Hello my joyful friends,
It is the end of a hot summers weekend and I am, once again, in a contemplative mood. And, you might ask, “What makes you contemplative today, Joy?” Young people these days make me contemplative. And, you might ask, “What does that have to do with aging, Joy?” And I’d say, re-read that last sentence, “young people these days?” Come on now, that sounds like my grandfather for goodness sakes. Well, I didn’t really know my grandfather, but it sounds like an old person, and that person is me! Yikes!
Recently I have observed young people, 20 somethings in particular, who seem dissatisfied, to put it mildly, with the status quo. They are up in arms about a variety of societal woes, and with good reason. America is about to vote for a new president and the choices are, their jovial grandfather and the grumpy old grandfather around the block. They see video after video showing young black men being brutally treated by policemen who are there to protect us from violence, not create such. They see Hispanic children ripped from the arms of their mothers at the border. They see mass shooting after mass shooting take place. They see a president who is so out of touch with their issues and reality, truth be told, that they have decided the system has failed them. That would piss me off too.
Me, being a 50 something year old woman, ah hem, was enlightened last year and volunteered tirelessly for a young man, unknown to many, who was running for the democratic nomination for president. Obviously he didn’t make the cut. But, I did get a glimpse of how it could be. I worked with a group of women and men, young and old, black and white and all the shades in between, gay and straight, all with the goal of making a change. And, what united us was a message of POSITIVITY!! It was an incredible experience and I, who have never ever been involved in politics, was standing on street corners dancing and waving signs to try and get you to honk for my candidate!
What is not such a positive message is that young voters did not show up to vote. They did not show up to vote for Bernie Sanders, they did not show up for Andrew Yang, they did not show up for Pete Buttigieg (INSERT SMILEY FACE HERE!) (BOOT EDGE EDGE!!), they did not show up for Cory Booker or Marianne Williamson. They did not show up, period.
So, the jovial grandfather wins the democratic nomination, and he’ll battle the mean spirited Mr. Trump who’s platform, many say, is a smoke screen for a message that’s based in fear, anxiety, conspiracy and suspicion. That young people are deeply frustrated with their choices, is understandable. Could they have made a difference had they shown up to vote in the democratic primary in 2020? We will never know.
I am not an expert in the area of racial injustice, immigration, income inequality, or gun control. But I do know these things are tremendously important to young and old alike. I do know that something big needs to happen to turn our country from divided to united. I do know that we need young people to stand up and vote. I do know that young people have the greatest stake in the future. Every election is determined by the people who show up.
Spark: something that sets off a sudden force