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We, the sheeple?

Seen elseforum, posted by an eighteen-year-old signing himself 'Cambreath'...

I am eighteen.

And I am ashamed that 76% of my generation cannot be bothered to raise a hand. Only 24% - less than one quarter - of us voted in 2006. When older people describe our generation as apathetic and lazy, I am ashamed that I cannot refute them. I am ashamed that they are correct. Our generation is the most apathetic in American history, but we have the most to be concerned about. We will be around long after today’s politicians are dead and gone, yet we stand idly by while they trample on our rights, destroy our planet, crash our economy, and ruin our future.

This country is unique in the world, in that we have the right to vote. If our government – by, for, and of the people – fails to serve us, the people, then we have the right to change the government. Around the world, people suffering under the yoke of tyranny dream of the rights that we squander. Around the world, the worst fear of tyrants is not the bullet but the ballot. Around the world, in Iran and Kashmir and Taiwan and Saudi Arabia and Rwanda and Kosovo, where elections, if they are held at all, are rigged to keep tyrants in power, people dream of that which is our birthright. Our birthright which we squander. Previous generations fought and bled and died, at Lexington and Concord and Yorktown to establish our rights, then again at Bull Run and Antietam and Gettysburg, and again at Omaha Beach and Pearl Harbor and the Bulge and Iwo Jima, and again in Korea and Vietnam, to preserve those rights. They die today in Iraq and Afghanistan, to keep our birthrights safe. And with our apathy and our laziness we spit upon their sacrifice. Men and women have died for us, and we have an obligation to their ghosts to preserve the nation they died to protect. The best way for us to fulfill that obligation is to use our rights, the most sacred and fundamental is the right to vote, to change our government.

Aaron Sorkin wrote: “Decisions are made by those who show up.” If you fail to show up, you do not have a say in the decisions that we make together. If you do not vote, then you vote for everything you oppose, and you vote against everything you support. Even more, a refusal to vote is a message to the politicians seeking to take away our rights and our freedoms: “I am a sheep. Herd me as you will.” Our entire generation is sending the politicians this message, this message that they are free to destroy our country. It is past time for us to stand up and be counted among the citizens of this country. The only way we can do that is to vote.

Why do they ignore us? They ignore us because we do not vote. The single most feared demographic to any politician is the senior citizens. If any politician angers seniors, then that politician’s career is finished. But us, they can ignore at will. Why? Because we do not vote. We have the most to lose, but we do not stand up and take charge of our government. Our government is built around the people’s control of our government. But in order to take control of what is rightfully ours, we must stand up. We must raise our hands and raise our voices and cast our votes. We must get involved. We must fulfill our birthright and take the reins of our government.

I'm feeling...: impressedimpressed

Hey, I thought WE (Generation X/MTV Generation) were the most apathetic generations ever? Who be stealin' our reputation?

According to the Statistical Handbook of the United States, in the 2004 presidental election, 41% of the population 18-20 reported that they voted, more than in 2002, 1996, or 1992. Ages 21-24 came in at 42.5%, higher than 2002 and 1996, but lower than 1992 (45.7%). It does appear that in 1994, 1998, and 2002 Congressional elections, the percentage in those age groups voting went down.

Very passionate.

Just one criticism; citizen's right to vote is not unique to the USA.

This country is unique in the world, in that we have the right to vote.

WTF??! Is this a joke? Is the author really that ignorant?

I've seen some stunningly ignorant people in my time, but this is so egregious that it takes my breath away... and makes me uninclined to pay the slightest bit of attention to the rest of the content.

Good lord, I wonder what it is I've been doing at elections all these years?

Freedomhouse.org's 2005 ratings put the number of "free" liberal
democracies (countries with high ratings on both civil rights and political rights, including some form of representative democracy) at around 90.

Only a few of them are older liberal democracies than the US, and many are only a few decades old, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

Where could such a complete lack of awareness of the world come from?

In fact, The Economist's Democracy Index doesn't even rate the US among the most democratic nations (index above 9); it ranks 17th.

Do that poor misguided child a favour and point them at the Democracy entry in wikipedia. It's a good place to start!

(Some people rate the US as the oldest liberal democracy, but it's a contentious point - if you define things in the right way, it is, but if you change things a bit, it isn't.)

Well, if you define democracies the way, say, S.M. Stirling defines countries, the young chap might be right…

Even Stirling (fruitbatty as that definition was) at least admits the existence of countries like Japan, Barbados and Britain, clearly recognizing that the USA is not unique in that sense.

In my mind that sets him well apart from the even more outrageous claim of being in the only country where people can vote.

It scares me just how MUCH many people on line these days look to Wikipedia as infalible fact... Not to say I looked or found them wrong. It is just the principle.

Definitely. I forwarded a copy to all three of my teens, although I know at least two of them vote regularly. It bears thought for us all, really. Now if I only believed my votes in the US really counted and the elections weren't rigged....