View Full Version : Letter to Ed: My Election Experience, Internet As New Tool for Voters

06-25-2007, 01:31 AM
Hopefully this isn't the only place it's ever published :>)

To the editor:

I am a 27 year old Tulsa resident, writing to share with your readers my experience thus far with the 2008 Presidential Election.

I have spent the past 10 years avoiding politics like the plague, in large part becuase of two valuable lessons taught to me in public schools:

1. People in charge often use their power to add rules intending to solve 'hot' problems. The issues are not necessarily important in the long run, and the rules do not necessarily truly solve the problem.

2. If you try to point out the rules that don't make sense, you at best get nowhere, and at worst get in trouble.

It has become clear to our generation that politicians in our current system are by and large a fraudulent bunch, bought and paid for by lobbyists and special interest groups. The widespread use of phrases such as 'pandering' show that deception has become an 'art'. Government, politics, and the politicians themselves are increasingly unpopular in this country -- and especially among the young and aware. But the veil is being lifted from the eyes of the citizenry through the power of the Internet.

The YouTube kids, the MySpace kids, and the somewhat older MTV kids (like me) are most certainly disillusioned. Ask some kids what they think about politicians, and the vast majority will tell you -- they are crooks. Kids at coffee shops, dancing in clubs, or singing along at concerts operate among each other with a 'don't mess with me, I won't mess with you' approach. We're quite friendly and respectful of each other, for the most part -- but we're almost unanimously disgusted by government and have grown used to politicians failing to use common sense. Perhaps most importantly, we understand that the strangers in Washington being paid by X lobbyists to pass Y bills don't really care about our house payments, our hospital bills, our our retirement.

The youth will obviously be left to lead this country in the coming years -- surely there are those among us who will take on that responsibility, despite our disillusionment?

It is with this common attitude that I tuned into a recent Republican Presidential 'debate'. I took debate in high school, and I remember what it was like, so I know that these 'things' on T.V. are not debates. I was fully prepared to see the media-anointed 'front-runners' get the majority of the speaking time, and therefore experience an unbalanced evening dominated by the usual pandering and circumlocution that has come to define 'being a politician' in our age. The stiff suits did not disappoint.

Among the 10 'conservative' Republicans who took stage, the vast majority are unabashedly calling for bigger government and more laws to solve most of the issues facing America. We were taught 'conservative' = small federal government. We were even taught that the founding fathers recommended a small federal government.

Much to my surprise I did find one man who spoke differently. He was consistently speaking of a return to the Constitution, and small government -- which was music to my ears. But best of all, when a question was asked of him, he answered it directly - without deception or avoidance. I wasn't sure if I agreed with every detail, but I was certainly impressed that he didn't skirt the issues. I remember thinking he sounded more like a wise grandpa or friend than a politician, and that's what I've been looking for.

More than anything else, I have been waiting for someone to TELL ME THE TRUTH -- and here was a man doing just that.

I got pretty excited, but silently warned myself, knowing that there are charismatic speakers who prove under scrutiny to be so much 'hot air.' He got far less than 1/10th of the air time during this debate, so I took it into my own hands. Like any of my internet-savvy peers would, I Googled him. Instantly, I had access to videos of his appearances on television and in congress, 'issue statements' at his campaign headquarters website, a text archive of every speech he has ever given to congress, and a record of every vote he has ever made.

Much to my surprise, after several solid days of research, I found that I can support this man -- and not just on this bill or that bill -- but because he has a 100% consistent voting record. Honesty and integrity is more important to me in a leader than specific policy anyway. A dishonest man cannot be convinced he is wrong, and will press on in an unwinnable situation, like Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam. Being afraid to 'lose' a war is no reason to keep our honorable soldiers at risk. An honest man with integrity is willing to admit he is wrong, and change his policy when it doesn't work. However, that's not the real point of my story.

My real point is that our generation doesn't rely on the mainstream media coverage of candidates anymore. Many older, non-internet users do, however, and they are therefore limited in the information they can access. What the television calls 'first-tier' candidates, among the younger generation, are only that because they are claimed as such. We find out about candidates because our friends email us about them. We support a candidate because we trust them, and agree with what they say -- not because the television tells us they have the best chance to win.

My newfound interest in civic discourse, although initially kicked off by a television debate, has been sustained and even invigorated by the resources of the Internet. In fact, I have been an active supporter of my favorite candidate, have participated in local activist meetup groups, and passed out campaign material to friends, family, and strangers -- all without the use of telephone or television. At least 500 people have heard about my favorite candidate, from my lips or my computer, since I last watched coverage of the election on television, or picked up a newspaper.

The Internet is currently under the control of the people who use it -- with no federal oversight or regulation -- and it's thriving that way. It's very important to realize that the Internet is now operating exactly as our Constitution says our country should -- for the people, by the people. It is therefore not surprising that there is support in Congress for the government to regulate the Internet. Power in the hands of the people is and always has been the greatest threat to a ballooning state.

For those able and willing to use it, the Internet provides ample information, allows the formation of independent opinion, and provides the means to organize grassroots activist involvement.

This is the model of the future of politics. Luckily, it is also the model of a free society.

Man from La Mancha
06-25-2007, 02:15 AM
You've brought tears to the eye's of a 70's man. I just thought all of the youth out there was the me generation till I started to observe the Ron Paul happening. So wrong I am. How is this spreading across college campuses, would you know? What are the reaction among the young people you have spoken to. There could be hope after all. Could the Republican party be taken over by a mass of young people joining? Thank you

06-25-2007, 03:11 AM
Young people who are willing to put forth energy are finding truth, and disseminating it electronically. The rate of 'eye opening' is steadily increasing (partially because of the increased volume and popularity of 'live journals' or 'blogs').

I must admit that in this letter I have partially used an approach of 'say it's true, and it will become so', and a great many people my age do not understand this entirely -- but I do sincerely believe that the state run schools are teaching the kids that state-run stuff doesn't work.

I also will admit that the Ron Paul Revolution has shown me that there are far more who think like I do than I realized -- especially people my age. Intelligent, rational, non-emotion driven conversations are occurring more and more frequently among the youth. And meetup.com & similar web tools are making it easy to become active. We are starting to feel like we actually CAN make a difference against the brick wall of big government.

The 'me first' generation certainly exists, but I believe they will in large part not vote until they realize it's actually important, and will have access to truth once they do -- via an unregulated and uncensored internet. In the meantime, we will vote for them.

THE BIG PROBLEM IS 'ROCK THE VOTE'. MTV encourages young people to vote, saying it is their civic duty. They too often leave out the part where it is a voter's civic duty to become informed about the Constitution and the candidates, and they too often leave out the voice of what major media deems to be 'second tier' candidates.

The good part is that the information age has made it easy to uncover media bias, and has made censorship of print nearly impossible. Thus the rush to regulate the medium by less than honorable leaders.

We often hear that the Internet draws Libertarian types -- I rather think that those with access to information, and willingness and ability to critically analyze it, are likely to head that direction naturally(you know, like the Founding Fathers?).

I am no longer in college, and was in a state of intentional withdrawal from politics and the news in general at the time, so I don't have my finger on the pulse to fully answer your question.

I will offer my impressions:

Seems like there are an increasing number of professors who criticize our foreign policy.

At my meetups, I have been impressed by college kids being more knowledgable than I expect. I hear the occasional misunderstanding of where Libertarianism falls on the conservative/liberal spectrum and stuff like that, but all in all pretty good.

At college age, there seems to be less of the types who prefer one brand of religious fervor to any other than there seems to be, on average, by folks older than that. This could be that they haven't yet had a personal spiritual awakening within a particular faith yet, or it could be that they are exposed to more spiritual ideas from many different types of people than has ever been possible before (how many over 30 went to school with Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and Jews at the same time? I think it's occurring now more than ever)

There seem to be more interracial/interreligious relationships (not just bf/gf, but friendship too) now than ever before, I believe. I have been among several groups of mostly white friends of college age who have one or several Muslim friends, black friends, or oriental friends. When race or religion pops up, generally it is in one of two ways: respectful discussion of differences, or SNL/MadTV like satirical ribbing of obvious stereotypes (taken with good humor almost always, and more than I would expect when it might seem over the line at times). Dave Chappelle, who is the Richard Pryor of our generation, has done wonders in this direction.

Kids just get along with each other, and my impression is that they are pretty much operating in what amounts to a sub-anarchy -- they set their own rules, such as 'narc'ing (tattling) is taboo, and are pretty much universally together against authority.

i don't mean violently against authority, but sometimes in ways that aren't sensible. to the remark, "i got picked up for a D.U.I." you're likely to hear "that sucks." instead of "man, you gotta quit doing that - remember xxx died driving drunk." But the first answer shows that the state law is not really the law of the youth -- it's just the rules they have to live under.

so far as whether the GOP could be taken over by the youth, I'm not sure. A great number of those who are likely to truly understand how a society should be governed are also those who are disillusioned by the two-party system. Much hinges on Ron Paul's success, IMO.

Man from La Mancha
06-25-2007, 07:59 AM
Thank you for your opinion I really appreciate it. Please people watch these views of Ron. http://www.roguegovernment.com/news.php?id=2720 a great view what Ron believes on 06 22 07

Man from La Mancha
06-25-2007, 04:19 PM
I found this posted last not it aspired me.