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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

DIY Politics

So that happened. Last night, this country overwhelmingly handed control of its governing bodies back to the GOP, a political party that, for the last 30 years has come to represent and promote every form of short-sighted bigotry and ignorance this country is globally reviled for.

Well... not the country, exactly. In New Mexico (where I live), about 39% of eligible voters cast a ballot. I've heard the stat for folks under 30 quoted as low as 19%. That's one out of five.

My generation doesn't vote. But not for the same reasons as our older siblings ("I was getting my hair/nails/penis done." "There's an election?" "It's only a midterm, it doesn't count."). The materialistic apathy that stereotypically defined their non-participation throughout the 90s and the last decade is a very different brand of apathy from ours. You see, while they could be accused of being oblivious to what was going on in the political landscape they grew up in, the same cannot be said for Millennials.

We grew up in a world at war. We grew up with schools that used fear as motivation and then moved on to college right when everyone began to realize it's a pyramid scheme. We grew up knowing that anybody you see on a campaign commercial is without exception lying to you.

Maybe all of us didn't realize those things, but I'd say it's safe to assume four out of every five of us did. We grew up with the internet; a tool that showed us every horrible thing about politics before we could vote, and then we did the only thing it could with that information: we made ironic jokes.

I won't say our parents' generation is wrong that our tendency to not vote isn't helping the situation, but I will say that they're wrong to point that out as even a top-5 problem. Since their generation started voting, we've gotten Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, both Bushes, two ineffectual pussies and a guy who liked getting his dick sucked at work. We also got the current platform of the GOP, which is based on their voting tendencies. And they were super proactive.

It's not that we don't want to vote. It's that we don't want to vote for any of the people we have to choose from.

So what's the solution?

A lot of people talk about getting money out of politics, but that's like talking about ending racism - it's a great idea, and I'm sure a vast majority of the world would like to see it happen - but who's got a workable plan? Right. Where do we start?

Well, what if we got the Baby Boomers out of politics? The generally accepted notion since the 60s is that they're such an enormous voting block, nobody will ever be able to overcome their sheer numbers. But when you think about it (looking at current election results and realizing they're about 50-80% of the voting public), they're split pretty much evenly between ignorant, bigoted rednecks, mindless liberal sociopaths, and terrified sheep who will do whatever you tell them as long as they get to keep their televisions and their Krispy Kremes. So why not just say, "Fuck 'em, we don't need 'em."

What if we gave them the boot? What if my generation started our own political party? Could we Kickstart an American Youth Party? How hard would it be, in the next two years, to recruit and train not only volunteers (of which I get the feeling there would be more than enough), but candidates and strategists for every local, state and national election in 2016?

If we got one Independent candidate in every race whose only platform was, "I'm under 40, I don't take money from corporations, and I just want to take a bite out of the current political status quo," I bet you three of those four 18-29 year-old idealistic non-voters would show up.

That might not be enough to win an election, but if such candidates even changed the nature of even one or two races in even half the states across the country, the media would freak the fuck out.

But I'm not a politician. I'm just a sad 30 year-old child trying to explain to his peers why even when I vote I wish I hadn't. I'm not the voice of a generation or an inspirational leader, but Jesus Tapdancing Christ, there have to be at least a few among us.

Because if we don't start trying to fix things inside their system, a lot of us are going to die trying to tear it down when the shit hits the fan.

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