Our generation: The 2008 vote

It’s time for our generation to be a little bit embarrassed. Here we are, 20-something-year-old college students taking the final steps of our long journeys toward adulthood. Despite the fact we are finally reaching maturity, it seems the world still views our generation as kids, incapable of acting and thinking like adults.

I’m talking about the fact that the Republicans had a “debate” on YouTube and that nearly every candidate now has a Facebook profile and their own YouTube channel. I don’t think it’s really stepping out on a limb to say that these new political tactics are specifically targeted toward our generation.

The 2008 candidates are even creeping into MySpace. One example is lesser-known candidate Nick Farmer. Farmer’s page embodies what is wrong with the need to use social media to connect to our generation. The page contains very little depth on his “conservative Democrat” views but does have an abundance of pictures of him with his baby, a Rascal Flatts song called “Revolution” and even a JFK banner quote from pimp-my-profile.com. It’s not just the lesser-known candidates either.

Hillary Clinton’s MySpace page has information about her ability to make soft scrambled eggs, her need to organize her closets, her weakness for chocolate and even how you can add her as a friend before you vote for her! If you scroll all the way to the bottom and look very carefully, you can even find links to her views on a few select issues. Even Mitt Romney has a MySpace page immediately flaunting his classic American love for the music of Elvis Presley.

The question that arises is if these candidates are trying new avenues to get our generation involved or if they are playing us – the generation that gets a lot of news from Comedy Central.

Maybe I’m alone, but I think it’s the second. I think it’s shameful that our generation is seen this way. What is even more shameful is the fact that it’s legitimate. Over the last week I’ve asked several people whom they were supporting in the 2008 presidential election. In nearly every case I was told either a specific candidate or a party. I then asked why? Roughly 90 percent of the time I couldn’t get a clear or specific answer. For the 10 percent of the time I got a more specific answer it was often a very general issue that the person associated with a party. For example, one answer was: “I’m voting Republican, because I think abortion should be made illegal.” Another said, “I’m voting Democrat because I think we need to end the war.”

Right now we are approaching a critical year for our generation. In 2008, we will vote in a presidential election – the first for many of us. How we represent ourselves in this election will determine how we are viewed for a long time to come. Will we be known as the YouTube generation or will we be the self-informed generation – I’ll vote for the latter. Keep watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert but start reading and watching other news sources and inform yourself for the 2008 elections. It’s time to let the world know that we are ready to be treated like adults.

The above column, by Joe Wright appeared in the N.C. State Technician yesterday.