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The Point: Everyone loves election season

Published: January 25, 2008
Section: Opinions


I hesitate to write a purely “political” piece, since so much of our nation (and this paper) is already focused on the upcoming election, but I think that the younger generation’s role in politics—especially at this moment in time—is both important and overlooked. It’s just like when my parents took over their respective colleges’ ROTC buildings to protest the Vietnam War; only it involves more watching online videos of Mike Huckabee super-imposing himself over a cross and fewer roach-clip accessories.

Let me start by saying that I think people my age are in a unique position, politically speaking. George W. Bush was elected when I was thirteen and he’ll step down when I’m twenty-one, which means I’ll have spent my entire adolescence under his increasingly bleak regime. I was in eighth grade when the Twin Towers fell, we went to war with Iraq during my freshman year of high school, and I barely had my driver’s license when Katrina hit. During my intellectually and morally formative years, global warming “broke” to the public, the Abu Ghraib photos surfaced, and America watched a cell-phone video of Saddam Hussein’s execution.

So of course I hate George Bush. Of course I don’t trust the media. Of course I don’t have any hope. I use passionate language intentionally—I don’t see how politics can be a detached and intellectualized process to a generation of young people who watched their country fall apart as soon as they became conscious of what having a “country” really meant. I can’t stand it when sniffly New York Times baby-boomers pass judgment on how “apathetic” my generation is (News flash, boomers: not only are you a drain on society, but Easy Rider sucked. Seriously, a disappointment). How can my generation be apathetic when we’re the ones saddled with the responsibility of fixing the mistakes of the older generations? The 2008 election is the first presidential election I’ll be eligible to vote in and every time I read the news, I think about how much is at stake, how if we don’t make the right choice, then we’ll have to endure the consequences of more violence, negligence and inequity.

Which is why I’m surprised at the sparks of interest and hope I feel as I study the coverage of the primaries. I like to consider the different ways it could turn out—for instance, seeing Obama’s two little girls in the White House would certainly be a welcome change from the Bush twins, who were always one beer and the promise of a free t-shirt away from appearing on Girls Gone Wild. And hey, maybe if Hillary wins, Al Gore can come back and fix global warming. Even the annoying stuff isn’t that bad, like wondering how many more times is John Edwards going to tell that story about his grandfather working in a mill (Answer: At least as many times as the Snidely-Whiplash-esque Rudy Giuliani is going to awkwardly employ 9/11). And I take comfort in knowing that Mike Huckabee isn’t going to win—no candidate whose knowledge of funny Internet memes is so limited that he employs Chuck Norris as his celebrity spokesperson is astute enough to pull off an election.

So let’s do this, America. Whether you’re an East Coast liberal chuckling to yourself about last week’s This American Life or you spend all your time on a porch in South Carolina, yelling, “Evolution ain’t real! Cletus, get my gun!” let’s band together to make our nation’s problems history, while at the same time making Chris Mathews even richer.