Young People In The Old Political Machine

20 08 2008

Mister Mack writes about attending a county democratic meeting and how disillusioned he is with the lack of young people involved.

Let’s be clear. He’s not upset with the young people but more with the system as a whole.

I read his words and I’m only going to comment on what I’ve seen happen recently in my own world because I don’t have access to what’s happening in other places as I’m not there. I also, before I get into my observation, want to say that younger people like Sean and Ilyssa give me a happy as they are very kicking up the dust and it’s a good thing.

I do, however, want to talk about young people in rural communities and the political infrastructure that, on occasion, is not always welcoming to them.

I don’t think young people are all detached in rural settings because I’ve seen some very active folks who are operating outside of the constraints of established political settings. An example is one of the writers who works with me. She ran for office, knew she probably wasn’t going to win and did it for the experience. I fully expect her to hold an office within the next few years. She ran for a delegate position. Politics excites her and intrigues her. However, she has seen some things that bother her some times and has shared it with me. I ache for her because there are people that want to have lively debates about policy, about the state of the nation and how to create a situation that would give local people the desire and passion to vote. She wanted that. She didn’t get to be part of the process because some things were already set in stone.

And she wasn’t that interested in walking the party line that was dictated to her without at least talking about it.

Several years ago, I tried to be active in the party. I didn’t want to talk about bake sales. I wanted to be involved with the process of local and state government. I saw such great opportunities and I was extremely excited. Let’s just say, I wasn’t treated badly but I also wasn’t given a voice and I didn’t feel heard. At that period of my life, I just softly walked away without anger but with some disappointment. I guess I was either too liberal or too strange.

One thing I try to do now is talk to people one person at a time. I can’t change minds but I can create a dialog. Sometimes there have been disastrous results other times it’s been more than ok. When only 4.4 percent of our county voted in the last election, I can’t help but wonder if older members of both parties have alienated some of the younger voters, and more financially disadvantaged voters. Just an observation I’m giving you here.

Older people, such as myself, must make a commitment to make sure that those people who want to be involved in parties are heard, something that I wasn’t given. That new ideas are sometimes agents of positive change. No matter what the side of the political aisle they sit on.

We are more fortunate here in one respect and that is there is a college with active individuals participating in the party system.

But those people, more times than not, move away because employment opportunities are limited here.

And what did I do to have a voice?

Well, eventually, I started a blog.

Incidentally, those young people are going to be in charge very soon. They better start being included on a local level because they are the ones who are going to sway the near future of this nation.

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9 responses

20 08 2008
Christian

I think the key for young people interested in politics is to not give a damn how welcoming or not the political infrastructure is. Politics is people. If the infrastructure isn’t “welcoming” it just means the environment is ripe for change and your brand of it. Any young person with a head for politics knows that and becomes an instant star with a brand of politics they want to see reflected in that infrastructure.

In the mid 1990s, I came late to politics, but when I did I made my way all the way to the White House. Not a single local person in politics helped make that happen. Not one. At some point, young people have to resist and reject the politics of needing to know someone, needing to have raised money, or needing to have “paid your dues” in order to matter or be considered for work in politics.

In a word, that system is bullshit.

The system that works and is highly rewarded is making your own way, creating the political reality you want to see, and not giving a damn who people think they are. You don’t need the party chair to introduce you to national leaders. Your work will jump over that bullshit and be the best introduction you can have to your future in politics.

Rock the world. Don’t let the world where handshakes are currency rock you. Leaders need people that rock, not roll under pressure, and real leaders surround themselves with people that cut through that kind of bullshit.

20 08 2008
newscoma

Excellent comment, Christian. I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for the feedback.

20 08 2008
Rachel

“becomes an instant star” – That’s the thing, although I think Christian makes some good points. Many people don’t want to be “stars,” or they don’t have the time or inclination to throw themselves completely into it, they just want to help how they can, and the system is often unwelcoming in accepting their help and ideas.

20 08 2008
newscoma

Rachel, you are right. Some folks just want to be involved. I think there you are on target once again.
It’s like people who donate anonymously. Some folks just want to help.

20 08 2008
LeftWingCracker

Well, having trod the path down here for 30-some years now, I can tell you it’s not for the faint of heart. Politicians are great about listening, then shrugging their shoulders.

Power will NEVER be given, it has to be TAKEN, and power is more what politics are about because without it, you get NOTHING done. To paraphrase TR, speak softly, but carry a loaded AK47.

20 08 2008
newscoma

Whoa. You need to write a post about that. That is AWESOME, Cracker.

20 08 2008
SBates

Within the rural local parties, there will always be people who may not feel as strongly as others within the political party. On the local front, veterans of the political parties seem to alienate the younger crowds because of the fear of change. I have seen first hand how to be appointed to an executive position within the party and make those changes happen. Once you do have the POWER, then others will either jump on board with you or they will alienate themselves. In a rural area, the way to gain the attention is to (sad, but true) garner the support of the local party you are affiliated with. You play their game for a short time, then you jump out ahead and literally make things happen. Without the willingness of others to become truly active in a party they have been members of for decades, the responsibility for public recognition falls on those whose voices have been squashed for so long. Times are changing and it rests in the hands of Generation X to “welcome” Generation Y to the mix to regain the enthusiasm about what it means to be a part of the political process to get others excited about it as well.
Sorry for the ramble.

20 08 2008
newscoma

SBates, I think you just summed it up perfectly.

20 08 2008
Lynnster

Hey wait a minute! We’re “older”? Eek.

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