The leadership team at the Loft had a meeting with a polling expert from our church. We’d done a fairly extensive poll to try to get a rough picture of what our church was doing right and wrong, and he was interpreting the results for us. We were talking about the incorporation of young adults into the church and trying to get them to sign up and become official members. It was at that point he said something really interesting:
He said that young people today – people in their mid-twenties – generally refuse to incorporate in any aspect, which is why Obama will likely have some sort of trouble on election day. The people that are his strongest supporters are also the least likely to show up and vote for him.
I imagine he’s right. I am in no way a typical anything, but I comprehend exactly the difficulties Obama faces. The problem is not passion, but rather diligence. Twenty-somethings will expound passionately on the reasons Obama is a better candidate, or the problem with government today being greed/warmongering/stupidity/etc, or Bush’s general evilness, but find actually registering and going to vote a chore they need not take part in. Registering makes you part of the system. It makes you part of the problem.
Ultimately, we’ve become a generation that believes it’s more important what you think than what you do.
Whether Obama wins or loses, part of the election day coverage will focus on Obama’s turnout being weaker than expected. No one will focused on the general disenfranchisement of the younger voting set. Instead, Fox News will call it “people waking up and realizing that they just can’t vote for a feeble, ill-equipped candidate like Obama,” a strategy Bill O’Reilly will refer to as “common sense.” CNN will call it “closet racism rearing its head,” and do specials on it for a week. MSNBC will call it “out-and-out racism,” and then find a way to mention Bush’s name in the same sentence.
The first “are young people going to go the polls or not?” article should be appearing in your local paper/subscription to Newsweek in about two weeks.