my point of view (programming stuff mostly)

Politics and 18-30 Year-Olds

There seems to be a general dissatisfaction with politics amongst people my age. We have a bad taste in our mouths. We’ve grown up watching a political process that seems to only happen on our TVs. And we feel we have absolutely no power to influence it. Because it’s a one-way channel.

In some ways, the whole process is like a bad television show.

The things we learned in grade school and high school (at a time when we were too young to participate) made the system seem beautifully complex and perfectly designed. There was a pride accompanied with our nation and its government, branches, and elections. The people have the power to change things, we were told.

But then we grew up. And realized we aren’t as powerful as our teachers told us.

Just as the shallow story arcs and tired recurring villain ideas of Smallville have all but caused us to delete our Season Pass from the TiVo, the U.S. political process seems out of touch, repetitious, and generally obsessed with continuing with the status quo. And Americans are OK with that.

It seems my age group doesn’t want to invest time in something they feel will never change. It’s too heartbreaking to put effort into something to find that nothing is different. There are just too many people out there with more money, time, and influence (e.g. the Media corporations and their superstar news pundits) that influence too many Americans.

Choosing a political candidate has become likened to choosing a toothpaste or laundry detergent. We watch this new cycle of elections unfold on our television screens (usually as it interrupts our favorite sitcom or drama series in the form of a political mud slinging ad or evening “news” about the same three candidates). A few names stick and that’s about it.

Or we feel the only choice we have is a political party. A lesser of two evils.

Is this the way it has to be?

Nope. Here’s why I think we can actually make a difference: the Internet.

While the mainstream media is busy covering a select few, and leaving the other candidates out, guess what’s happening online? People are given a voice again and they’re using this new medium to talk about the candidates who’ll really change something, uncensored by big media corporations with something to gain from one candidate or another.

For instance, check out the top rated presidential candidate YouTube videos. And the rate of growth of a few outstanding candidates on YouTube. Ron Paul is one of the most searched for terms on blogs according to Technorati, too. He surges ahead online because of his message and the free flow of that message across this medium.

And these are just a few examples. Check out Facebook, MySpace, Digg, and elsewhere on the Web and you’ll probably find something about Ron Paul.

I challenge you to do some surfing and find out which candidate you like the best. While it’s not in a nice little box like you’ll see on a big news channel, and it is quite raw, I think you’ll find that there is somebody who can turn this country around. Unless of course you like the way things are going now – in that case, just keep watching TV. Someone else will decide for you.

There is a chance for our age group to have a voice. And now is the time.