LatinaLista — The headline’s disturbing revelation was revealed through a survey conducted by Hispanic Economics on behalf of the Obama campaign.
While it can be argued that the survey’s findings may be a bit biased, it is a safe assumption to make that Obama’s young supporters are passionate about their candidate.
Obama addresses youth at campaign rally.
That call is easy enough to make by the casual observer who has ever witnessed, either on TV or in person, the student turnouts at Obama rallies across the country.
It’s also safe to say that this election season is providing the kind of life-experience lesson with the political process that no textbook can even touch.
Yet, it would seem, that while students have embraced the political campaigning and voter persuasion strategies (phone banks, door-to-door campaigning, etc.) the most important element in this Civics lesson is being dismissed as trivial â€” the vote.
While there are adults who have certainly withheld their election votes in protest of the available candidates on a ticket, it’s not the kind of message that should be condoned with silence â€” to any age voter.
We have seen in the Latino community that years of not voting, because no candidate “appealed” to the electorate, has lead to an apathy of the political process and the false assumptions that votes don’t count. Only when the community feels threatened do they react to vote for someone who will “help” them, but too many times it’s too little too late.
Isn’t the secret of the political process is to build that kind of political support throughout several elections by voting for the people who can grow into those positions of authority?
If temper tantrums, pouting and declarations of “If my candidate isn’t in, I’m not voting” overtakes the mature decision to vote one’s conscience, then the political process is the loser, along with, all of us.
During this historic campaign season, some campaigns have heavily targeted the youth vote. It’s a demographic that is long overdue for recognition and validation by the political parties.
Yet, by involving the students in the “poly-glam” world of campaigning where adrenalin keeps people on a constant high, not enough is being said how to handle coming down from that high if things don’t go the way they expect.
Though nobody likes to even think of the possibility that their candidate won’t win, and a lot would even consider it bad luck to even contemplate it, campaigns have to do a better job in educating young voters that the political process is much bigger than just one candidate.
It’s time for political parties to step up to the plate and revamp how they outreach to young people and, most importantly, include them in the process long before candidates are declared and campaign lines drawn.
Young people have always been much smarter than adults ever give them credit. It’s time to acknowledge them in a way that appreciates their passion, their involvement, their commitment and their idealism when it comes to the political process.
Otherwise, sustaining a democratic system of government may be harder to do in a future where people won’t vote because they don’t get their way.