Thursday, October 21, 2004

Youngstas Rockin' the Vote (& the Boat)

Found some encouraging and exciting news in yesterday's Chronicle: as of this past Monday's voter registration deadline, the numbers of new voters being registered this year is breaking records in some counties, including San Mateo, Napa and Santa Clara. The really good news to my ears, however, is that more than 20% of these new voters are in the Generations X & Y bracket, 18 to 35 years old. Which means that folks like Rock the Vote and the League of Pissed Off Voters are doing a smash-up job getting young people to not only register to vote, more importantly, they are getting young people (you know, the supposedly apathetic, has-everything, disillusioned generation of youngstas) out there into the streets, on the doors, and in the clubs, talking to people about exercising their democratic right.

I have a special sense of pride in this effort because several of my comrades are working with the League and its allies, including Upski aka Billy Wimsatt, Mattie Weiss, and Cathy Rion, CFJ staffer-emeritus and one of my fellow Venceremos Brigadistas.

The really beautiful thing about these and other white folks getting out on the streets not just in Calfornia but in the battleground states to help get Bush out of office is that they are stepping way, way outside their comfort zones in many cases, not just working with young brown kids who are 'underprivileged' and 'at-risk' in the inner city, but working with working- and middle-class white folks in America's heartland who are the ones that can really make difference in this election, and on many issues in America. I'm not saying that people of color or people living in cities don't matter, but there has been so much progressive movement-building done only in those areas that these supposedly 'backwards' places like Ohio, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma, etc. are ignored by the left and then become breeding grounds for far-right Republicans. And that's a testament to our arrogance as much as to the right-wing's discipline and strategic vision.

And as a long-time youth advocate, I am just so happy that the youngstas in the generation behind me are comin' up and representin' strong. It does my heart good. And it gives me hope again in these last days of madness...12 more days to go, folks!


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