Friday, December 14, 2007

"18 in '08"

I grew up in Berkeley in the 60's, a place where and time when politics and having a voice were paramount to -- well, to just about everything! When I was growing up, everyone who could vote, did. And those who couldn't vote used their voice in other ways: protests, sit-ins, impromptu action meetings at Cody's Bookstore on Telegraph Avenue.

Apathy was a foreign word to me and to my Berkeley peers, as well as to our parents and teachers. NO ONE was apathetic. We knew that we had the power to change the world with our collective voices, with our music, and with our passion. We knew it deep into our souls, and that knowledge defined us. It became our identity individually and collectively and, it turns out, it became my generation's identity around the world and through history.

Fast forward to my kids' generation -- to today's 18-to-24-year-olds. (And I have FOUR in that age group...)

I am absolutely ashamed to say that I don't think any of my four adult children is registered to vote. I blush as I type that because it's unconscionable that, in this decade when more money is going to an unjustified war than to educating American kids (who are lagging woefully behind most industrialized countries' educational achievements), many 18-24-year-olds don't believe that they can change things. For some reason, they seems to believe that the power to initiate huge change is out of their hands -- that somehow their parents, the kids of the 60's, still own that power.

But they're SO wrong! 18-to-24-years-olds can change the direction of this country -- and goodness knows, the direction of this country desperately needs to change! The first step is to understand and believe in their collective -- and yes, their individual -- voice.

David Burstein is an 18-year-old who GETS it. He made this movie. I've already sent a link to all four of my kids. Maybe this sort of thing is what it will take is for us, the flower-child, sit-in, make-love-not-war generation, to convince our kids that we're passing the baton to them now -- that the future truly does belong to them and that they can -- no, they must -- shape it.

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Leslie said...

Must be karma!!! I just posted about this film today as well. Do you have a copy of it? It is incredibly well done. My daughter, who is a high school senior, has just submitted a proposal to her principal to show the film to the senior class and then have a table to register to vote afterward. We've got to get these kids involved.

Anonymous said...

This is an outstanding post. I will pass this along also. Only 56% of the voting age population in this country voted in the last election. Imagine what an impact 29 million voters would have on the next election. I'm with you. Rock the Vote. Our country needs it.

Goofball said...

in Belgium we have no right to vote but a duty to vote. All our elections are on Sundays and you need to justify if you can't make it (proof you're abroad, doctor's note, ...) or you can get a fine. But most court houses are too busy to really chase you. But they can if they'd want to.

So our turnouts are always very high, but then we have a phenomenan of "blank" votes. Still I like the duty to vote. Since we have to go, I think more people will follow the campaigns in order to make their choice.

Rising Rainbow said...

I was around during that time of Berkley, I think there was a lot of apathy and non voters. Manybe not in your neighborhood, but certainly in mine.

Apathy has always been a difficult thing to fight. Getting people up off their (blanks) to get involved could make a huge difference in the world.

Anonymous said...

wow, hard to believe that your kids aren't registered to vote -- my 20 yo registered to vote about 3 days after her 18th birthday. I'm surprised that in Seattle your kids aren't more politically aware.

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