Average Jane



Be the Change You Want to See in the World

When was the last time you were inspired? I have spent the last 5 days being inspired… but more than being inspired, I have been set in motion.

Dallas was an unlikely location for the Young Democrats of America National Convention, but Tuesday night, after a weekend of sorrow, I boarded a flight with 6 veritable strangers and left for a week that would change my life in the heart of Texas.

To be inspired is to be more than educated, more than taught, more than shown. To be inspired is to be illuminated. When you hear someone talk about you on television, perhaps you can be touched, but when you hear someone speaking to you it’s different. This week I was spoken to. I was told that I matter. I was told that I could make a difference in the world. I was told something that I should have always known:

I can BE the change I wanted to see the in the world.

The political campaigns are being kicked off for 2008 and I have not chosen a candidate to support. Why? Because no one is talking to me about the issues. Until this weekend. How would the big issues affect my life as a member of the Millennial Generation? Health Care. College Affordability. The Environment. Labor Unions. Taxation. Immigration. Reproductive Rights. Civil Rights. National Debt. And yes, the War in Iraq. Sure, these are American issues, those that touch the lives of every person living within the borders of our nation, but as a 25-year-old woman, they affect me differently, personally, profoundly.

Young voters will make up 1/3 of the electorate by 2015. We are a voting bloc. We are a force to be reckoned with. And we deserve to be heard. Young voters are not the future of any party. We are the party, and I saw that first hand.

I live in a blue state, and furthermore, I live just outside The Beltway. Politics is life. It’s local news, national news, and international news. We live it and we breathe it. The homeless who can read, read one of the best newspapers in the country, and can probably discuss foreign policy more in depth than most professional adults. Living in such a place, it is easy to take for granted the fact that this is not how the rest of the country, ok, even the rest of the state, is.

On the other hand, I kind of assumed that it wasn’t. That they didn’t care. That they didn’t know enough to care. I. Was. Wrong.

I am sitting in the General Session of the Convention right now, and the new Democratic National Committeeman was just elected. He is from Puerto Rico, and he is involved. I look to my left, and the Utah delegation is seated next to the Wyoming delegation, and they are involved. The Alabama delegation is seated behind Kentucky, and they are involved. There are high school students here who know the issues, who know their rights, and They. Are. Involved.

They care. They all care. I was wrong.

The fact of the matter is I can no longer assume that I am doing as much as I can. There are people doing more in bluer states than Maryland. I am not doing enough. I have seen what I can do because I’ve seen what’s been done.

It’s funny, there were a number of sessions on how to get votes through “new technology,” but that’s not what works. Well, it’s not what works best. In a world where we live on the internet, and communicate primarily by phone and e-mail, what works best is reaching out and talking to people directly. They call it peer to peer. And it works. In states with Peer to Peer programs voter turn out increased by 5-12%. We want to be talked to, just like I was this weekend. When you reach out and connect with someone directly about the issues, not just telling them “hey, go vote…” but saying “I have debt, do you? Do you want to know what’s being done to fix that? Do you want to get involved?” Is it by those means that people get mobilized. And I am proof that it works.

I have notes… pages of notes on how to implement the programs that matter to me. Be prepared to see me on the streets, and be prepared to see the Young Dems out there making our blue state bluer, and getting the young voters mobilized to BE the change they want to see in the world. If you don’t like it, whatever “it” is, CHANGE IT. Talk to someone who can change it. Vote for someone who will change it.

Who I support in 2008 is irrelevant right now, because there is work to be done far in advance of that. There is work to be done now, and my vote should be EARNED. I matter. You matter. And we can make a difference.

And that is what I learned over 5 days right in the heart of Texas.

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Comments

  1. * matt says:

    Fred Thompson’s looking good…. 🙂

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 3 months ago
  2. * Tracy says:

    great post!

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 3 months ago
  3. * Maya says:

    Brava, Lisa! 🙂

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 3 months ago
  4. * Joey O. says:

    *applause*

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 3 months ago


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