Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Getting Closer to Democracy

While the two-party certainly sucks for many reasons, and historically voter turnout in this country is abysmally low--my guess is probably even lower than in a place like my family's native country of the Philippines, where corruption in politics is rampant and well-documented--I am encouraged by this article on how newly registered, first-time voters are the wild card in this year's big Presidential race. I wholeheartedly agree that pollsters--yes, the same pollsters who are cranking out all these polls of likely voters saying how close Obama and McCain are running--have no idea what to do with this group of people, which this year number in the millions, though I can't find a solid number.

Yes, the Democrats are registering these new voters, so the first thought one would have is that these new voters will turn out in droves in November. Possibly. Registered a new voter and getting to vote are two different things. And it's another thing as well to get them to vote your way. But with Obama's massive popularity with young people never waning these days--and with Generation Y or the "Millenials" vying for the baby-boomers' demographic dominance in the American landscape--you can be sure that if these new and young voters get to the polls, they will mostly be voting for the Democratic ticket.

A ray of hope for us progressives on an otherwise shadowy horizon (a shadow cast by Palin, of course)? I think so. But it doesn't mean that we don't have some work ahead of us to make sure we take even more steps towards a real democracy in this country. Getting more people to vote is just the beginning. Even electing Obama into office isn't the end-all, be-all of our struggle. But I believe, for the first time in a while, that we can do it, together. Like Obama's campaign and the United Farmworkers and Cesar Chavez and community organizers around the world have said for decades, "Yes We Can."

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