Monday, November 12, 2012
When I was in eight grade, my history teacher came up with the idea of holding a mock election. It would hold the two party system rule and the two candidates would be people we never heard of before. Now, it being a Christian school, 90% of the students fostered conservative beliefs that were more than likely handed down generationally from their parents. As the election was finally closed and the results came in, the history teacher, told us the results. As predicted, the Repuplican candidate won in a landslide. But what tickled my fancy was hearing the background of this Republican candidate. Turns out he was a custodian that the teacher had met. That day it became obvious to me that people would vote whoever their party elected, do no research into the matter, and eventually grow up to become one of those people who took pride in posting "I Voted" bumper stickers on their car. Now I mention this story as a prologue to a much larger issue. Because it reveals an important framework at hand.
I've never much cared for politics. Having gone to schools (Middle school through college) surrounded by predominantly Right Wing conservatives and being raised by a "screw politicans" father and a conservative mother, ignoring the problem just seemed to be the easiest way out of stress. Block it out because it only causes hatred and vitriol amongst people anyway. When the issue of politics did come up, the valuable lesson I gained from middle school became essential in my political thinking: research is key. Know who you are voting for. Upon seeing so many of my friends hit brick walls in the search for jobs and seeing our economic debt reach sickening highs, the political pool did start becoming something I started to dip my toe in.
I realized I'm not the only who has (or had?) an apathetic view on politics. There's a hard demographic in young voters, being between the ages of 18 and 35, that shows us becoming increasingly unsympathetic, bored, and evoking a shuddering yawn at anything politics. Such is the case in the post-Watergate-post Iran Contra- post-Whitewater- post- Lewinsky era. An era in which politician's statements of principle and vision are understood as self serving ad copy and judged not for their truth but for their marketability. With the media at a fever pitch with the creation of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, no generation has been marketed and spun and pitched to as relentlessly as today's young demographic. When a senator or Congressman says their goal is to (for example) "inspire young Americans to devote themselves to causes greater their their own self-interst" , it's hard not to think of it as just one more piece of carefully scripted bullshit that presidential candidates hand us as they go about their own self serving interest in becoming the most powerful, talked about man in the free world. This being their real cause.