Tuesday, November 4, 2008

6: Electioneering

I voted for the first time today. I didn't do it for the sticker, and the free goods that I can get today by showing it off. I didn't do it because of peer pressure. I didn't do it because of the dozens of people who would come up to me in Dublin, in Prague, in Germany and will the American people through me to make a change. I didn't do it because Kevin Drew/Broken Social Scene asked me to. I did it because it felt right. And it's done, and tonight when I watching the results come in while I serve beers and burgers, I'll know that I did something.

I keep thinking about staying in Budapest, and watching coverage of the nomination process in a room of Americans, Brits, and Canadians. And there was one Canadian arguing with us Americans, stating how much better we think we are, how self important, when really the rest of the world doesn't care who we elect because we're all the same, anyway. The Brit spoke up and reminded the Canadian that actually, it does matter. It felt so surreal to be in that moment, to be watching other people debate something I'd always dismissed as common place. I actually felt to be an American, carry over I assume from earlier that day, when I saw graffiti that commanded 'Yankees go home'- the sudden anger at the confusion of who I am and who I am not, who I will always be, and my own politics cast off in favor of assumptions.

It's odd that as newspapers everywhere are calling upon the youth vote (and for once the politicians are listening), and the youth are responding, I'm researching youth movements at the beginning of the century, when the term teenager was first being developed, and in present day Balkans and the surging fascist movement there. Do I mean to say that today's American youth are fascists or future Hitler Jugend? No. But it is interesting the similarity in quotes, as generations recognize the revolutionary potential of the young.

I hope, more than anything, that the youth movement doesn't die out now. There's so much potential to keep going, keep pushing for change. Was it Spinoza who declared that revolution is the only way to significantly change a democracy? Or was it Kant? Either way, I want this brewing to bubble, to churn and make positive change more than just throwing collective weight around.

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