We’ve been bombarded by ads and newspaper articles telling us this election is the “most important election in this lifetime,” but most pundits and experts have yet to tell me why this election should matter to my generation. As the writers, business people, decision makers, comedians, parents, police officers, musicians, engineers and peacemakers of the future, we will be most affected by the leadership in the next four years. This election is our chance to decide a piece of our fate. Iraq is our Vietnam. Terrorism is our communism. Gay and lesbian rights are the new civil rights. The new wave of political excitement is our movement. Until only a few years ago we were searching for our own struggle. We thought we could skate by apathetically- without a cause- but history had more in store for us.
[sarah2] Here is my attempt, feeble as it may be, to define for my generation why we need to care about this election, why it will affect the rest of our lives, and what rights we need to fight to preserve.
On the Economy
With the Bush Administration the first to have a net job loss since Hoover , our generation needs to be concerned for our own welfare. Will you be able to work in your desired field at a deserving wage when you graduate? Perhaps, but what about those less fortunate to attend this university, what is their worth? Maybe it is in the low-paying, low-wage manufacturing jobs that the President gloats about creating lately. I know that I won’t benefit any time soon from a tax cut for the rich and powerful, and even if I did, it would be undeserving. Am I the only one that sees a giant tax cut for the wealthy unnerving, short sighted and fatalistic? Perhaps our President, whoever it may be, should think less about wealth “trickling down” and more about redistributing it to those that need it- a dangerous, almost Socialist thought- I know. Yet, growing poverty and unemployment rates are cause for a more interventionist government. Oh, and if don’t think that extreme poverty still exists, you’re hidden too safely within in East Lansing’s fortunate son walls. Take a trip to the projects on the east side of Detroit, any Indian reservation or dilapidated United States-Mexico border town. This is our problem.
On The War
It is our generation that is fighting- and dying- in this war. It’s our brothers, sisters, friends and lovers that have been placed in harms way. And to think that they were sent under the presumption of intelligence- later proved to be incorrect- that said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. How did the President get away with this? In any other time this would have been a scandal dwarfing Watergate. We don’t have to let Bush and Rumsfield get away with it anymore.
Our very own President M. Peter McPherson made money off of this war, and still- we stood complacent. Not anymore Melville. It is time to vote out the man that lied to us and sent our generation (many of which were from displaced, low-income families) to die without necessary cause.
On Gay Marriage
It is deeply distressing to think that our current President wants to create a moral divide between Americans by writing discrimination into the Constitution. Religion or no religion, it’s foolish to believe that homosexuality doesn’t touch all of us. There’s no “them” and “us” anymore, they are us. Our generation needs to progress not digress, and taking away the civil rights of any group moves us backward and erases the work that past progressives fought to win for us. Gay and lesbian marriages will not “unravel the moral fiber of the country,” because as humans we seek to benefit from love of all kinds.
On a Woman’s Right to Choose
As a woman of this generation, it is very important to me that abortion remains safe and legal. Bush could very possibly appoint Supreme Court justices that could turn back Roe v. Wade, and don’t be naïve enough to think he won’t do it. To legislate our bodies is to move backward in time. Abortions should be rare, and will be if schools teach about contraceptives and birth control becomes more available to all women.
On Our Environment
After the Bush Administration drastically cut environment spending and rolled back government regulations, we are in bad ecological shape. Our generation is left with the tab, and it will be our children and grandchildren coughing and wheezing from poor environmental decisions. It is unacceptable for our nation, with its capacities and resources, not to be at the forefront of becoming a sustainable society.
On Foreign Relations
It is our generation that must hang our head around the world when we admit to being American. Much of Europe and the rest of the world resents us for ignoring the United Nations, invading an innocent nation and past international relations that led to a sentiment in the Muslim world causing 9-11. It’s time to get back to a positive relationship with the rest of the world. As globalization presses on and we become a truly global society, the United States needs to consider our decisions within a global scope. Our generation will have to pay for this President’s actions but our world-view is not immovable. We can move ourselves into a better light by refocusing global action to more humanitarian efforts and less on military action. This nation has the power to do a great service to the world and should not only focus attention on countries that can make us money or that have oil.
These are only a handful of the reasons why this election is so crucial to our generation. This is a time of great political gravity and it up to us to seal a better fate for ourselves and our future. It starts with a progressive vote at the polls. We need change and we need it swiftly. We’ve found our struggle, and the fight begins by voting out President Bush.

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