Flip flops: Pretty Silly

Flip flops are not just a silly wardrobe decision the students of GeorgetownUniversity are making here in November, as the bitter autumn wind bites theirbare little toes. Two days before the 2008 Presidential election, students areflip flopping over who they are going to vote for, and why.

As you chuckle to yourself (you, the over-30 reader) and think, well kidscan’t make up their minds about anything let alone a tough political decision, then think again. We are supposed to be the trend setters – and the trendfollowers. So if Barack Obama is the shining beacon of popularity among youthvoters, as I have seen both publications and peers dub him, then why shouldthere be any confusion? You’re 18? You’re 25? Vote Obama! “Barack” the vote! Well apparently, it’s not that easy.

I think multiple things could be actually contributing to youth voterconfusion – not just their ability to be confused and indecisive easily.Governor Palin, as much as a bulls-eye for cartoonists as she may be, is afigure, it seems, many young people can identify: mom. She’s always there foryou. She’s done her homework, and helps you with yours. She’s been around theblock and knows the issues (no, not in that way!) And she has your bestinterests at heart. Really.

Though Palin may be only one possible epicenter for ripples of changingopinions flowing over the McCain ballot, she is an important one. Her positivelight is juxtaposed with the sometimes Hollywood lights put on the Obama crowd. If Obama is the most popular kid in school, does that really mean I’m going tosupport him? This is a thought kids often have – yes, popularity rule isannoying. And if Regina George is going to show up anytime soon, then rebellionis our new slogan: we’re not going to vote for who you tell us to vote for, orwho you think we are going to vote for!

Palin may not be a person all youth voters can find familiar, but rebellion certainly is. And with all the Obama t-shirts and pins sported around ourcampus (and many others, to my understanding) other young people can lookaround and have lingering question marks in their minds: should I be voting forthat guy? What about the other guy?

The other guy has a lot of good points to him – but gosh is he old, theyoung voter today may be pondering. They flip flop again. Sure, Obama isflashed around as the candidate to pick, but McCain just seems too old to getour interests – to understand the world that in fact we are inheriting.

Inheritance is, I think, at the top of every young person’s – andresponsible voter’s – list of things to contemplate. What is the world likethat we are going to live in? How was it different for our parents and how isthis different for us now? How would our parents like the world to look, andhow would we like the world to look?

After the economic troubles of 2008, you would think every young personbeing flung into the workforce is more concerned right now about their jobhunger pains than taking the million-dollar save the world question to heart.But in truth, what I have been seeing is that they go hand in hand. Kids arerealizing what they want does matter, because they do have a vote, and whiletheir parents’ world is the world that is – their world is the world that isgoing to be.

We are going to be pretty cold if we keep flip-flopping, or wearingflip-flops. The time is now to put on the boots and make a decision.

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