Vote today for the rest of your life

For your mothers, children and for yourselves – please vote today.

I’ve been working at the University so long that I was tear-gassed in the antiwar protests of 1972. I am the age of most students’ mothers and some grandmothers. I think you should have as much fun as you can without hurting yourself (or others) too much between 18 and 30, because you will be a grown up for a very, very long time. I had fun, lots. But I remember the awful awakening of consciousness when my first friend died in Vietnam.

Things are more dangerous now than I have ever seen them in my lifetime, for both life and liberty. Over 100 soldiers died in this unnecessary war just this past month, most of them your age – and the age of my 23 year old son. Those who survive but come home with catastrophic injury will be around you the rest of your lives – you will see them on park benches and street corners. This Congress has voted to cut their veteran’s benefits. 

The debt this war is leaving as it pays the private companies of Halliburton, Bechtel and Kellogg, Brown and Root outrageous amounts in war profits will be your debt to pay. A government agency has just determined that we should spend our tax money telling people up to age 29 to abstain from sex. Embryonic stem cell research, which could cure the genetic disorder Neurofibromatosis that my son has, (probably caused by his Marine Corps Vietnam veteran father’s exposure to Agent Orange) is being prevented by people who reject science as valid and equate blastocysts with babies. Fifty percent of my grandchildren will have NF and 50 percent of theirs and so on. It may not matter; he has no health insurance. 

Every day brings another sign that the earth may succumb completely to environmental assault. Freedom of and from religion is being threatened. The righteous and hypocritical are advocating repression of your freedom of expression – in art, music, speech and love.

Your education costs at least 15 times more than mine did and it will only get worse as the plan to make education available only to the upper classes again comes true.

I am asking you – for your mothers, for the children you will have, for yourselves – please vote today. It may be the most important election in our history. Your vote is very important.

Sarah Johnson is a University employee. Please send comments to [email protected]