No wonder the young don't vote

Opinion: Columns

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By John Hubbuch

A survey by Harvard University's Institute of Politics shows that young-adult voters are less motivated than at any time in at least 14 years, with fewer than 1 in 4 saying they will definitely cast ballots in November's midterm congressional races. I'm surprised that any young person would vote in any election.

Government has completely failed to address the key problems that confront the younger generation and their children. The world heats. The ice melts. The seas rise. The storms rage. Everyone with a brain knows that climate disaster awaits, yet government does nothing other than increase domestic oil and gas production. Carbon credit is a pipe dream. Pun intended. It sure seems like the older generation doesn't give a damn about the future generations.

The other big problem is the growing gap between rich and poor. Most kids graduating from high school, even college, can't find a decent job or buy a home. Government won't extend unemployment benefits or raise the minimum wage. Meanwhile the 1 percent becomes the .1 percent. Capitalism has failed to produce the promised good life. Instead we lionize lucky Ivy League dropouts and CEOs who earn lavish bonuses playing a rigged game. 

It is easy to see why the young might be just a bit cynical about the political process. You don't need to be a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing. It kind of looks like the system is designed to preserve the well being of the old at the expense of the young. Just compare the retirement benefits of seniors compared to the young. 

There is hope. We Boomers will eventually die, but it's going to take a while.

And it's not likely to get better for the young in the future. The dashed hopes of an Obama presidency and the prospect of more Bushes and Clintons next time around has to be discouraging. 

It's discouraging to me and I'm old.

So it strikes me as completely rational that young people should spend lots of time on social media, following the Khardashians on Twitter, watching Game of Thrones and seeking the perfect hot dog. They should have as little to do with government as possible. 

Of course, they should pay taxes and fill out the census, but do not watch the news, vote or run for office. That is a fool's game, and will only result in frustration and disappointment. 

I think these non-voting young folks may have figured this out.

Reader Comments

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joe from south oak park  

Posted: May 18th, 2014 10:51 PM

Cook County is a great example of why many young folks are disinclined to vote. The Machine reigns and all others reside. Many a young idealistic democrat with ideas different than the Chicago machine's status quo, has found out just what they are up against. On another note, the NRA on not wildly unpopular among gun owners... it's a very well run lobbying organization that many gun owners support. in my experience, I've found that that they are much more responsive to members than HRC.

John Abbott from Oak Park  

Posted: May 15th, 2014 9:15 AM

Nonsense: our kids are growing up in a world of governmental dysfunction and error largely because our electoral process is so dominated by an active minority of voters who closely follow their narrow interest-based scripts. In such ways, for example, has the wildly unpopular NRA gained its extraordinary leverage over our nation's gun laws. And Hubbuch counsels that the best answer to this madness is to abstain & follow the Kardashians instead? What garbage.

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