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Posted by: Belliah K Theise

March 21, 2008
Article by :Freelance Writer
Pensacola, Florida

“Like A Storm”

I am amazed at what I have seen among young voters in this country. I am equally amazed that this is being ignored or overlooked in the media in favor of such nonsence as passports and preachers. These snacks of political mischief that our media continues to serve us. Something I like to call “the devil’s hor dourvers”. Of all of the political stories of this campaign season, the story of America’s youth activism and participation is both pridefully awe inspiring and historically significant.

The other day I was watching a live news report from the campus of a small college in North Carolina as I lay in bed. At that moment I felt as if I was actually watching a Saturday pregame sports rally. As a backdrop for the news commentators, there were several hundred excited students with signs, cheering in support of Senator Barack Obama and anticipating his forthcoming speech on their campus. Now get this… It was 11:57 PM here in the Panhandle of Florida where I was resting comfortably. Meaning of course, that it was nearly 1:00 AM in North Carolina! Let me say this a different way. When a bunch of college kids are hanging out at 1:00 AM awaiting a political rally I find that striking. They were not at home studying, or partying or surfing the internet. They were organinizing and participating politically! Perhaps this is not particularly significant to you. So let me delicately suggest that… “you start paying attention”.

The scene I have just describeded is being played out over and over again on hundreds of campuses throughout the country. Millions of America’s youth are actively participating and their votes and voices are having a tremendous impact. Say what you like about Generation X but what I know is, that they are a very bright and well educated generation of young people. More importantly, they are also extremely comfortable with their idenfifications and associations across social and ethnic landscapes. Two simple examples of this is truth, are music and their many multi-cultural and multi-racial friends, classmates and associates. This generation of young voters is far more comfortable with each other as people in general, as individuals, rather than members of any group. This is an aspect of their blended reality that is more significant than any prior generation in the history of this country.

Generation “X” is seemingly embracing Senator Obama because they not only believe in his message of change and his qualifications. They are not only embracing him because they agree with his political views and in particular, his pledge to end the war in Iraq. They are “also” embracing and supporting him because he “represents” and “looks like” them, and so many others among their friends, peers and intellectual and artistic icons.

Generation “X” is a mixture of “Americana” that we have not inspected and appreciated for its social intrigue. Nor for its mystical model of future generations. Generation “X” is what what America is becoming and what America was intended, if not destined to become.
At fifty four years old this whole “Obama” story is just phenomanal for me. However, this amazing story that is Senator Obama’s life, is not nearly as surprising for my niece who is a twenty year old “Junior” in college. Many of her close friends, classmates and associates are from international families, blended families, divorced families and from both challenged and affluent pasts. She herself, has a father who is African (born and raised in Gambia) who is an engineer, educated in the United States. Her mother (my sister) and our family are African Americans.

We Americans see things from many different perspectives and that is among the many wonderful things that make life in this country both enjoyable and challenging. It makes being an American special and wonderful in a variety of ways. That is also why is is so important to take note of what so many of our young people are currently engaged in politically. Their votes and voices and activism are sending a resounding message that deserves much more consideration. Not only should we be more loudly applauding their participation, we should be absorbing a very significant message. We should be observing the example of these youth. Our children and young family members are teaching us a lesson. They are demonstrating to America what America really is. They are “walking the American walk” in a way that is not affected or contrived. Why? Because the live in a technological world that is colorful and colorless. They do not carry around old scars of political or social ideology as inescapable baggage. Why? Because they have information, education and experiences that are new and very different. Different from those of the average (I dare not say “typical”) American of twenty or thirty years ago or beyond.

Generation “X” is having an incredible impact on this policical contest and they are a voting block that may well make the difference. This is to say nothing of the fact that they have influence. Influence on their parents and family members in encouraging their participation and swaying them to their way of thinking. It is a pretty powerful thing when your child invites you to have an adult discussion (about anything) and requests your support.

I am so very proud of America’s youth and what I have been priveliged to see them so intensely engaged in this political season. This is a historic story that I will continue to tell for years to come. I would like nothing more than to see this contest for the Democratic Party nomination end as soon as possible. In the meantime, I am focusing my attention not on the moldy media snacks, but on the “Obama” youth support movement.

I don’t care if you are a Democrat or Republican or Independent. I don’t care what your views on any particular candidate or issues are. You might want to just take a momement to look over your shoulder and observe and what our young people are doing.

They are gathering like a storm.

L. A. Walker

© Leon A. Walker, March 2008

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