We’re all well aware of the stigma that follows politicians – in short, they’re lying, backstabbing, avaricious tools. For the most part, that statement is true. So… let’s move on to another stigma!
OK, so many of us think they’re all self serving and don’t give a damn what the common man has to say. I was one of those who concurred. However, just yesterday, I was shocked by what I saw as I drove down the road from my house: A politician sitting on the side of the road waiting to talk to the common man!
I had to rub my eyes and double, triple, quadruple take. The politician? Lorence Wenke, a Republican running for a Michigan State Senate seat. My first thought was “It’s probably someone sitting in on his behalf, and if it is really him, he’s probably full of platitudes and biased BS.” I had to find out for myself.
My fiancee and I approached him and he greeted us and asked us to sit down. For the better part of an hour, we discussed his stance on things like taxes, the economy in general, and other extraneous political topics. I expected the man to praise George W. Bush to no end – but he was criticizing him!
WHAT? I like this guy!
I had to clean out my ears and ask him to repeat himself. Now, don’t get too excited – he was critical of Obama as well. My point is, there was very little bias in his rhetoric. He talked straight and didn’t favor one side or the other.
As the conversation progressed, his forte seemed to be his fear for my generation (I’m 19). I could safely assume that I was one of few people my age that actually stopped to chat. He stressed that if things continue the way they are economically, my generation will essentially be screwed.
However, I think if things continue the way they are SOCIOLOGICALLY as well, we’ll be doubly screwed. Politicians during the 2008 elections used social media such as Facebook to their advantage to encourage the youth to vote. The result? A paltry one to six percent increase in youth voter turnout from the 2004 elections. Personally, I credit that to Obama’s demeanor and overall image; being more appealing to a younger audience in contrast to two old fashioned old men.
I left the conversation with a new perspective on politicians (marginally), and a stronger desire to wake up this Facebook and touch-screen infatuated generation. Sadly, I don’t see much of a chance of that happening – if these politicians couldn’t inspire teens to vote with SOCIAL MEDIA, which is basically the average teenager’s life – what the hell could I do?
I could be sententious and evolve this article into a harangue about how everyone around me is lazy and I’m not, but I won’t – I’m not the most active, productive member of society myself. However, this is the generation that has to pay for the sins of the idiots that precede us; this is the generation I’m stuck in.
So, should I be complacent with idiocy, inaction and doubt? Or, at the risk of being a preachy loser, should I stand up and raise my voice?
Time will tell, but time is running out. You know, they say 2012 could be doomsday. For my generation, doomsday seems like a welcome notion right about now.