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Reply to "Young African Americans are engaged in politics but aren't guaranteed to turn out in 2012"

Okay ... I have to admit that I found this article - with all it's facts and figures and sectioning and analyzing - somewhat confusing.    I think I understand where he was trying to go ... but, I don't think I agree with his analysis in its entirety.

 

I mean, I think there's no disputing that our youth are "under-engaged" in the political process.  At least as far as actual VOTING is concerned.  And I do believe that intellectually, many of our young people know and understand politics at a rate that we probably don't give them enough credit for.

 

However ... the old adage, "Action speaks louder than words" is what is important.  And just "knowing" or "talking" about politics and not taking the actual ACTION to VOTE is what is highly problematic for us .. and them.  And how to reverse that and get them to engage, IMO, may be more than just a matter of "outreach."  I mean ... it's not like they don't know where the polls are and what they are supposed to do when they get there!!!  For some/whatever reason ... many (or most) simply don't have the desire to do so. 

 

I think if we were to be really honest about what happened in 2008, the truth is that the real reason why so many of our young people went to the polls in that election was for the SOLE purpose of being able to be part of the history of electing the first African American POTUS!!! 

 

For the most part, the majority didn't know or care about the "politics" of it!!!  It was for President Obama - and mostly because he was Black - that they stepped up and "did their part" to get him into the White House!!  They knew enough to know that he wasn't a "Herman Cain" or a "Clarence Thomas" or a "Michael Steele" (i.e, a Republican) .... so he was more "friend" than "enemy" to the Black community.  And, overall, that's pretty much all it took!!  And all they needed to know to vote for him!

 

I don't think just going out and asking/telling our young people that they need to go to the polls is any kind of 'workable' solution to get them involved and engaged.  It seems to me that the biggest problem is that our young folks don't know nor understand HOW politics is a part of and directly affects their lives.  They have no idea how much their lives and circumstances can change if they were to take part in electing the people who CONTROL those things for them.  And maybe even field and elect people in their OWN age group and/or among their peers to be in those 'positions of power' and fight for their rights on the local and state levels.

 

Perhaps analyzing and breaking them up into these various groups to easier understand them will help this organization to get a better perspective on the voting habits of this particular group.  But ... I think it's the lack of motivation to become PERSONALLY invested in politics is the main problem.  And should be the main focus of anyone - especially the White House and the Democratic Party - to turn this trend around for the future.

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