members who have not been confirmed by Congress. This is their way of side-stepping congressional oversight. Republican responses run the gamut from a “So what?” shrug or a “That’s exactly why I voted for him.” If this was a remedial course in political science, it would be named Jim Crow 2.0. Scary stuff when you look at the monuments in D.C. and think of our so-called trappings of equality and freedom.
This is all preamble to the GOP’s hopes to regain all aspects of our government. From what I’ve seen, the party has no defined limits to what they will do. One congresswoman rightly analyzes that the Trump conservative barrel doesn’t have a bottom. No amount of lies or just plain offensive behavior, past or present will budge their supporters off their see-no-evil dime. That, of course, leaves us to question our future.
Given Mr. Beam’s op-ed, I am feeling better about the demographics and the energy boost of having young people engaged and eager to vote. The baby boomer goal of holding onto power at all costs until they all die (how I view much of the ostrich activity of people my age) is not a viable plan. With a wannabe dictator in the Oval Office and a group of Republicans who have abdicated their right of oversight, the future isn’t tomorrow; it is, well, right now.