When did The Youth Vote start competing with The Baby Boomer Vote, or any other vote for that matter?
The Youth Vote and The Baby Boomer Vote are not two opposing political parties, like the Democrats and Republicans, or two antagonistic countries, like China and Tibet, who don't see eye-to-eye on anything and have two essentially different view points of what it means to be alive, what it means to be human.
I'm disturbed by the way the issue is being discussed, reported and presented, not only as a media discussion leading up to caucuses and primaries, but up the general election as well.Youth
in our country have genuine concerns about the cost of getting the education they want. Student debt is a serious problem. But so is the cost of their Boomer
parents' mortgages, particularly if they were interest-bombed after the 2008 financial crisis and may be either upside down on their home or unable to refinance at a lower interest rate. Youth
in our country have legitimate concerns about long-term employment opportunities, as so many jobs have been shipped abroad, so many companies are only offering limited contract employment with long hours, low pay and no benefits. Not everyone is entrepreneur-minded and can start their own business. But so do Boomers
have exactly the same concerns, many of whom are being let go prematurely from their jobs, well before retirement age, many of whom (particularly women over the age of 50) cannot find even temporary employment once they have left the work force, and, if they are able to find a job, it is offered under the same terms and conditions as those being offered to their younger Americans - low pay, long hours, no benefits. These older Americans have exactly the same concerns as their younger counterparts. They want to contribute, to make a difference, to be productive, to remain vital. And their ongoing continuing education should they need to retrain for the job market comes at a financial price that is often unaffordable at an older age.Youth
in our country have understandable concerns about what is happening to Mother Earth, wondering if they are going to have a livable planet and what their long term survival and health issues are going to be. But so do Boomers,
many of whom have a deep love of and commitment to Mother Earth in an agricultural spirit - as farmers, gardeners, artisanal food producers, who have homes to protect from floods, the ravages of an increasing number of tornados, storms, hurricanes...tempests. The horrid Zika Virus comes to the United States, affecting parents....and children alike.Youth
in our country have on-going concerns about the quality of their medical care, worries that even if they have their own coverage outside of a job that provides benefits, what will happen to them if they become seriously ill and have no disability insurance. So, too, their aging Boomer
parents, whose lives can be turned upside down as a result of long-term cancer treatment, a serious surgery, a fall down a flight of stairs, or, heaven forbid, a detour from life down the Long Road to Alzheimer's, from which one never escapes.Youth
in our country are frightened of on-going wars around the world, of terrorism, of ISIS, of the increasing lack of a sense of safety and security, of guns and getting shot while walking from the student center to the gym on campus, or going to the movies, or, heaven forbid, just sitting at one's desk at work and, well...working. So, too, Boomers,
who don't want to get the call, ever, that their child has been shot on campus, or or at the movies, or while they were innocently sitting at their desks at work and, well...working.Youth
in America are concerned about transparency issues regarding mental health, sexual orientation, the ability to be freely expressed and not discriminated against as a result of being fully oneself. Yet many Boomers
did not grow up themselves in an era when there was such acceptance and freedom as there currently is, and lived much of their lives in the shadows for fear of discrimination, or the victims of outright discrimination should they choose not to live in the shadows.Youth
in America are frightened of gun violence, police violence, racial discrimination and profiling - a hoodie on a black youth at night can signal the accusation of impending criminal activity, while a hoodie on a white youth is an expression of fashion hipness. But...So...Too...Baby Boomers
who marched with their black brothers and sisters in the Civil Rights Movement arm in arm, hand in hand.
The issues that face Youth
in America are the same, to one degree or another, as the issues that face Boomers
and the aging population. The phase or stage of that issue may differ, but the issues are the same - a concern for Mother Earth, a need for employment, a dream to have a life that includes a place to live, a social network, the ability to afford to work out, to play, to progress and contribute, a desire for our country to be safe, to get along with countries around the world, to stop this seemingly never-ending cycle of war, strife, nuclear threat and destruction.
I don't know any parents and grandparents who aren't deeply concerned about the futures of their children and grandchildren. Yet recently, in all that has been written about this issue and plenty has been, I often wonder whether younger voters are thinking about the issues that face their aging parents, their older colleagues, their grandparents, homeless older men and women. Yes...it is heartbreaking to see homeless children and young people living on the street, but they are often there in the company of their Boomer
parents, or living in a car or a house with several other families.
I'm concerned that history is being forgotten and that some younger voters (women) have forgotten how long it took the Women's Suffrage Movement to win them the Right to Rock the Vote, that some young voters (women) have forgotten how long it took their aging sisters (not their aging brothers or fathers or grandfathers) to fight for the right to control their bodies, a right that Republicans want to take away from them every single election cycle, that some young voters have forgotten the closeted lives their older gay, lesbian and transgendered sisters and brothers lived in order to bring us to the more inclusive and accepting place that we are all in now.
And while I write "America," in fact these issues that Americans face are felt all over the world.
We are all one. And when we vote we need to vote as much to heal the wounds of others, as much to positively affect the lives of others, as much to solve the problems that other people have, even if it isn't a problem in our own lives.
For we are all one, and we need to walk this road, arm-in-arm, hand-in-hand, for one another, not against one another. #POTUS #RockTheVote #Boomers #HillaryforPresident #FeelTheBern