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Time to Take the Reins

November 3, 2012
by

On the virtual eve of a national election here in our good old U S of A, I wanted to take a moment to write something a bit political. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you how to vote this Tuesday. I’m not prosthelytizing here. I won’t dip my toe too far into the tepid stagnant waters of political discourse among our generation.

But I will ask: why are our waters so stagnant?

Previous generations, it seems, have all had their causes and within the ranks those who would, and sometimes did, give their lives for change. Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Gloria Steinem, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. These heros were joined by others: artists, songwriters, authors, right down to the everyday folks who marched and shouted and led the way for so many pieces of our world that we hold so dear.

But I have to ask: where are our voices?

Political conversations seem to go one of two ways among people in my rising generation of young gen-xers and the first flush of the gen-y crowd. There are those who are super-charged and don’t seem to ever pipe down about politics. But judging from the reaction to those voices, I tend to think that the more common is the complete avoidance approach among potentially mixed company. A very strong aversion to discussion, argument, and challenge.

Coming of age in the era of Clinton, Bush, compassionate conservatism, hanging chads and radical shock-jocks has made us loathe to dive into the murky waters of What We Think. Or even scarier: Why. We are afforded the luxury of complacency by the aforementioned heroes who fought so hard. In times when our nation seems so polarized, yet so … comfortable on so many levels, I suppose it stands to reason that some would rather not talk about it at all.

The thing is, I get it. I was raised against the current. I grew up in an area that leaned quite heavily in one political direction, but was raised and influenced by parents who lean quite heavily the other. I understand this approach and for the most part, I count myself among the zipped lipped crowd. After all, the old wisdom is “never discuss religion or politics in polite company”. (Funny how the two are so intimately interconnected in our times… an issue for a whole other blog, I think.)

But I do think that this extreme reluctance to delve into our political leanings can also lead to a very serious repercussion: voter apathy. And I worry that by not speaking of such things, by not really getting into and challenging our sets of beliefs, even developing new ones, our generation is not discovering its potential – its responsibility – to steward this nation into the heart of the 21st century.

And so I ask: will you be the voice?

You see, our fights aren’t over, people. Not by a long shot. I truly believe we have one of the greatest nations the world has ever seen. But it’s not by accident. And it’s not because one side has always won. The give and take and give again is what has gotten us where we are now. Don’t fall victim to believing that things can’t change. Don’t underestimate our power. I know it doesn’t feel that way, but WE are the game changers. Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good. Incremental change is still change. Don’t wait for the ideal situation, or the perfect honest candidate. Neither one exists. I’m not saying settle – just don’t let the magnitude of our responsibility paralyze you either. It’s time to take the reins; the world is ours now.

It’s hard to put into words what I most want to say, but I think I can sum it up with four letters.

VOTE.

Give some honest thought to what is important to you, do a little research and please, for the love of America. Vote.

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