Plea to the young people

We must rise from our slumber and cast a ballot generations previous have died for.

We are Generation Y. We are the sons and daughters of baby boomers. We are the grandsons and granddaughters of the “Greatest Generation.” Seventy-two million of us were born between 1977 and 1994. We have been lucky so far, growing up when the Cold War was ending and the economy looked more like blue sky than looming storm clouds. And so far, we have contributed nothing to history, except a few footnotes about school shootings, drug use and mindless materialism. That can change today. Today, we can show we care about this country and our futures.

Historically 18- to 29-year-olds have had the lowest voter turnout. The highest turnout ever was when George McGovern lost to Richard Nixon in 1972. Fifty-eight percent of young voters turned out. Blame apathy for politics. Blame ignorance of the process. Blame increased mobility and busy life styles. In the end, there are no excuses this year, because this is the most important election of our lives.

The importance of this election cannot be overstated. This election will decide if we will be slave dogs to a sickening deficit, if we will be drafted into an unjust war and if we will get Social Security. This election will decide if we are to be a nation of humanity or a nation of hate-mongers. This election is a clash of ideologies and conflict of class. Our parents’ generation loved us so much, that it will leave us with an energy crisis, sickening debt, a broken health-care system and increasing tuition. We’re becoming adults now, and it’s time we start caring for ourselves.

Generation Y is being defined by its pop culture and not by its social passions. Our comfort has been killing us. Our problems will not go away if we ignore them. We can see them on the horizon, and they only get bigger with each hour wasted. With each hour, one of us gets closer to death in Iraq. With each hour, a child is born to an uncertain future.

We can decide this election for President George W. Bush or for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry. Two paths are diverged in a wood, and one half of the country will drag the other half down a path by the neck. Will we die paralyzed by Sept. 11, 2001, and mesmerized by unreality television? Or will we rise from our slumber and cast a ballot generations previous have died for? Voting is the only option.