Protesting is good, but ineffective without voting

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 10:48 PM | comments: 0

It was encouraging today to see the massive protests among teenagers across the country with regard to gun violence. Regardless of where you may fall politically on the issue, it's good to see engagement like this. It means the upcoming generation is getting involved in ways that, frankly, few recent generations have. Democracy is only as good as the involvement of its constituents, and for several decades now, we've been getting the government we deserve because of our apathy.

This wasn't just social media outrage, this was people getting out and expressing their frustration, demanding to be heard. The last few years have been like that in most demographics, and it's encouraging to see it in youth. However, if you were paying attention in November, 2016, you could also see why people were a bit disenchanted.

Say what you will about the suitability of the president or his former opponent, but there isn't any reliable polling data that suggests the federal government's legislative or executive action of the last year (what little there actually was) represents any kind of majority. How can that happen? Obviously, money and campaign finance pay a part in that, and US intelligence agencies believe there was significant Russian propaganda involved, but at the end of the day, I mostly believe that we are where we are because of voter apathy. I don't know how else you allow an immoral, racist, sexual assaulter gameshow host become president. It's absurd.

So these kids, they have the best of intentions, but as they turn 18, their intentions aren't meaningful if they don't vote. Civil engagement is the only way anything can change. It's odd, because people are reasonably willing to do this at the local level, when they want to see a new school get built or a traffic light installed, but insist that the feds do the right thing, and then walk away... it doesn't make sense.

I feel bad for my son's generation in that they've got a lot of shit to clean up. Despite the age of school-aged children, I'm impressed with their sense of urgency. I believe they can succeed where we failed, but only if they vote.


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