Young people tend to think their vote doesn’t matter (compared to the views of older Americans).
Which is a shame. Because their cynicism is directly tied to public policy, which favors older Americans and, quite frankly, is responsible for younger ones getting the shaft these days.
But it is what it is. If young Americans don’t care enough to vote, then I’m not about to feel sorry for them when their government sticks it to them. Decisions have consequences. Both good and bad. Surely they can’t be so stupid not to realize that.
I also don’t get worked up about it because I realize being politically active involves more than voting. A whole lot more. In fact, the case can be made that our vote is a minor political act in the overall scheme of things.
So what’s potentially even more important than voting?
Follow this NYT link to a very cool map that will tell you how your precinct voted in the last election.
I was surprised to learn I live in a blue precinct, albeit not by much and, moreover, one that is surrounded by red. But at least it’s an improvement over the political inclinations of the last place we lived (Loveland, Colorado).
I see that the places where I spent most of my childhood years (south-central Pennsylvania) are solidly red (not surprisingly). I further note that many of my high school friends never returned to the area after college. Migration plays a big role in creating political bubbles.
Tribalism seems to be part of the human condition. There’s no way around it. But when it leads to closed minds, we all suffer. Which is why I’d rather not live in a provincial area (although I have, the worst being a short stint in Virginia).
Even more important than that, however, is to remind myself frequently of how little I actually know. And of the difference between narrative and reality.
In times such as these, narratives play an outsized role, and people are only thinly tethered to reality.