Over much of this primary season, if there’s one constant I’ve seen from various self-identified young people (under 30), it’s that the Democratic Party needs to reach out to them, to do what they want before they’ll consider voting for Democrats. There usually follows a laundry list of demands, along with saying that the party should select candidates who would “excite the base,” or more properly, excite them. They even have reasons why the party isn’t doing that, things like “corporate control,” “the Establishment,” and of course the ever popular “Blue Dogs.” The reality why the party isn’t reaching out them is what they don’t realize or want to admit: They have it backwards.
Tag Archives: political activism
Over the course of my life, I’ve belonged to many organizations, and held offices in a number of them. When I was 15, I was elected to the board of directors for my church (no, I didn’t seek it), and at 16 I was a delegate to the state convention. I’ve been on committees, boards, and even President of hobby clubs, professional organizations, and social groups. I’ve been “just a member” of many of them, and happy to do just that. But the one thing they all had in common was that you had to be a member to have any say in what the organization did, and who they elected. It’s a simple concept, and one that apparently is lost on a number of people these days.
Over on Salon, there’s an opinion column by a self-described “leftist feminist” who spends a lot of words justifying her “principled stand” for not voting. Seriously? It’s all the same garbage I’ve ever heard from every so-called leftist who thinks that not voting sends a message, and that will lead to changes and conversations. Why is it garbage? As I’ve said often here, if you don’t vote, you don’t matter. No politician or political party will care about your principles, no one will be “starting a conversation” with you. You have removed yourself from any conversations. It’s only by voting that you get to do all that. But in reading through numerous screeds over the past few years touting making a “principled stand” by not voting, I notice that they’re taking certain things for granted. They shouldn’t.
One of the things I see all over the liberal sites is long-winded complaints about “corporatists” and how corporations “rule the party.” I’d gather from their attacks on corporations that none of them work for one. Now, I can (and d0) complain about corporate behavior on specific incidents, and I’m more than willing to admit that the mentality of focusing on short term gains has taken over to the detriment of both corporations and the public. I also think Citizens United was a terrible decision, and yes, we do need to think of ways to limit or overturn that. That said, the phrase “corporatist” gets thrown around way too much, and often ignores some very important things.
In numerous posts here, I’ve hammered on the importance of voting. Regular, every single election, walking into the polling place, voting. I don’t just do it here or elsewhere on the internet, I do it in person as well. You see, if you want political action, if you want politicians to listen to you, if you want to be considered “the base,” then you have to vote. Otherwise, all those things you want don’t happen. But here’s the thing I keep running into, the biggest excuse: “I’m not excited.” Usually followed by a complaint that the party should pick someone who would “excite the base.” Mind you, except for presidential candidates they frequently can’t name who they think would be exciting enough for them. The result is that they usually end up not voting, and then reappear to complain because whatever they were advocating before the election isn’t happening.