Monday, April 11, 2011

Why Young People Don't Matter... & How to Change That

So often, it seems like we young folk get the short end of the stick. Republicans in Congress keep threatening to eliminate Social Security and Medicare before we even come close to retirement. Brian Sandoval wants to eliminate many of our schools... LITERALLY!

Unfortunately, it's incredibly easy for young people to become the whipping boys and girls and get the raw deal. Here's what happens.

We don't vote. We don't call. We don't care. And in turn, our state and federal legislators don't care about us.

Get it?

It's easy to complain about how "rigged" the system is. But if we're not participating, then we're part of the problem.

Thankfully, the good people of Nevada Student Alliance and Nevada Students Unite Here are trying to change this. Yesterday, I canvassed with them in Silverado Ranch and asked locals there for their thoughts on the insani-TEA of destroying Nevada's future by way of education budget cuts.

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While I didn't have as much luck yesterday (almost all my households were not home), others had some good success. They were finding rank-and-file Republicans who didn't want their kids' schools falling apart any more, local teachers enraged over being forced to "sacrifice" any more while corporate fat cats still get their tax breaks, and even a local celebrity who was ready to "knock some sense" into our legislators when he heard about the budget! Oh, and even in my wandering through the stucco and red tile wilderness, I found a concerned parent and a Republican guy who didn't throw me off his lawn.

In the end, everyone achieved collection of another 78 petition signatures being added to the man thousands already on record asking one of our Senators, Michael Roberson (R-Where Is He?), to reconsider his opposition to making the "fully loaded" pay their fair share so all our schools can stay open. Seriously, this is what change looks like... At least in the beginning.

We're so outraged when we're reminded of the raw deal we get when our education is threatened (yet again), but multinational mining conglomerates are regularly let off the hook. Is it unfair? Yes. Is it horrifying? Absolutely. Is it unstoppable? Nope, and it's time we realize that.

There are a whole lot of young folks in this state, but we "don't matter" because not enough of us participate. Yet when we do start to participate, we do matter. Suddenly, our voices are heard... And change happens.

So if you don't like what's happening, get involved. Register to vote. Join a canvass. Get on the phone. Contact your legislators. Seriously, this is how you start to matter up there.

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