Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Youth Vote, again

I don't know why is is but every time there is an election there is another bout of gabbling about getting out the "youth vote". The theory is that the untapped youth vote is massive and any party that manages to get that crowd on board would cruise to a certain win in whatever race they were running in. Maybe, maybe. A look at the 2008 presidential election in the US would seem to bear this out. Some polls have suggested that it was younger people who tended to vote for President Obama so there may some slight truth to the theory. Of course, this is if you don't look at it too closely or think about it too much.

In 2010, two whole years after 2008, the President and his party needed the younger voters again, and they didn't show. Too busy playing video games or watching "reality TV" or something I suspect because hey, they voted two years before! What more do you want? I mean, like, gosh. That's the youth vote right there.

So now it is all going on, again, in the frozen north. All three parties (and the Green Party too, I guess) are talking "youth vote". They have to get the youth vote out. One of the leaders, the NDPs Jack Layton, has even been heard using "young-talk"; squirting out words like "bling", "hashtag" and "fail", whatever the hell all that is supposed to mean ("hashtag"? I can't even be bothered to look that up).I mean, WTF? Jack Layton is honestly so delusional that he thinks that grunting out a couple of "youth-isms" is going to pull in the suckers? He would probably be better off saying "23 ski-doo" or "pass the mints, Benny". You know, go for the geriatric vote. At least that is a group that does vote.

Some of what I have read indicates that the youth vote theory rests on how today's youth is so connected, what with texting and all the other social medias available. It is "easier" to be in touch so the assumption is that they are in touch. The experts point to Egypt and rumble at each other how so much of what happened there involved the Internet and social media, which didn't really make any sense to me. News reports out of Egypt at the time indicated that the unemployment rate was ultra high (and probably still is) so how is it that all these unemployed people are affording to spend their time on Facebook, or whatever, to arrange protests? Well, whatever, but if you think about it for a second all this yapping about being connected is a steaming pile of crap. I was out at lunch a few weeks back with some co-workers and at a nearby table there were six young people, all texting happily away. So, if ignoring the person sitting two feet away from you is "connecting"? I don't think so and while that is hardly an original observation, is is an accurate one.

The Facebook "phenomenon" is rarely even worth considering. There has been talk about setting up Facebook groups as if saying you "like" something is the exact same as actually doing something. Sorry guys, but it's not. In fact, burning daylight on Facebook is the exact opposite of "doing something". It is sort of like being a lump, actually. Facebook, or Twitter, or any of that stuff as an indicator of youth involvement is less than useless.

Another point I have heard made is that our Canadian youth will be inspired by what has and is happening across the world, with some governments falling and others seriously worried by the actions of young people in the streets. Right. Someone is actually dopey enough to compare someone who actually has no future other than struggle and sees him or herself as having nothing to lose, to a self-satisfied goof whose major worry in life is that the Internet connection isn't quite fast enough and mommy and daddy are too cheap to buy that huge flat-screen TV? Give your head a shake. The vision of someone who doesn't have easy access to non-toxic water and who doesn't know where the next meal is coming from is just naturally going to be a little more focused and realistic than someone who has never has these worries. There is no comparison.

So, am I saying that all young people are like that? of course not. That would be the same sort of gross over-generalization that people who talk about getting the youth vote out use. As a block, the youth vote does not exist and it never has. What example fro the last fifty years proves me wrong (other than President Obama, and I have already pointed out just how long the attention span lasted on that)? The baby boomers would be the first group there and in the States that would be the Age of Nixon, followed by Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, then Bush II. This is an example of the youth vote at work? I don't think that any of these guys were youth vote magnets. In Canada maybe you could point to Trudeau in 1968 (Trudeau-mania), but after Pierre it has been dud city right up to the current head toad in the pond. People, including the young who bother to vote, vote the way they do because of their beliefs and not because they belong to a certain age demographic. The youth vote as some sort of block vote is an illusion, and that's as true as it gets.

Anyway... Humouroceros


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