Many Politicians Missing the Youth Vote Opportunity

April 25, 2008

Dear Pennsylvania Governor Rendell,

I’m a 20-something year old who loves politics. Even more than usual, I can’t seem to escape the excitement of the current campaign season. It’s been a long, long time since so many people have become civically engaged with our political system. This is a time we should celebrate; which is why I was so surprised to hear some comments from you which belittled young voters. In a recent forum, you seemed to infer that young voters weren’t informed about the upcoming presidential candidates. That we “drink the Kool-Aid of [Obama’s] wonderful speeches” resonates the sentiment that 18-29 year olds are being suckered in by a slick campaign message and a charismatic orator. With this in mind, I have to share a story with you.

I spent four years at a state university, during which I was accosted daily by students, flyers, posters, and emails telling me to “be informed and get involved”. I sat in classes where students absorbed books and articles written by the world’s top experts. I watched as kids debated the intricacies of tax policy in lecture halls that sat 300 people- where so many young voters attended that it was “standing room only”. I’ve witnessed 20 year olds show up late for work or class because learning and being informed was more precious than a few hours of sleep. To be truthful, this describes me and most of my peers.

Governor Rendell, your opinion of my demographic is grossly incorrect. We may be young; but we are not ill-informed nor are we uneducated. In fact, I would argue that the majority of young voters have a much stronger grasp of campaign issues than most demographics. Take a glance at any college or university in the country, and chances are you’ll find less apathy than in any other demographic. Look at any of the political campaigns today, and you’ll see young volunteers pounding the pavement and knocking on doors, ready to speak to anyone and everyone about the issues. Find a political website, and you’re bound to see young voters go toe-to-toe in educated political debate with much older people. To be blunt, you have misjudged many of us.

We aren’t professional politicians, so it should come as no surprise that some young people can’t rattle off which legislation a candidate has sponsored. But don’t be fooled – when we come home from a campaign event, chances are you’ll find us scanning the paper and the internet for information on the candidate. We do the homework because we know what’s at stake. We’re the ones fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re the one’s who can’t find jobs because of our current economic state. We’re the ones fighting to afford health care, and we’re the ones who will be dealing with climate change long after you’re gone.

Of course, I would never expect anyone to accept my thoughts without first doing their own homework. Student organizations, universities, and communities are always looking for speakers to participate in meetings and town halls. Please consider an appearance at any of these so you can see for yourself just how engaged students can be. Attending just one student debate may completely change your opinion of this promising demographic.

Today, young people are standing up and participating in our democratic political process. Help celebrate this by engaging our young demographic!

See the video that started it all here

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5 Responses to “Many Politicians Missing the Youth Vote Opportunity”

  1. […] Many Politicians Missing the Youth Vote Opportunity « Smart Sense | Environmental and Political Tho… […]

    Hi Bondelli, Glad to see a Young Democrat visiting my site! It’s group like the YD’s that are responsible for jump starting activism in young people. Your group does some wonderful things, keep up the good work!

    -Nicholas | SmartSense

  2. http://clintonista.wordpress.com/2008/04/26/as-for-the-symbolism-war-quod-ert-demonstrandum/

    Hi Clintonista, I’m thankful you took some time to visit my site; however, I’m curious as to why you posted such an off-topic link. I agree that violence against women (and against everyone) is a major political problem, and I can appreciate your enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton…..but I would have rather heard your thoughts on youth involvement in today’s democratic process instead of disconnected propaganda.

    -Nicholas | SmartSense

  3. […] economics, works in strategic marketing communications, and calls her/himself an environmentalist, wrote a letter to Pennsylvania Governor Rendell to explain. (Found by Ann Raber.) This was prompted by […]

    Hi BallotVox writers & readers, Looks like I’m on the official record now. Thanks for sharing the soapbox! PS, I’m a “himself”.

    -Nicholas | SmartSense

  4. Anonymous said

    LET US CHANGE THE WORLD

  5. stranger from the Philippines said

    We can get rid out all the residues in dirty politics if we are doing our part to clean our dirty feet. Let us give justice on what GOD had started:a world of innocence. But innocence nowadays is already stained with unwanted evil so what we could do is to renew our mind. Not for tomorrow but TODAY!!!

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